One of the biggest questions that tech-savvy people get asked all the time is, "Do you know how to make my internet faster?” The question is tricky because there are a lot of possible reasons your internet may be performing slower than your expectations. If you’ve already tried the best network monitoring tools and software, and your speeds are still down, then here are a few things you can try.
How to Make Your Internet Faster
There are several different things to know when it comes to answering the question of how to speed up the internet. Here are some of the different things you can try to get your internet speeds back where you expect them to be.
1. Take the “My Internet Speed Test”
Before you learn how to improve internet speed, you need to know what your speeds are. There are a lot of free tests online, so check anywhere like speedtest.net.
They have the world’s best speed test, and just launched a new beta that can handle HTML5 here! You can also monitor your network your router traffic with these tips.
2. Check for Router Obstructions
If you have a router obstruction, it might be affecting your download speed. We will talk about repositioning your router below, but you need to look for specific obstructions. For example, anything metal, stone, or brick can obstruct your router from communicating with the Wi-Fi. So can a ton of walls or floors. Avoid areas with tons of windows, appliances, or metal. A lot of people put their router in the kitchen, but this is one of the worst possible places you can choose.
3. Give Your Router a Break
Most people only reset their router if they experienced a problem. It’s one of the first things that tech support will have you to in a troubleshooting process if you lose your internet connection. Did you realize that you can reset it much more frequently to help with your internet speed?
If you reset your router once a month, it will reset and refresh your internet connection. This will stimulate your connection to the ISP. Doing it monthly means you can just set a calendar date reminder so you never forget.
4. Reposition Your Router
Here’s a very quick and low tech solution. Your router might not be optimally placed for fast speeds. If your router is located in a remote area of your house, move it to a more central location. The Wi-Fi signal needs to be able to go from the router to your devices, and having the router in corners, far away from the devices using Wi-Fi, or near too much thick concrete or interfering devices, it can prevent your devices from receiving a strong enough signal. Put your router in the middle of the house on the floor you most frequently use for the Internet.
If your network is not secure, then securing it is the first thing you need to know about how to make the internet faster. There are a lot of bandwidth thieves that use packet sniffers in the world, and you may not even know it is happening because it's a silent crime that just reports to the internet company and affects your speeds, connections, data, and caps. What's worse, if they're using it for criminal activities then it will come down on your head when the authorities catch it.
You need to make sure that your network is secured. Log in to your router and disable the option for network sharing. Then, add a password to your router and Wi-Fi that will protect your signal.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, you need to choose a very strong password that is WPA or WPA2 protected. The longer the password is, and the less obvious it is, the better it will be for you. Use tons of letters and include symbols and numbers. Don't make it an actual word. You will theoretically only need to set your devices up every once in awhile, so you can always keep the password handy somewhere in your home. You should also change it periodically.
For even more security, you can hide your network’s name, create a second, separate network for any guests you want to allow temporary access to, add a firewall to prevent viruses from getting downloaded, and use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt everything.
6. Embrace Ethernet
Wi-Fi is one of the most convenient inventions that happened. It’s a fantastic way to access the internet from just about everywhere and it is incredibly convenient. Everyone is ditching the cables in favor of access from just about anywhere, even restaurants, cars, and more! Unfortunately, while Wi-Fi is certainly the most convenient way to access the internet, it isn’t capable of the same rapid speeds that cables can provide.
Ethernet connections will always be much faster and far more stable than wireless connections. This is because cables can receive the signal and send it directly to your device without a third party transmitting it over the air. It’s like speaking in person instead of sending a letter. While it isn’t realistic to connect everything to the Ethernet cables, and most of the iPads and other devices are better served on Wi-Fi, you can connect some of your devices to the internet with Ethernet cables to free up the Wi-Fi for the rest of the devices, which results in faster speed for every device. The TV, any gaming consoles (Xbox, PlayStation, Wii, etc.), and any desktops can be connected to the Ethernet. Even your laptop can be better served at times if you connect it using a cable instead of the Wi-Fi for those gaming sessions that you need optimal speed and no lag. As an added bonus, Ethernet is also much more secure.
7. Scan for Malware and Adware and Remove Them
You should scan your computer for adware and malware periodically. When you scan your system for viruses, you can catch them and eliminate them. This malware will hog all of your bandwidth and on top of that, it will send the virus to infect other machines, too. This slows your internet and computer to a grinding halt and endangers the computers of all the people you communicate with regularly.
If your internet is working especially slowly, or you’re seeing random pop up messages you probably have a virus. This is true if your hard drive is overworked or programs will start and stop on their own. Removing the malware means turning the computer off, then turning it back on from Safe Mode. You should delete all of your temporary files and download a virus scanner.
8. Block Those Ads
If you want to know a quick and easy way for how to increase download speed, look at your ads. Pretty much every website runs off ads these days. It’s how most internet-based businesses make their money and since everyone's online more and more it is how many retailers stay alone and relevant.
Unfortunately, these ads are massive resource hogs. Whether they're pop-ups or banners, embedded automatically playing videos or GIFs you don’t want them and they prevent your actual content from loading quickly.
