In this day and age, no one wants to wait for their Netflix to buffer or for files to download. But no matter how much we pay our ISP, we all have to deal with slow internet speeds at some point. You might be wondering why your internet is so slow. This article will help you find the answer to that question and fix it.
Slow internet speeds can be caused by a lot of different things, like a problem with your Wi-Fi signal, a problem with the device you’re trying to connect to, or a service outage in your area. I’ll talk about all the common reasons for a bad internet connection and how to fix each one. By the time you finish reading this article, your internet should work perfectly.
Let’s fix the internet’s disappointing speed.
Check Your Internet Plan
Before you get all nerdy and start tinkering with your internet connection, it’s a good idea to look at your plan and see what to expect.
So, first, check the details of your internet service by logging into your account with your ISP or calling the company. Once you know how fast you’re paying, you can check to see if you’re getting that speed.
Now, turn off or close any device or app that needs to connect to the internet. After that, go to a site like speedtest.net that can test your internet speed and run a test. Wait until it’s done, then compare the download speed you got to what you paid for. If the values are the same, you should be fine.
I have fast Internet, so why is my download speed so slow?
Note that the test may show speeds that are even faster than what you should get. This can happen if your ISP gives more weight to servers that are close to you. If your test results are a bit lower than what you are paying for, it could be because you took the test during a busy time.
Downloading a random file from the internet is another way to test your internet plan. But if you go that route (have you ever wondered why your download speed is so slow even though you have fast internet? ), be aware of the following:
- Your Internet service provider and speed test results are given in Mbps (megabits per second).
- MBps is what you see when you download a file (megabytes per second).
- 1 MB (megabyte) = 8 Mb (megabits) (megabits).
So, if you download a file, you need to multiply the number you see by 8 to get the correct units. If the result is the same as the package your ISP gives you, everything is fine.
If your download speed is much slower than what your ISP says it’s giving you, it’s time to try the steps below to fix the problem.
Why Is My Internet Speed So Slow and How Do I Fix It?
Slow internet speed can be caused by a number of things. We’ll talk about each of the most common problems users have and the best way to fix them. Read the whole thing.
1. Issues With The Modem & Router
Everything about how you connect to the internet depends on your modem and router. These two devices are in charge of everything, from sending out Wi-Fi signals to controlling how devices connected to the internet use the internet.
Your modem and router are easy to have technical problems with because they do most of the work. And that can make your internet move at a snail’s pace. Here are some things you can do to make your modem and router work again.
Like us, network equipment sometimes needs to be updated. Unplug your modem and router and wait 30 seconds to refresh your equipment. Then, plug them back in. In a few minutes, they’ll be back online.
By rebooting, or cycling the power, the system memory is cleared, any communication problems are fixed, and a new connection is made. This can give your internet connection a quick boost and fix any problems you may be having with it.
Firmware for routers and modems is put out there for a reason. If you haven’t updated your devices’ software, you can expect all kinds of internet problems. Not updating your devices can cause a lot of trouble, from slow internet connections to slow download speeds.
You can update the firmware on your modem and router by looking for their manuals online and reading the official information about how to do it. If you don’t know how to do it, don’t try to do it yourself. If you do it wrong, you could damage your devices.
Putting your modem and router back in factory settings can be very helpful. But if you do that, all the settings on your devices, like your network name and password, will be lost. Before you can use the new details to connect to your network again on each device, you’ll need to reconfigure your network.
Buy a New Modem & Router
Last but not least, if your connection didn’t get better and your modem and router are old, it may be time to buy new ones. Cheap routers and modems don’t last long, so don’t buy them.
But before you buy new network devices, you should try one of the many solutions in the rest of this article. You might be having a problem with something else.
2. Unoptimized Wi-Fi Setup
Most people in the digital age use Wi-Fi, which is short for wireless fidelity. But few people realize how much a poorly set up Wi-Fi network slows down the internet and makes it hard to download things.
So, let me explain the most common mistakes people make when setting up their Wi-Fi connection.
Wrong Router Location
Your whole problem could be because of where your Wi-Fi router is. Put your router in the middle of your living space, away from things like walls, ceilings, doors, and furniture that are big and dense. Materials like glass and metal can block Wi-Fi signals, so moving your router Keeping them away from them, and making sure they aren’t between your router and the slow internet device could help.
