A speedy and reliable internet is an absolute necessity nowadays. Whether you use WiFi or cellular data, sufficient speed allows you to do almost anything you want to. However, intermittent connections can disrupt our day-to-day grind — especially for those who rely on the internet to finish their work. When this happens, it begs the question of whether there are ways to increase your internet speed.
We understand precisely the value of efficient and productive web browsing. In this article, we will go give you the very information you need to speed up your internet connection. Below are ways showing you how to increase internet speed using twenty of the most trusted tips and tricks.
How Is Internet Speed Measured?
Internet speed generally refers to the amount of data your internet connection can transfer per unit of time. The unit of data used to refer to internet speed is megabytes per second. Download speeds refer to the megabits of data per second required to download data from any server. Upload speed, on the other hand, refers to the megabits of data required for you to send information.
In response to the needs of the general public, internet service providers prioritize the upload speed in terms of bandwidth allocation. Download speeds should be at least 25 Mbps. This is based on the recommendation of the American Federal Communication Commission. Internet speed requirements also differ depending on the type of activity. Work activities require average to above-average internet speeds and a stable internet connection.
What Are the Types of Internet Connection and Speed?
There are different types of internet connections with different bandwidth capacities. As a general rule, higher bandwidths translate to more data packets going through in a shorter amount of time. The most notable examples of internet connection types are Cable, Satellite, and Fiber. Other examples are the Dial-Up, Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), and Dial-Up routers. The majority of these internet connections use modems or routers to transport data.
The simultaneous usage of the internet by millions of users at once can slow internet speeds, especially for cable users. Online research indicates that the busiest time for internet connectivity is between 7 to 11 PM daily. This is the peak hour when the largest number of internet users try to go online.
Research by the Worldwide Broadband Speed League found that the global average internet speed increased from 9.1 Mbps in 2018 to 11.03 Mbps in 2019. This is a sign that the global demand for internet connectivity is increasing, along with the demand for internet speed.
Developed countries have higher broadband connection speeds overall. Taiwan topped the list with an average broadband speed of 60.39 Mbps. It’s followed by other developed countries including Singapore, Sweden, and Denmark. The US ranked 15th on the global list with an overall average broadband speed of 32.89 Mbps. (Source: atlasandboots.com)
Why Is It Important to Increase Internet Speed?
The real-world implications of the findings of the Speed League are unclear. But there does seem to be a connection between fast internet and productivity. In this glorious age of internet connectivity, it is almost a requirement for getting anything done. It serves as a major portal for communication, monetary transactions, and data storage. It seems that we need the internet for almost everything, and our increasing reliance on it also increased the demand for a speedy and stable internet connection.
Increase Internet Speed: Identify the Root Cause
Most internet providers already offer great download and upload speeds. However, there are external issues that can potentially affect your internet speed at certain times. This can be environmental, hardware-related, or software-related. If you happen to be one of the unlucky ones to get really slow internet, we have compiled a list of interesting information and tips.
1. Interference from External Devices and Other Internet Connection
Having multiple wireless connections in one place can cause your Wifi connection to become unreliable due to interference. To determine if the presence of other Wifi networks could be causing the interference, check out the Wifi Analyzer on Google Play.
Nowadays, multiple devices are connected to a single network at any given time. Too many devices connected to the same network will make them compete for bandwidth. This can overcrowd the network and leave a small proportion of bandwidth for each device.
The connectivity of other devices to your internet does not compromise its speed per se. It’s only when all these devices are utilizing the bandwidth for something that the conflict for resources occurs. Other devices in your home such as home appliances, smart TVs, gaming devices, etc. are affected. Even the Internet-of-Things devices such as Google home minis, smart bulbs, IP cameras, etc. could cause interference.
2. Computer Memory and Cache Are Already Full
Every web page loaded into your web browser requires a small amount of system memory. If your computer memory is already full, the system will find other places to store the contents of your computer. When this happens, your web browser will slow down or even crash. Having too many files on the computer cache can lead to a slow down in your internet connection.