Getting an ad blocker will help when it comes to eliminating these hogs and freeing up your internet speed for the content you actually chose to view. Find a program or plugin that will prevent those videos from automatically downloading and playing so your connection has more room for relevant content.
9. Install a Clear Cache Plugin
A lot of people are blissfully unaware of an internet term called “cache". This is a grave error and it is notoriously the top cause of slower internet for most of the users who aren't that tech-savvy. Whenever you visit a website, the browser will collect information about you and store them as cookies. These cookies get sent to marketers who can use the data to ensure that you are being shown relevant ads. Ever wonder why your Facebook and browser seem so psychic and are marketing exactly what you love? You can thank cached cookies for this.
Getting rid of these trackers will free up an immense amount of resources, but to do that you will need to periodically clear the cache on your browser. A lot of people can do it manually, which won't take too long, but if you're worried about clearing stored information that you want to remain, like saved passwords, you can always just install a plugin to do it for you in a single click. The good thing about the plugin is that you can make it a part of your pattern. Just click it before you log off for the day and you’ll be clearing regularly enough to prevent the cookies from hogging your internet speed.
10. Optimize Your Web Browser
Clear your cache and cookies regularly, even If your browser doesn’t seem slow. If the browser itself is consistently slow, then you may want to try a new web browser. That may fix your issue.
11. Use a Streamlined Browser
Tabs are one of the most useful things that internet browsers ever invented, right? You can leave several tabs open at a time so you don’t lose content when you need to swap to something else, and if you see a relevant article you’re interested in, you can open it in a different tab and check it out when you finish with your current tab.
Unfortunately, having so many open tabs means that all of those pages are loaded and waiting. It takes resources to have those open, and if it’s media like pictures or video it will slow your connection down a lot.
Use a backup browser for all of those tabs. Browsers like Opera can streamline your data automatically across several tabs so that you’re browsing faster. While it’s not a great daily browser, it’s a great way to look something up really quickly without having to open yet another tab.
12. Check for Background Activities
A good way to determine how to increase upload speed is by checking to see if there are any background activities that may be slowing you down. This is another one of the most common problems when it comes to sluggish internet speeds. Check for background activities and kill anything that isn’t necessary.
Windows can use CTRL+Shift+ESC to open their task manager. Mac users can use Spotlight to search for Activity Monitor. Linux commands work in a similar way, for example, gnome-system-monitor. Sometimes, the background will update your system, which will cause temporarily slower speeds while that happens. It isn't a good idea to turn off these automatic updates.
13. DNS Hack for Speeding Up the Internet
If you want to know another technical idea for how to increase internet speed, then you can always use a DNS hack. There are a few options, but usually, Google DNS is the fastest and most secure one to use. Other options that are popular include Cloudflare DNS and Open DNS, depending on your needs.
To configure the Google DNS, you can use IPv4 at 188.8.131.52 or 184.108.40.206 and for IPv6 you should use 2001:4860:4860:8888 or 2001:4860:4860:8844. Open DNS uses IPv4 at 220.127.116.11 and IPv6 at 2620:0:ccc::2.
14. Free Up Unnecessarily Used Space
This isn’t necessarily an internet speed fix, so much as an overall computer speed fix. A lot of people don’t optimize their data. We frequently keep files we no longer need, forget to empty trash cans and recycling bins, and when was the last time that you remembered that there’s a feature that will let you consolidate your data to free up some space on your computer?
If you have tried other ways to speed up the internet that don’t work, or If you notice that your entire computer is running sluggishly, then there’s no reason that you can’t do a sweep and clean some stuff. Uninstall apps you never use and clear up some space. Remember to delete any of the temporary internet data that these programs created and stored, too.
15. Consider Your Data Cap
Sometimes, slow internet is a result of a data cap. ISPs will set an average amount of data they let people have before they cap you off and slow your connection to zilch. These caps are, naturally, not advertised, but they are one of the largest reasons for slow internet speeds.
Once you go through a certain amount of data in a month, your ISP will start restricting your speeds noticeably. Check your internet bill because it will show you if you have a data cap. It will be somewhere buried in the fine print.
If you're regularly exceeding your cap there isn't a lot you can do. If you don't have one, but you're being throttled anyway, you can try to fight. Unfortunately, for the most part, you will either have to budget your data throughout the month or pay more per month for a new internet plan that comes with more data.
16. Negotiate with Your Internet Service Provider
Sometimes, if you need more speed and you have been capped, you can negotiate with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). They will try to trap you into paying more for a higher service, but there’s some wiggle room. At the end of the day, they’d rather have you as a customer than lose you to another ISP.
You can ask them about alternative plans to the advertised ones. Sometimes, they have room built-in and can offer a new plan that they don't advertise to a customer in order to keep you. These usually split the difference between plans and money, so if you only need a little more data you don’t have to make a huge jump to a plan bigger than you need and can save some money.
17. Get a Different Internet Provider
Barring negotiations, you can always call their bluff. Shop around for different service providers. A lot of them will offer some great introductory rates to new customers and there might be a cheaper and better plan for you than the one you locked in. This is especially true if you got your plan at least 5 years ago. The market has changed and providers have a lot more competition, which means they have a lot more incentive to offer great, competitive rates to entice you to sign a contract with them.