That’s not the only thing to think about. Your router can also be messed up by signals from microwaves, cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers, and other devices that send out signals. Put your router where it won’t be affected by these signals.
If your Wi-Fi signal strength is still weak, you can try using a Wi-Fi extender. But before you make that investment, read the rest of the article.
Routers use channels to send out signals. If a certain channel is busy, Wi-Fi networks that use that channel may not work as well as they should. For example, there are many routers in an apartment building, which can cause many Wi-Fi devices to use the same channel. This slows down the speed of the internet connection.
If you switch to a less busy channel, you and your devices can be happy again. There are apps for PC, Mac, Android, and iOS devices that can figure out which Wi-Fi channel is best for where you are.
A Wi-Fi router usually works on two different frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The range and signal strength of the 2.4 bands is better, but it is slower. The 5 GHz band, on the other hand, is faster but has a shorter range and a weaker signal.
Most new devices support both bands, but the 5 GHz band was added to home devices more recently. Basically, you should connect things like smartphones and laptops that use a lot of bandwidth to the faster 5 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz band can still be used for other things. Keep in mind that some routers can still use both bands at the same time, but most modern routers can.
Have you tried all of these things to fix your Wi-Fi router but nothing has worked? If you couldn’t figure out how to make your Internet connection faster, network congestion might be to blame. Next, we’ll talk about that.
3. Network Congestion
A crowded network could be one reason why your internet speed is slow. When everyone is using the internet at the same time, networks can get busy. This can cause your internet service provider to slow down your internet speed.
When everyone is using the internet at the same time, your connection can slow down, just like how cars get stuck in traffic jams at rush hour. You can’t do anything about it besides using the internet at different times of the day, though.
You can look for other Internet service providers in your area that don’t have as many customers. But in the end, you can’t control when and how other people use the internet around you, so you can’t stop connection congestion.
Note: The level of congestion in an area doesn’t usually affect Internet service providers who offer fiber internet. Fiber-based infrastructure can send information at lightning speed without interruption, no matter how much traffic there is. Enter your ZIP code to find internet service providers in your area that offer fiber packages.
4. Data Cap/Limitation
For those who don’t know, most ISPs limit the total amount of data you can send or receive. Once you use up all the bandwidth that came with your internet package, your Wi-Fi connection may start acting up.
To make sure you don’t go over your bandwidth limit, you should first call your internet service provider and ask what your data cap is. Then, plan how much data you will use on your computer, smartphone, and other devices based on the amount of bandwidth you have been given.
Turn off updates and downloads that happen automatically on your devices. Don’t spend too much time on your computer or other smart devices during busy times. If your device lets you set a data limit, use it to limit how much bandwidth you use.
If your Wi-Fi router can limit how much data you can use, make sure to set a limit based on how much bandwidth you have. Also, ask your family to try to use as little bandwidth as possible on your Wi-Fi network. Lastly, stay away from 4K videos and large file downloads that use a lot of data.
5. High Latency
Latency is the amount of time it takes for data to travel from your device to its destination and back again. When you have high latency, there are delays between what you put in and what you get out. So, a slow connection speed can be caused by high latency.
There are many things that can cause high latency. If you move away from your Wi-Fi router, it may take longer for your device to open websites and download files. But network congestion and how far you are from servers on the internet can also be a problem.
An Internet speed test can tell you how slow your connection is. Go to a speed test website, connect to the closest server, and wait for the results. Latency is measured in milliseconds; the lower the number, the better. Keep in mind that if everything else is the same, servers that are farther away from you will always have higher latency than servers that are closer to you.
When possible, use an ethernet cable or buy a fiber-based internet package to fix high latency. You can also try out the new 5G technology, which can deal with faster signals and has low latency.
6. Speed Throttling
This is something that most streamers do. If you stream or download a lot, it’s likely that your ISP is slowing you down on purpose.
Speed throttling could be another reason why your connection is slow. Many internet service providers slow down your internet speed based on what you do online. For example, if your ISP has partially blocked torrents, your download speeds will be very slow when you torrent.
Most internet service providers don’t want you to use certain sites or services. Sometimes they just don’t let you in at all, and sometimes they slow you down so you can’t use it well.