The memory capacity of your computer is also a consideration. If your computer was purchased recently, there are fewer chances that it will have a full hard drive, unlike an older computer. It will also be less likely to be able to keep up with your high-speed internet connection.
Below is a video to help you clean up disk space from your PC to help speed up your internet connection.
3. Internet Connection Settings Are Not Updated
Your default internet connection settings may not be the best fit for your specific internet type or bandwidth. When your internet connection is not optimized with your PC, you may experience some compatibility issues. This could slow down your internet speed as the settings limit the capabilities of your internet router.
The standard Quality of Service (QoS) settings have been set to attend to bandwidth requests from websites and applications. Your computer system cannot recognize priority tasks by default and gives equal attention to all tasks. It’s a good thing that most QoS has customizable settings that allow you to assign bandwidth priorities.
4. Your Computer Is Infected With Malware
Virus attacks can corrupt your computer and computer files. When a virus infects your system, it can damage important files and corrupt your existing programs. It can even find its way into your online activities. If your computer has been infected with malware, your computer systems will malfunction and even your browser can slow down.
Malware keeps track of your activities online and floods your web browser with unnecessary traffic. It can also jeopardize online financial transactions and copy your personal information. With these activities considered, malware can take over your browser and eat up your bandwidth. The result is then low internet connection speeds.
Most premium antivirus software is also equipped with special features to protect you online. The most reliable antivirus software offers special features. These include a free VPN network, ID theft protection services, PayGuard, and online notifications. These protect your information online and prevent you from clicking fake websites. System optimization tools also let you delete unnecessary files and programs. Mismanaged files and programs can slow down your computer as well.
5. High-Bandwidth Applications Saturate Your Bandwidth
Internet bandwidth refers to the volume of data that flows through for your use at any point. The information is sent through data packets. If we will use the traffic analogy, the bits of information sent to you are the cars and the bandwidth would be the width of the road. The size of the road determines how many cars can get through at any point.
Some internet activities are high on bandwidth consumption. These include activities such as video streaming, gaming, and downloading. Bandwidth saturation is even more likely when other devices are connected to the same network. It also happens when many devices access high-bandwidth content at the same time. File streaming services, file syncing services, and digital download services all contribute to the consumption. With other applications running in the background, your bandwidth’s attention is divided. You might experience slower loading pages and files as a result.
6. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) Is Throttling Your Connection
Most ISPs use a technique called throttling to limit the amount of bandwidth that gets through to your router. They set limitations for your bandwidth to conserve data for other users. Low bandwidth activities are prioritized over high-bandwidth ones. High-bandwidth activities are limited or slowed to protect your system and to conserve data for other users. This explains why it’s much easier to load web pages without media content than those that do. This is even more common for mobile surfing as these have limited mobile bandwidth. There’s more about the signs and testing method for throttling below.
7. Poorly Built Coaxial Cables
Using traditional cable internet requires the use of coaxial cables. These cables are usually shared with other computers within the same room. The quality and durability of these cables determine the speed of your internet connection. They carry signals to your computer from your internet service provider. Check your cables for any signs of physical wear and tear. Cables of poor quality could immediately jeopardize their ability to send data.
8. Modem And/Or Router Are Incompatible With Internet Provider
Most internet service providers, wired or not, use modems. A modem is a hardware device that receives and transmits data to and from your computer. It turns analog data into digital information that your computer can process. The most common types are dial-up modems, cable modems, and DSL modems. Most wireless connections still rely on modems to send data.
Modems that are not compatible with either your computer software or internet service provider will most definitely malfunction. Newer modems have a standard configuration of DOCSIS 3.0. This configuration works well with high-speed internet. Older modems that are incompatible with high-speed internet are also subjected to throttling. ISPs do this because older modems cause potential interference.
9. Slow DNS Server
The NDS server is like the middleman between your computer and any website that you visit. Every time you key in a website or domain name, your PC contacts the DNS server. The DNS server receives and translates the IP address of the website so your computer can access it. An efficient DNS hosting provider should make for fast communication between servers. It will also keep your location and private information safe online. The DNS servers that come with most ISPs are not exactly the best that the market can offer. This can lead to snail-paced internet browsing.
