How to Speed Up Your Internet Connection

If you’re reading this, you’re either having internet problems or looking for the boost you feel your internet connection needs. And both are common plights. And there are many solutions to both issues, though not all might work in your particular case. That is what makes speeding up a connection tricky. Additionally, your internet speed isn’t entirely in your hands on a day-to-day basis. You can certainly optimize equipment on your end and make sure there aren’t problems or interference, but that’s only half the issue. The ISP could have problems on their end, and there isn’t much to be done in the short term.

In this piece, we’ll be going over all of the common possibilities for slowdowns and some key ways to speed up your connection regularly. As you’ll see, there are a lot of options. Keep on reading and see what might work for you and what might be worth trying out:

Slow Internet Versus Unstable Internet

When it comes to internet speed, there are a few different ways to look at it. The key ways you can measure internet speed or the overall quality of your internet connection are:

Download Speed: This measures how long it takes to download a file or information from a server. This is what most people think about when it comes to internet speed, and for a good reason. The faster the download speed, the better.

Upload Speed: On the other side of the coin is upload speed, or how fast it takes a device to upload a file to the internet. Upload and download speed are generally connected, though, with most service plans, the upload speed will be much lower than the download speed. Unless you are a professional who regularly needs to upload files, this is fine.

Latency/Ping Rate: This is a measurement of how quickly it takes your device to get a response after sending out a request. The lower the latency, measured in milliseconds, the better. Anything below 30ms is fantastic. Anything above 150ms constitutes a problem. However, please note that it might not be your connection that causes high latency in some cases.

Consistency: The internet cutting out at the wrong time is the worst nightmare for many people. A consistent connection is critical, and you should look to find as constant a connection as possible. 

It’s important to know these, as some of the tips and solutions below will help with one of the above but not the others. If you have a problem with consistency, efforts to improve your download speed may not be your first priority.

Using a Speed Test to Pinpoint the Issue

Trying to figure out the issue without more information or an educated guess, assuming there is an issue and you don’t want to speed things up, is too complicated. You need more information to help yourself out, and a speed test is the best option to start with. It should provide information on your download speed, speed, and likely latency, depending on the test you use.

As for the speed test you should use, that is up to you though the top choices after a quick search should serve you perfectly well, as long as you follow the best practices for running a speed test. As a general rule, you want one that is accurate, free from bias, or too many ads on the testing page and provides all the information you are looking for.

We recommend the following practices when conducting a speed test:

• You will want to make sure that you test multiple times during the day to determine whether there is a slowdown at a certain point in the day.

• Test from several different devices if you can. This will help you determine whether the problem is confined to a single device or not.

• If you have a larger home or don’t, try to test from multiple areas of the house. This can help you determine weaknesses in your wireless network.

• You may want to perform a few tests simultaneously to ensure consistent results.

• Make sure that you record the results. You can track consistent problems more easily, and should you need to talk to your ISP, you have a better record of the issues. You can do this or use a speed test that automatically keeps records using an account.

We also recommend you read more about speed tests as you can and that you get into the habit of using them when you run into problems. They aren’t perfect and won’t tell you everything, but they can narrow down the problem into something manageable.

WiFi Versus Wired Connection

Perhaps the first thing you can do to increase your internet connection speed dramatically is to use an ethernet cable instead of a wireless one.

While this is unlikely to work with a phone or tablet, we strongly recommend switching to an ethernet cable if you have a desktop computer. It will ensure a more consistent connection, the full speed of what your plan is capable of (assuming you have a good modem), and offers no disadvantage for a stationary setup. Even if you have a laptop or an area where you usually work, having an ethernet cable ready to go can be a better option than relying on WiFi.

Improving or Fixing Your Equipment

Many internet problems come down to your equipment, whether your modem, your router, or something else. Yet just “fix your equipment problems” is hardly helpful advice, so let’s talk about some of the more common problems and improvements to make:

Check Whether Your Equipment Is Too Old or Broken

When was the last time you checked on your modem or router (or combo)? Are you sure they are working properly? Even if they are working properly, they are simply outdated for your current connection. While unlikely, if you upgraded your service while keeping your equipment, it is possible. 