Run an internet speed test with and without a VPN (virtual private network) to see if your internet provider is slowing you down. Then, do the same thing when you’re having trouble downloading a file or getting into a website: try it with and without a VPN. If you notice a difference when you use a VPN, it’s likely that your internet service provider is slowing down your connection.
I strongly suggest that you get a VPN like ExpressVPN to fix the problem. Once you’re connected to a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to keep track of what you do online. This means that your speed won’t be slowed down.
You could also talk to your internet service provider’s customer service. Tell them what’s going on with your connection. Share your speed tests, your zip code, and anything else you think will help your case. Lastly, keep telling your network service provider about the problem so they put it ahead of other complaints.
7. Saturated Connection
All of the devices that are connected to your router share your internet speed. So having more devices means sharing more. If one device uses a lot of bandwidth, it will slow down other devices on the network. For example, if a game console on your network is downloading a big game update, all other devices connected to the router will have a slower internet connection.
There are a few ways to fix a connection that is full. First, you can set up a guest network for any devices on your network that don’t belong to you or your family. Then, you can set the guest network up so that it only uses a certain amount of bandwidth. Next, disconnect from the network any home devices you’re not using.
Then, look to see if any of your devices are using a lot of bandwidth. If you find any devices that use a lot of data, turn them off or change how they work so that everyone in your home can use the internet without interruptions.
Here’s a second choice: A QoS (quality of service) feature is built into most Wi-Fi routers. Check to see if your router has QoS and if it does, turn it on. It will take care of the devices that are connected to your network and share bandwidth between them based on how important they are.
Lastly, replacing your current modem and router with more modern versions could also fix problems with a busy connection.
8. Slow DNS Server
A DNS, or domain name system, is a system for naming computers, services, and other resources that are connected to the internet that are not run by a single group.
How does a DNS work? When you try to connect to a website, your computer first talks to its DNS server and asks for the website’s IP address. When your computer gets a response from the DNS server in the form of an IP address, it uses that IP address to get to the website.
A slow DNS server can sometimes slow down your connection. Most of the time, your ISP gives you more than one using the same DNS server. If it gets too busy, everyone who is connected to it might have slow internet.
You can switch to a public set of DNS servers, which is a good thing. You can connect your computer or another smart device to Open DNS and Google Public DNS, which are the two most popular sets of DNS servers.
But keep in mind that some ISPs don’t let their customers use DNS servers other than the ones they are given. So, if you manually set up a different DNS server and still can’t use the internet, you probably have to use the DNS server that your ISP gave you.
9. Faulty/Slow/Outdated Devices
Do you still have to deal with slow internet on your devices? Especially if it’s just one device, the problem might be with that device and not your network. Your computer, gaming console, smartphone, tablet, or another device might be old and not able to handle the speeds of the internet today.
On the other hand, if you’re having trouble connecting to a new computer or smart device, you can try these steps to fix the problem:
- Turn off your device, unplug it for 30 seconds, and then plug it back in. This is called a power cycle. This will clear the cache, update your connections, and reduce the amount of work your computer has to do.
- Make sure that your device isn’t trying to run too many apps at once. Also, check how processes are used in the background. If you see anything strange going on with your network, kill the process.
- Your device can also run slower if it has out-of-date software or drivers. Make sure you have the latest versions of all the software and drivers, and then restart the device.
- Don’t forget to update your apps, as ones that are too old can slow down your network.
- Clear your browser’s cache and put it back to its original settings. Many users have said that the problem was caused by their web browser the whole time.
- Last but not least, turn off any network-hungry apps that you no longer use because they can use up your internet connection in the background.
10. Defective Wires
No matter if you use DSL, cable, or fiber, there is always a chance that the wires are broken. A broken wire can hurt not only the strength of your Wi-Fi signal but also how you use the internet as a whole.
Check the wires that connect your modem to your Wi-Fi access point. Any kind of breakage means that you are dealing with the effects of bad wires. Call your Internet service provider and ask them to send a team to check your physical connections.
If you are using splitters, unplug them and connect your internet line directly to your modem and then to your router. Many people have said that their slow internet problem was fixed by connecting their bandwidth wire directly to the network equipment.
You can also try to replace any wires that connect your modem to other devices, like your PC or router. Also, make sure that all the cables are tight in their places. Slow connections can happen when lines are loose.
