How to Speed Up Your Internet: 9 Ways to Improve Internet Speed
Following these 9 tips can fix many speed issues, especially if you normally have a decent connection. Be sure to run internet speed tests between each tip, to check if you’ve resolved the issue.
1. Have You Tried Turning It Off and On Again?
Yes, this first piece of advice is rather cliché, but it really works. Errors and bugs affect all computers, and in a router, this means that data takes longer to go from point A to point B. So, if you normally have decent speeds, but they’ve recently dropped, try a quick reboot.
Although the best method does depend on your router, there are a few options. The easiest way is to just unplug it, but you can also press the power button or turn it off through your browser. Be sure to leave it off for about 10 seconds to ensure it fully shuts down.
2. Check Your Data Cap
Some internet providers will put data caps in your internet plan. Although most ISPs will simply charge you extra when you go past this limit, others will decrease your internet speeds until the end of the month.
There should be a website or phone number you can use to see if your internet plan has these limits. If you’re unsure, you can often find these on any official paperwork from your ISP or by going to their website.
3. Move Closer to Your Router
As you get further from your router, the quality of the signal will decrease. This means that more of the data packets will get lost, and your device won’t receive all the information the router tries to send it. Sending the data again takes time, so the overall speed decreases.
A typical home router on the 2.4 GHz frequency will have a clear range of around 300 feet. However, the walls, doors and furniture in your house can easily drop this by half or more. Even if you’re in this area, fewer data packets will be lost if you’re closer to the router, so it’s worth trying this before you continue.
You can also try moving the router to a more central location, rather than, for example, the corner of your house, which decreases its effectiveness.
4. Disconnect Other Connected Devices from Your Network
Disconnecting other wireless devices from your network has the obvious benefit that they aren’t taking any of your precious bandwidth. It’s also easy to do by simply turning the device off, turning the Wi-Fi connection on your device off entirely or connecting to a different network.
However, there is a secondary benefit to this. Every device connected must send data to the router to stay on the network. This data can interfere with yours and degrade your signal quality, especially if you’re far away from the router. So, by disconnecting other devices, you’ll decrease the time spent resending data and increase your effective speeds.
5. Use an Ethernet Cable Instead of Wi-Fi
Although this can be a hassle, most computers and laptops have an ethernet port that you can use to create a physical connection with your router. A standard Cat 5e cable is capable of 1,000 Mbps, around double a 2.4 GHz connection in ideal conditions.
Not only are the speeds better, but using an ethernet cord is also a good way to get around network interference and distance limits. You can easily reach 300 feet with an ethernet cable without your speeds decreasing.
6. Scan Your Computer for Viruses
Sometimes, your internet speed will slow down because something on your device is taking up all the bandwidth. This might be all right if it was an important update or a large download — which you can check inside Windows task manager — but it can be infuriating if it’s a virus.
Luckily, there’s plenty of antiviruses out there. You can even get free antivirus if you only want to check to see if there’s a major problem with your device. Simply install a reliable program and run a full system scan to find out if there’s a bug hiding somewhere.
7. Get a Better Router
This step might cost you some money, but it’s well worth it. Getting a better wireless router will give you more options, such as using a faster frequency band or Wi-Fi protocol. You can even get routers that do other things, like hiding your location with a VPN router
Getting a new router also lets you repurpose your existing one. You could use it as a switch for more ethernet ports, turn it into a separate dedicated modem or wire it up as a second wireless access point to expand your home network. Whatever you choose, your Wi-Fi speed should increase.
8. Complain to Your Internet Provider
Although this one isn’t going to help immediately, internet service providers are companies like any other. If they start getting lots of complaints, there’s a chance that they’ll improve their service.
You may even find that there’s an upgrade available to your plan that will increase your download speeds. Just be sure to read the fine print so that you’re going to get faster internet speeds.
9. Get a New Internet Service Provider
If you’ve tried everything and you’re still experiencing slow internet speeds, then it may be time to shop around for a new ISP. Internet companies are always trying to one-up each other to get your business, so there may be a newer, faster service that’s now available to you.
Even if you live out in the middle of nowhere, and there’s only one traditional provider, there are other options. Unlimited mobile hotspots are getting faster and more reliable, and high-speed satellite internet options — such as Elon Musk’s Starlink — are starting to become available.