If you got a rental modem/router combo from your ISP, try to remember or look up how old it is. It could be due to an upgrade. Don’t pay a monthly fee for outdated equipment.

If there is simply a malfunction in your equipment, it might be possible to fix it. Troubleshoot it as best you can, and look up common errors for your model online. Unfortunately, repair costs would be too high to consider hiring help for repairs. If it is broken and you can’t easily fix it, it is time for a replacement.

Replace Your Router and Modem

As mentioned, after a certain point, you will need to ensure your equipment is up to date, which might mean you need to make a few replacements.

You will need to ensure that you are getting equipment that can handle your connection. While most new models can do so, you will also want to consider the number of devices in use at any one time in your home. You will also want to ensure you get equipment with a decent range for your home. Though there are other solutions if there isn’t a reasonably priced router that can meet that range.

One last note is that if you are using an ethernet cable, it might be helpful to replace that if it has been several years. They are cheap and can experience wear and tear like any cable.

Properly Place Your Equipment

Some things can interfere with your signal, and if you move your router, you can likely provide a better signal throughout your home. 

Try to ensure that there are no materials that affect signals in the immediate area of your router. Additionally, try to place it in a central place in your home, or at least close to most of the devices in your home. If there was previously a problem, you will quickly notice the difference.

Reset Your Router

There is a reason that the first thing most troubleshooting guides say is to reset your router when you are having internet problems. It works more often than you would think and quickly solves problems caused by weird errors. You may want to try resetting the router in your home if you know it will not disrupt anything to see if there is a difference. You might even see eliminating the problem that has plagued you for weeks.

Note that you still have a problem if you have to reset your router to fix your internet repeatedly. All you have is a temporary fix to the situation when you need a permanent solution.

Updating Firmware

Like most other equipment that deals with the internet, modems, and routers have firmware that should be updated every once in a while. If you don’t, you’ll find that your equipment won’t run optimally.

It is generally easy to update the firmware, but we cannot provide a universal guide due to the sheer number of different models available on the market. Just set aside a few minutes to do so where you may not be able to use your network.

Consider Range Extenders

Sometimes, no matter where your router is, you will not be able to cover your entire house. You might see an inconsistent or slow connection in areas not optimally covered. You will need to find a way to increase the range of your network. Fortunately, range extenders can quickly help ensure that every room in your house has proper coverage. Just make sure you get a quality model and install it properly.

If you want to make a larger investment, you can look into a mesh network system with multiple nodes, though these can be relatively expensive. Consider your needs and look up both options if you need to reach more than just one room or two.

Optimize Your Settings and Check the Router Band

The settings on your router matter. There might be options to automatically update it (important) and utilize features built into your equipment that allow for a faster connection. Please learn your equipment’s features and options and utilize them fully.

More universally, there is what band your router operates on. In nearly all cases, you will choose between two bands: 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. The 2.4 Ghz band has a more extended range but is slower. The 5Ghz band is faster but has a shorter range. Modern equipment will decide between the two automatically for the most part, but the processes aren’t perfect. Sometimes, you might want to choose to get a faster or more consistent connection manually. Check to see if this applies to you.

Background Processes and Internet Usage

How does your internet usage affect your connection? Quite a bit and in several ways. Here are some of the main things you should know about:

Disconnect Unused Devices

Do you have devices in your home that are using your connection but aren’t being used? Perhaps a smart device in your home that hasn’t been touched in months? Disconnect it to free up the bandwidth. You can connect it again should you need it, and the entire process can be a great start to tidying up your home.

Check What Programs Are Running on Your Devices

Sometimes background processes on your phone or computer use up more bandwidth than you think. You might be downloading something in the background that you don’t need anymore. Your computer might communicate with servers you don’t need to contact. Go through your processes every once in a while and close out of what you aren’t using. Your connection will be better for it, and your devices will likely run faster as well.