10. Your Antivirus Sweep is Slowing Down Your Computer
Antivirus software is great for detecting and eliminating viruses and malware from your computer. However, real-time virus scanning processes also take up some of your internet bandwidth. This has a direct effect on the system performance of your computer and other applications that could be running in the background.
If you want to explore the topic of what could be causing your slow internet connection further, check out this article on questions, answers, and solutions to why your internet is slow.
How to Increase Internet Speed Using Hardware Devices and Software Adjustments
1. Manage High-Bandwidth Internet Activities
Too many applications running at the same time could jeopardize your internet speed. When not in use, turn off background apps that are too draining to your bandwidth and reserve them for more important tasks. Here’s how to pause or delete unnecessary programs:
- Open Task Manager.
- Under the Processes tab, click on Network. This will display a list of applications based on their bandwidth consumption.
- Close or pause any programs that take up too much bandwidth.
- Note: Closing programs that have an unknown file name or username can cause your computer to malfunction, so avoid those. To check if the program is running on your profile, go to the Process tab and look for the User tab. Only close programs marked under your username.
2. Run Internet and WiFi Speed Tests
Checking for internet speed is also only the first step to determining the root cause of your slow internet connection. Speed tests give you an idea about the average amount of data that passes through for your internet use. This allows you to gauge whether your internet is too slow or fast enough. It also tells you if your internet service provider has been keeping its promises. Check your internet speed with the following steps:
- Clear your device of other applications running in the background. This is to make sure that other applications do not affect the result of the scan. Shut down other internet-enabled devices including tablets, smartphones, computers, and game boxes. If you are on a shared network, it is also advisable to look for a network where you can access the internet by yourself.
- Enable your internet connection and key on a website that can assess your internet speed.
- Run the test on your computer. The optimal download and upload speed are at 40 Mbps. You can check the article cited above for optimal download and upload speeds.
- If you want to find out more about the optimal values for uploads and downloads, check out this in-depth guide on good internet download and upload speed.
3. Use Ethernet Cables for Wired Connection
Interference can make it difficult to rely completely on wireless internet. It might help in a situation like this to direct your connection by attaching ethernet cables from your computer to your modem. This will not have any effect on your internet speed as it is but it is very effective in stabilizing your connection.
Ethernet cables can carry more internet bandwidth than wireless connections and block interference from other devices. And it can increase the speed of transfer between one computer to another. If you are running applications that require a stable internet connection (i.e. file transfers or Skype calls), an ethernet cable can make sure that you don’t get disconnected.
4. Keep Wireless Devices Near the Gateway
Proximity and space are the key considerations for looking for the best spot for your internet router. The optimal place for your router is as close as possible to where you use your computer and internet connection. Your router should be located near all devices or the majority of the devices. With this in mind, the best place for the router is in the middle of the room. This works whether you have only one device or multiple devices. It’s also not advisable to place your router in the corner of any room or next to large objects. Router signals permeate at all angles and sides of the room. Keeping your router in an open space in the middle of a room keeps it from potential obstructions. You might want to consider a new spot for your router to increase internet speed.
5. Change Bandwidth Settings
About one-fifth of your total bandwidth allocation is reserved for system maintenance purposes. This leaves you with only four-fifths of your total bandwidth allocation for internet purposes. Your computer is not able to distinguish important tasks, therefore some important tasks might receive less bandwidth than they should.
To increase internet speed, you need to modify your Quality of Service (QoS) settings. The QoS feature gives you the ability to select applications and features to receive the most bandwidth by creating priority rules. This allows you to make changes to the upload and download values for important tasks. This also allows you to allot percentages for bandwidth allocation for a certain application (i.e. Youtube). Here’s how to change your QoS Settings:
- Log in to the administrator page of your internet service provider.
- To do this, open your web browser and type the IP address of your router into the address bar.
- Log in with your username and password.
- Note: If you haven’t accessed this before, there should be a default administrator username and password that came with your modem box.