Viruses are another thing that could slow down your internet at home or at work. If your device is infected with malware, it may not only slow down your device but also make your internet service terrible.
Viruses run in the background of your computer or smart device and may use up your internet bandwidth. This can slow down your network, making it hard to browse, download, and do other things.
Put well-known antivirus software on your devices to fix the problem. Start a quick scan, and then wait a few minutes. The program will automatically find viruses and other harmful files, and if you give it permission, it will delete them from your device.
After you have used antivirus software to clean your device, try going to a few websites and downloading some files. If your internet isn’t giving you any trouble anymore, you figured out what was wrong.
12. Slow Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Does installing a VPN on your computer or phone slow down the speed at which you can download things? The VPN service itself could be at fault.
A VPN gives your device and the internet an extra layer of security. Even though a VPN service makes you much safer and more private, it can slow down your internet connection.
High-quality VPN services like ExpressVPN usually don’t slow down your internet or download speed too much. But free VPNs that aren’t very good are known to slow down connections.
So, if you just started using a VPN to protect your privacy or because you work from home, try using the internet without it. If you’re happy with your VPN’s speed, you might need to use one with a better reputation, like ExpressVPN, or one that has servers in your area.
13. You Need A Better Plan
Lastly, if you still think your internet and download speeds aren’t fast enough, it’s time to upgrade your internet service package.
In the world we live in now, everything depends on how fast the internet is. The rules of the digital world are getting stricter very quickly. As of May 2021, the average speed of mobile internet downloads all over the world was 54.53 Mbps. DSL is no longer good enough. A 5 Mbps package isn’t enough for a house with more than one person.
So it might be time to switch to a package with faster service. If you don’t have a fiber connection but you can, I really think you should try it out.
How can I make my internet connection go faster?
Check out this website’s table. (If you don’t go to the table when you click the link, scroll down to the “How much bandwidth do you need?” section.)
The table shows general activities and the minimum download speeds that are recommended for each one. Even if your connection is perfect, you might not be able to do the things you want to do online if your ISP’s promised speed isn’t at least as fast as what’s needed. Then you should think about getting a better service plan.
But if the speed your ISP promises meet the recommended minimums and you still have trouble with the internet when doing these things, your connection may be weak. Use a speed test site like speedtest.net to compare the speed you are actually getting to the speed you should be getting. Then, look again at the solutions in this guide to see if you can find a way to settle the difference.
Why is my internet suddenly so slow in the year 2022?
There are many things that could be causing the problem you’re having, such as overcrowded networks in your area, a slow connection at home, or Wi-Fi equipment that is broken or not set up properly.
In short, people have different reasons for why their internet is slow. This guide has solutions for every common problem, so if you haven’t tried them all yet, go back and do so!
How do I fix my home Wi-Fi when it’s slow?
If your Wi-Fi at home is slow, scroll up to the sections called “Issues with Modem and Router” and “Not Optimized Wi-Fi Setup.” In those sections, you’ll find all the things that could be wrong with your Wi-Fi. Check to see if you can fix your problem with the ideas I gave you.
How do I fix the slow speed of my downloads?
There are a lot of different things that can cause slow download speeds. Some of them might have to do with your Wi-Fi, while others might be out of your control and affect large areas and lots of people at once.
This guide tells you everything you can do to speed up your slow download speed. Try each of the ideas I gave you one at a time. If one works, you’ll know what the problem was and how to keep it from happening again.
Why can’t I download as fast as I could?
When you download a file, the speed is shown in MBps. ISPs and speed tests measure speeds in Mbps. Since 1 MB is equal to 8 Mb, the numbers you see when you download files will always be much lower than the numbers test websites and ISPs give you. But because of the different units, the values should be the same:
Download speed in MBps divided by 8 = speed test in Mbps
If they aren’t the same, one of the things I talked about in this guide could be making your connection weak. Check to see if the solutions I gave you will help speed up your downloads.
This guide gave every common reason why your internet is so slow, as well as ways to speed up your connection and downloads. I told you everything you need to know to get the bandwidth you need from your ISP, from how to compare the results of internet speed tests to how to set up your Wi-Fi router so it works best. If none of these solutions work, you could try upgrading your internet plan as a last resort.
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