Is your internet slower than usual? There’s a chance your bandwidth is being throttled. Learn how bandwidth throttling works and how to avoid it.
Is your favorite streaming service unbearably slow?
Or maybe your internet slows down to a crawl at specific hours of the day?
Chances are, your ISP is throttling your bandwidth. In practical terms, this means that they’re deliberately slowing down your internet connection.
Want to avoid bandwidth throttling and improve your internet speed? In this article, we’re going to teach you how to do that.
Read on to discover:
- What is bandwidth throttling?
- How to see if your bandwidth is being throttled.
- How to stop bandwidth throttling.
So, let’s get started!
What Is Bandwidth Throttling?
Bandwidth throttling is the process of intentionally slowing down your internet service by your internet service provider (ISP).
And yes, this is more common than you think. And it’s also completely legal.
The most common reasons for bandwidth throttling are:
- You’ve reached your data cap. Many internet service plans have some sort of a cap. Meaning, after you use up a certain amount of data, your internet is going to slow down significantly (until the beginning of the following month or billing cycle).
- You’re using the internet at an “internet rush hour.” Bandwidth is a finite resource. If a lot of people are using internet service at the same time, your ISP might be forced to put a data cap on some or all of their customers’ internet.
- Your ISP has a data cap or bandwidth limitations for your specific activity. Since net neutrality was repealed, internet service providers have the power to slow down your internet when using specific online services. So, if a given content platform doesn’t pay your ISP a premium, your ISP might throttle your bandwidth when using the service.
How to See if Your Bandwidth Is Being Throttled
To see if your bandwidth is being throttled, do this:
- Test your internet speed.
- Connect to a VPN.
- Test your internet speed again.
If your internet is faster with a VPN, this means your bandwidth is being throttled.
You can also perform this exact test with a specific website you think is being throttled.
If the specific website performs faster with a VPN, then yes, your ISP is deliberately throttling that website.
How to Stop Bandwidth Throttling
There are several practical ways to stop bandwidth throttling:
- Monitor your monthly data usage. If you have a monthly data cap, you can track your data use and see if you can use less of it. Usually, the #1 reason for draining your data too fast is if you’re streaming a lot of videos or downloading large games.
- Upgrade your data plan. Alternatively, you can upgrade your data plan to something that suits your needs more (or just get an unlimited data plan).
- Switch to a different internet service provider (ISP). If your ISP has a very expensive unlimited plan, you can always switch providers.
The simplest way to avoid data throttling, though, is to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
A VPN is a service that helps you stay secure and anonymous on the internet. When you connect to the internet, it acts as a middleman between your device and the website you’re visiting.
The VPN encrypts your data, meaning that anyone who might be spying on your activity won’t be able to read it (your internet service provider included).
And if your ISP is unable to see what you’re doing on the internet, they won’t be able to throttle your bandwidth.
By using a VPN, you’re also gaining many other benefits aside from avoiding bandwidth throttling. Some of these include:
- Enhanced anonymity on the internet. Today, it really feels like there’s no privacy on the internet. Most websites you visit track your online behavior and use it to target you with ads. A VPN hides your IP address, making it harder for websites to capture your personal data.
- Protection from cyberattacks. A VPN can protect you from certain cyberattacks, including the man-in-the-middle attack, public Wi-Fi hacks, and others.
- Doxing protection. An IP address can reveal a lot about you, including the city you live in, the ISP you’re using, and more. And if a cybercriminal accesses your IP address, they might use it to find your personal information. By using a VPN, you’re making this very hard for any potential hacker, as a VPN can hide your IP address.
Want to try a VPN? Get started with Vpnzr today.
What if My Internet Is Still Slow?
If you did the tests we recommended, and your internet is still slow, here’s what you can do.
First thing’s first, make sure you get what you’re paying for:
- Test your internet speed and compare it to the plan you’re paying for. Make sure to stop any downloads or streaming services so the number you get is accurate.
- If the internet speed is the same as the plan you’re paying for, this means that you just need to upgrade your internet package.
Otherwise, here are some usual culprits for slow internet connectivity:
- Reboot your modem or router.
- Turn off internet-hogging applications. Any app that’s streaming or downloading something might be taking up too much of your bandwidth.
- Check which devices have the internet speed problem. If only one computer has the issue and others don’t, this might mean the issue is within the device. In that case, download an antivirus and check your computer for viruses.
- If your modem or router is very old, you might want to replace it.
- Call your ISP and report the problem.
For more on fixing your internet speed, try the steps in this article from PCMag.
Bandwidth Throttling FAQ:
#1. Does a VPN stop bandwidth throttling?
In most cases, a VPN can stop bandwidth throttling.
The only case where it can’t, is if your internet service contract has a strict data limit. If you hit the limit, VPN won’t be able to help.
#2. Is bandwidth throttling illegal?
Bandwidth throttling is mostly legal. ISPs have the right to limit your internet speed during hours of peak internet use if you’ve hit your monthly data limit, or you’re accessing specific websites with content.
The only case where bandwidth throttling is illegal is when an ISP limits their customer’s internet speed in a “deceptive or unfair” fashion.
#3. How do I stop bandwidth throttling without a VPN?
You can either switch your internet service provider or upgrade your internet plan.
If you think your internet is being throttled when it shouldn’t be, you can contact your ISP and explain the issue.
Now that we’ve covered everything you need to know about bandwidth throttling, let’s do a quick recap:
- Bandwidth throttling is when your ISP deliberately slows down your internet connection.
- If your bandwidth is being throttled because you hit your monthly data cap, consider upgrading your internet plan.
- If, however, your ISP is throttling specific websites or applications, use a VPN.