- Go to the NAT/QoS tab, then the QoS tab. First, select Enable next to Start QoS. Leave the port set to WAN.
- Do not modify the Packet Scheduler and Queuing Discipline which are set to the default state.
- Fill in the download and uplink values and click OK. Make sure that the values are equal to or less than the greatest capacity of the connection. Inputting a high-speed capacity would only slow it down.
- If you want supplementary information about QoS settings, check out this alternative guide on changing your QoS settings.
6. Restart Your Router and Modem
A router is a form of hardware that sends data packets from your internet service provider to your computer. Rebooting your router will not speed up your internet connection as it is. Yet, this will allow your router and computer to communicate again. If you experience a lag in the internet speed of more than one device, the router might be to blame. Increase your internet speed by restarting your router and modem. Here’s how:
- Turn off your modem and router by pressing the power button usually found at the back of the device.
- Manually unplug them and wait for ten seconds, then plug them back in.
- Click the power button to turn it on.
7. Replace Existing Domain Name Server (DNS)
A DNS server is the hardware that contacts domain sites on your behalf to verify the IP settings of the domain, which allows you to access web pages. When web pages take too long to load, this could cause a slow DNS server. This might look like an issue with your internet speed when in fact the problem is your DNS server. You can also test your DNS server response time to see if your DNS server is to blame for your turtle-paced browsing speed.
To increase internet speed, you might want to consider changing your DNS server. There are alternative DNS servers available on the internet for free. There are free lists of free DNS hosting providers that will remove any lagging issues related to your software. Here are the basic steps:
- Go to your internet service provider’s IP address.
- Under the main systems tab, right-click the Network Status icon.
- Click the Open the Network and Sharing Center feature.
- Under the Network and Sharing Center window, click on the Change adapter settings link in the upper left corner.
- In the Network Connections window, right-click on the connection for which you want to change the DNS settings.
- Under the context menu, right-click on the Properties toolbar.
- Under the Properties window, click on internet protocol version 4 on the list and click the Properties button.
- If you want more information about DNS servers and settings, check out this alternative guide on how to change your DNS server.
8. Delete Your DNS History
As part of your computer’s main software system, your DNS server keeps records of your footprints online to ease faster web page downloading. The information will be stored in a cache to allow the web page to load faster during subsequent access. To increase your internet speed, you need to clear your DNS cache once in a while. Here’s how:
- Click on the Windows home button.
- On the search bar, type in cmd. Press enter to start the command line.
- Key in the following command following the exact form and spacing: ipconfig /flushdns.
- Click Enter once prompted.
- You should receive a notification that Windows has flushed the DNS cache.
9. Disable Windows Updates
As mentioned above, your computer allots one-fifth of all internal bandwidth resources to system updates. You could schedule your Windows updates to run while you are not using the computer. To increase internet speed, you could temporarily disable updates to speed up your internet and maximize bandwidth. Here are the steps:
- Key in Services in the main search bar of your desktop.
- Click on the Services icon and scroll down and select Windows Update.
- Under General Settings, go to the Service Status toolbar and click on Stop.
- Change the start-up type from Automatic to Disabled. Click OK to save your changes.
- Note: You will need to turn this back on once in a while to keep your computer system updated.
10. Use a VPN and VPN-ready Router
Your internet service provider throttles your internet service to prevent it from going haywire. In such cases, the most efficient solution is to have a virtual private network (VPN) like ExpresVPN. A VPN acts as a secure passageway to the internet. It masks your information and prevents other networks and even your ISP from knowing what you are up to online, preventing your ISP from throttling your connection. To increase internet browsing speed, you might want to consider installing and using a VPN network.
To set up a VPN network, here’s how:
- Go to Settings. Select Network and Internet.
- Click on the VPN tab. Select Add VPN Connection.
- Create a VPN Profile. This should look like a sign-up sheet to customize your VPN preferences.
- Assign a name for your VPN connection.
- Input all details requested, including your operating system (i.e. Windows) which will serve as your default VPN provider.
- Include the server name and address, the VPN type, and the type of information for signing in.
- You could add a username and password for added security.