Consider What Browser You Are Using

Some browsers are better than others when it comes to efficient bandwidth use, much like how some will use more RAM than others; check to see if your browser is using more bandwidth than you would like. If you are lucky, you might be able to set limits on the amount of bandwidth a browser can use, though note this can have side effects on your usage.

Consider switching browsers if you are unsatisfied with how much bandwidth your current one uses. You can always change back if the results are not to your liking.

Small Changes and Quick Fixes

If you have a few minutes, you might want to do the following to optimize your connection and perhaps make your internet just a bit faster:

• If you haven’t cleared your browser cache in a while, it might be time to do so. It will not make a dramatic difference, but you might notice a difference on slower connections.

• You may want to adjust the antennas on your router if you feel they are not in an optimal setup. If you have moved your router to a new location, as was previously recommended, you may need to adjust the antennas.

• Reset your devices if it has been a long time since you have done so. The update might need to take effect, and it will help close out programs you aren’t currently using.

Security and Malware

There is no shortage of bad actors on the internet and in the real world, often operating in ways that can affect your online experience and connection. Here are some ways to protect yourself and perhaps improve your connection in the process.

Secure Your Network

Do you have a strong password for your wireless network? Do you have any passwords or protections for your network? If not, change that immediately. Seriously, please do it now; we’ll be waiting here until you are done. Pick a password that other people cannot guess and uses a variety of characters. Change it at least twice a year. Securing your network is vital.

Why? Because if you don’t do this, you risk someone else stealing your connection and leeching off the service you pay for. This decreases your available bandwidth, puts your information at risk, and you don’t want to feel like you’re getting robbed.

Consider What Security Tools You’re Using

You will want to take a look at your firewall. Not that you should stop using it, but it could interfere with specific downloads. Be very careful about disabling your firewall, but also note that keeping it up in some cases can cause interference. 

If you are using a VPN, you should also note that some might slow your connection down or increase your latency. Some VPNs are better than others; try to find a server as close as possible to your location unless you have a specific reason not to.

Scan Your Device for Viruses

One of the most common causes of a slow internet connection, or computer behavior that makes it seem like you have a slow connection, is malware on your device. 

While malware is less likely on a mobile device, it is still possible, and you should be careful about what you download. Not only can malware lead to a poor connection, but it can also lead to identity theft and other problems. 

Use a security program on your devices to scan them regularly.

Throttling, Data Caps, and Other Limitations

There may be situations where your connection seems throttled or otherwise limited, despite no physical reason you can determine. You might want to check if your ISP is throttling your connection. Perhaps it might think you were illegally torrenting files, or you might be using too much data in its eyes. Whatever the case, it is worth looking into, and a speed test can tell if there is something amiss. Contacting your ISP about throttling is also an option.

Data caps are a bit different. With some (perhaps most) available plans from ISPs, there is a monthly limit to how much data you can use. This amount is much more than the average household might use, but power users and frequent downloaders might find themselves brushing against the cap. In such instances, the user might experience an extra charge or a slowdown of their connection.

Depending on your ISP and connection type, there might also be slowdowns when peak hours are in your area. Cable internet is notorious for this. 

Consider the Websites and Servers You Connect To

It takes two to make a connection, and when you are online, you may find that a slow connection comes from being on a particular website or trying to download something from a particular server. This can happen if the servers are not up to snuff or there is a limitation on download speed from those servers. 

If you’re a gamer and want a perfect example of this, compare how long it takes to download two games of different sizes using two different launchers. Even on the same connection, one launcher might take 10 minutes to handle what another launcher needs an hour to download.

There is practically nothing you can do about this, and don’t worry about it. As long as your connection can perform optimally when you ask it to on the right site, there is nothing for you to worry about. Just know that if one site is the issue, you probably don’t have a problem.