- Save all changes.
To access your VPN:
- Go back to the VPN tab under the Network and Connection Settings.
- Click on your VPN name.
- Select Connect and Enter your password.
- To edit your connection properties, you can go back to the VPN Page.
- On the VPN tab, access Advanced Options and clear your sign-in information.
- If you want more information about VPN networks, check out this additional guide on how to set up a VPN.
If you want something a little faster and cheaper than VPN software, you might like proxy servers. Like the VPN, a proxy server can hide your surfing details and allow you to access restricted content. Check out this article on everything you need to know about proxy servers.
11. Install a Reliable Antivirus Software
Malware and viruses can target your web browser, not your computer. Malware in your computer system can take up your bandwidth and make it appear that your internet connection is slow.
To keep your web browser and computer system running smoothly, you need reliable antivirus software with real-time protection. Check out this list of the best antivirus software in the market to help you see all the features and benefits of great antivirus software.
Running system scans at least once a week allows automatic updates to run on your computer. System updates are very important as it lets your software identify and eliminate new malware. You should also research quick scanning, complete scanning, and threat scanning.
12. Clear Up Cache and Cookies
Your computer keeps data from all websites that you visit online, and these are stored as web cache and cookies. A build-up of the cache and cookies over time can cause your internet to slow down. To increase your internet’s response time, clear up your cache and cookies regularly. Here are the steps:
- Open the homepage of your web browser. Go to Settings.
- Under Settings, select Clear Browsing Data.
- You should see several options to clear your browsing history, cookies and site data, and your cached images and files.
- Click on the items you want to delete.
- Determine the time category of the data you want to delete.
- Click the Clear data button.
13. Disable Plug-ins, Extensions, and Add-ons
Like temporary files, add-ons, plug-ins, and extensions add functionality to your browser. These are smaller software packages that allow you to access many types of media content and features. Yet, these things can compromise your privacy and security. It can even slow down or completely crash your computer when not managed. To increase internet speed, you need to manage and limit existing extensions, plug-ins, and add-ons. Here’s how:
To remove or disable add-ons:
- Open the homepage of your web browser.
- Look for the Tools option and select Manage add-ons.
- Under the drop-down tab, select All add-ons.
- Given the list, click on the icons you don’t need or want to remove.
- Click on the Disable button or click Close.
To remove or disable Extensions:
- Open the homepage of your web browser.
- Look for the Tools tab and select More Tools.
- Select Extensions.
- Given the list, toggle Remove for the extensions you want to remove.
- A notification will appear requesting confirmation. Click Remove.
To remove or disable plug-ins:
- Open the homepage of your web browser.
- Look for the Tools option and select Manage add-ons.
- Select the Plug-ins panel.
- Given the list, toggle Disable for the plug-ins you want to disable.
- In other browsers, this might appear as a Never Activate button.
- If a notification to restart appears, accept the restart.
14. Disable Large Send Offload (LSO)
Large Send Offload is a feature on most Ethernet adapters that processes data and packs it to specific frame sizes for easier transport. It essentially reduces the work of the CPU by efficiently breaking down and transmitting data. This frees up the CPU but it results in background applications consuming large amounts of bandwidth. To increase internet speed, you need to disable the LSO feature. Here’s how:
- Go to Settings.
- Look for the Network Adapters tab under the Device Manager tab. Click on the arrow on the Network Adapters tab to expand it.
- Double click on your network type.
- Examples include Ethernet Controller or WAN Minipoint, etc.
- Go to the Advanced tab and select Large Send Offload v2 (Ipv4).
- Select the value Disabled. Click Ok.
- If the default value is Large Send Offline v2 (Ipv6), also select Disabled.
- If you experience any issues with the serves, you can enable the LSO feature.
15. Use Data-Saving Web Browsers
An efficient internet connection should be able to load websites and web pages in an instant. Nowadays, web browsers can load web pages in a matter of milliseconds with the help of data compression. This particular property uses HTML code and scripts to compress files and make them lighter. This makes it easier to store, load, and transfer. Data compression is an effective and efficient data-saving technique. These browsers even allow you to load content normally when you have an intermittent internet connection. To increase internet speed, you need to download an efficient data-saving web browser.