When to Call Your ISP

When the above doesn’t work, or you know there is an issue beyond your control, it is time to call your ISP for technical support. There may be hours to do this, or your ISP might have 24/7 support. Additionally, you may want to use live chat, a more common feature that might be better for those who dislike talking on the phone. Many have sung the praises of solutions yielded from live chat support, so try out what is most comfortable for you and available.

If you think something is wrong with the lines or the fix would be beyond your technical skill, then it is time to contact your ISP. Contact them if you know your ISP-provided equipment is not working.

Unfortunately, and perhaps annoyingly, you might need to go through the motions with most of the above steps and processes with technical support. They will likely be operating, assuming you have not tried the above. Try to bear with them, though do explain what you have tried.

One major flaw with technical support is that support might consider the matter closed if the problem is temporarily solved. This isn’t very helpful if the fix works for a week and the problem returns. You will need to make sure that you note this and bring it up with technical support if it happens.

Getting a New Plan or Switching ISPs

You can only do so much with your settings and equipment. Much of your internet connection quality depends on your ISP and how well they handle things on their end. Additionally, your internet plan might not have enough bandwidth to handle everything you’d like. Here are the steps to take in these instances:

Changing Plans

What was once a good enough plan a year or two ago might not be good enough for your evolving internet needs. If you are doing everything else right but know you don’t have enough bandwidth for your home, then it might be time to switch plans.

Doing so is easy, especially if you are upgrading your plan. After all, an ISP is happy to help you spend more money. Simply call them or go to their website to see what they have available in your area. You may or may not be able to get a nice deal or introductory package with the new plan. However, if you need it, then you need it.

If no faster plan is available, you might need to switch providers to get what you need. If you have the fastest plan in your area and still do not have enough bandwidth, your options might be to try and optimize your usage or consider moving to an area with better options. You can also check and see if there will be better options or plans to move in soon.

When and How to Switch ISPs

If you get to the point where you are completely fed up and need to switch ISPs, don’t panic and don’t pick out the first alternative you see. You hopefully have a few options and want to pick the correct one.

Some reasons you may want to switch ISPs include the following:

• You have repeatedly contacted them for customer service reasons or to get a technician to visit your home for repairs, and you have gotten no satisfactory response.

• You experience regular outages of service or extreme slowdowns, and the ISP shows no steps toward solving the problem. Even if it is a larger infrastructure issue, the ISP has a responsibility to fix things in a timely manner after a certain point.

• Prices have increased to an unacceptable level, and there are far better options elsewhere.

You can use this site to help you pick the right option. You can learn what plans are available in your area and work from there. Once you find a provider you feel fits well, move forward with your order, and don’t look back. Chances are you gave your existing ISP plenty of chances in the first place.

If you are in a service contract like tens of millions of households (if not more), note that often when your switch ISPs, your potential new ISP will be willing to buy out your contract with your old ISP. Look into this, and you could potentially save hundreds of dollars.

Negotiating for Something Better

If you are looking for a way to improve your connection and aren’t getting what you paid for, when you call your ISP, it might be time to negotiate. Maybe you want a lower rate for your trouble, or you want to ensure you get the service you wish, and you’re willing to threaten to change providers. 

When you call up customer service or sales, be polite but firm with what the problems have been or what situations you have had to deal with. Have as much evidence and concrete details as possible. You might not get what you want, but you can say you tried and then move on to another ISP as you feel the need. You will also need to set aside some time, as you do not wish to feel rushed when doing this.


We hope this article will give you information on how to speed up your internet connection and your options for making improvements quickly and easily. We encourage you to return to this article as you feel the need, and we hope you get the better connection you deserve.

InternetAdvisor Team

We are passionate about aggregating large, accurate data sets and providing it all to our users in an easy-to-use format. Simply put, shopping is easier for the consumer when he/she knows all available options. We are not beholden to any single provider and therefore are dedicated to transparency and giving you unbiased information on all providers.

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