16. Switch to 5GHz Network Connection.
If you are keen on using wireless internet, you should know that there are two kinds. There’s a 2.4 gigahertz network that sends signals to a larger area at a slower pace and a 5.0 gigahertz network sends signals to a smaller area at a faster pace. Some routers offer both types of networks but only one is available at any point. Your computer might support a 5.0 gigahertz network and not a 2.4 gigahertz network, so it would be better to check. If you are experiencing slow web page loading or extremely slow video playback, the problem could be your router. To increase internet speed, you will need to either switch to a 5.0 gigahertz network or buy a new router that supports it.
17. Use Ad Blockers
Ads are one of the most common pop-ups, but they can come in droves. When this happens, it can take up a small but not negligent amount of bandwidth and slow your internet. To increase internet speed, you need to block unwanted ads with the right software and configuration knowledge. Here are the steps to download and install an AdBlocker:
- Open the homepage of your web browser.
- On your Visit https://getadblock.com or any other ad blocker website.
- Click on Get AdBlock or follow download procedures.
- Select+Add to Chrome (Or Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.) depending on your web browser. Select Add.
- On the installation page, click on Install.
- You will receive a notification verifying the installation request. Select Allow.
- You will receive a second notification asking if you trust the author of the application. Click on Install Now.
18. Enable Offline Mode for Web Browsers
Enabling offline mode is the fastest way to be able to save and view pages through your cache, especially during times of slow or intermittent internet connection. You can download entire web pages and files to your cache folder. A cache is a storage place for the information downloaded from the websites that you visit. The steps differ depending on your web browser. To increase internet speed, you need to enable the offline mode of your web browsers individually. These are the steps for enabling offline mode on Google Chrome:
- Open the Chrome home page.
- In the address bar, type in: chrome://flags/#show-saved-copy. Click Enter.
- This should lead you to a settings page where you can toggle the offline mode.
- Scroll to the Show Saved Copy button and click on the drop-down list.
- Select Enable: Primary or Enable: Secondary.
- Carry out the instructions by clicking Relaunch Now.
Once the offline mode is enabled, you will be able to access cached websites through the Show saved copy button that will appear on your web browser when you have no internet connection. Of course, this could only work with an intact cache.
19. Schedule Important Activities
Heavy internet traffic can slow down your browsing. Having too many people trying to connect to the internet at the same time can affect your own ability to connect. Unfortunately, this is an external issue and there’s no way to stop people from being online when they want to. The best idea might be to create a schedule for yourself to avoid periods within the day when internet traffic is at its heaviest.
Take into consideration that the global peak for internet usage is between dusk and midnight. This is the period with the most users online, and this traffic can slow down your connection. If you intend to download files on BitTorrent or stream videos on Netflix, you might want to specifically avoid internet peak hours. These are high-bandwidth activities and they will lag without a stable internet connection. You could adjust your schedule and complete important tasks earlier.
20. Install a WiFi Booster
A Wifi signal booster is potentially your wireless router’s new best friend and will work wonders to increase internet speed. Wifi servers act as a secondary access point to allow you to connect to your wireless internet anywhere within the proximity of the router. As a result, your network is amplified for increased internet speed, extended physical coverage, and the capacity to accommodate other wireless devices onto your network. It supports both 2.4 gigahertz and 5.0 gigahertz network bands so it can adapt to any kind of router.
Final Thoughts on How to Increase Internet Speed
Chances are, only minor adjustments are required to fix the issue and your computer will work just fine. It’s not just the inconvenience of waiting for pages and the anxiety that comes with losing your files; it’s your right and privilege to have access to a speedy and reliable internet connection.
If you think the problem is hardware-related (defective router, modem, or cables), you can call your internet service provider for technical assistance. Your ISP must assist with this purpose.
You should be able to make the most out of the internet resources available because you are paying so much money for it. We hope that through these tips on how to increase internet speed, you’ll be able to have a much improved and satisfying user experience.