Is My Internet Being Throttled? | Is Your Provider Deliberately Slowing Down Your Speed?

As the Internet becomes an integral part of our lives, a bad connection to the internet means you can't get your work done.

 Moreover, if you are a business owner who depends on the Internet, poor connection can also affect your business' productivity. This article walks you through some of the most effective ways to answer your question of, “is my internet being throttled?”

For that matter, if your internet is being throttled and you aren't sure if the problem is with your router or ISP, these tips will help you identify the issue. Also, you may look for the most reliable providers, as reviewed here, to minimize such risks.

What is Internet Throttling?

Internet throttling is the process of deliberately slowing down connections to certain sites and services, whether via purposeful interference or setting lower bandwidth caps.

When a connection is being throttled, users experience slow speeds when trying to access certain data-heavy sites, such as video streaming services and large file downloads.

When applied to internet speed, it refers to the practice of slowing down the rate of data transmission over a network.

Throttled by your ISPs

What you need to know: If you're throttled by your ISP, you may not be getting the best value for your ISP subscription. You can take steps to determine if you're being throttled and raise any issues with your ISP.

Download notice on the screen

Why does an Internet Service Provider throttle your Internet?

  • ISPs throttle data when they want to ensure users do not use so much data that the network becomes congested.
  • Your ISP is concerned with offering the highest-quality experience to all users. They limit internet applications like BitTorrent and YouTube, as well as certain websites that use lots of data and high traffic, to ensure everyone gets the best possible connection when they are on the network.
  • Internet throttling is a bigger deal than most of us realize but the simple answer to “why do ISPs throttle data” is because they can. You see, in most areas, there’s little competition for internet service. When competition is less, ISPs behave how they want.
  • ISP throttling Internet speeds or applying data caps is not always an indication of network congestion but may be used by ISPs to increase profits in order for them to make investments into their networks.
  • ISP throttling allows them to charge less money for their Internet plans and entices customers who are concerned about the cost of their data plan.
  • There are plenty of reasons for a data limit on an internet plan. Maybe your ISP is using data caps to get rid of out-of-plan or “over-the-limit” usage so as not to reward people who are getting more than what they bargained for. Or maybe there's a genuine need for a threshold on the number of internet people can use each month.
  • Throttling can be done on purpose to manage an abnormally heavy load of traffic
  • Today, most mobile broadband providers are using throttling to prevent customers from connecting to congested towers or from signing up for service with more bandwidth than they need.

How Can I tell my Internet is being Throttled by my ISP?

Want to know if your internet speeds have been throttled? There are a couple of things you can effectively do to detect delays, packet loss, or other problems that might be caused by throttling.

Run a Speed Test

Thanks to the demands of streaming movies, online gaming, and more, your ISP may be throttling everything on your connection — often without you knowing. Run a free speed test to check if your ISP is throttling your internet.

If your network performance deteriorates after conducting a speed test, your ISP is most probably throttling traffic on your connection. Most speed tests make it easy for anyone to check whether or not their connection is being throttled. 

internet speed test icon

Speed tests measure the performance of your connection or have a data cap, and many ISP's throttles (slow down) streams for their customers in order to manage resources. That's why you're able to do most tasks on your connection but still get 10 Mbps or slower speeds when running a speed test. It's also worth noting that your speed may also depend on the type of ethernet cable you are using - here are our top picks.

How Can I Test my Internet Connection?

There are several things you can do to test your Internet speeds. You can simply test it by visiting your favorite websites, such as www.google.com, and see if they respond quickly and without error.

Test Online

Another way is to just try a speed test online. Many of these sites are free online, but be sure the site you choose is reputable and will provide an honest assessment of the speed of your internet.

You can test your Internet speed with a free application like the Ookla Speed Test. This site will run tests on your Internet speeds and let you know the speed it’s currently getting.

man with a laptop

Check your Data Cap for Internet Throttling

If your internet is being throttled, check your data cap. It’s no secret that your internet connection can slow down when you reach a data cap.

Your (ISP) may throttle your speeds depending on the package you have with them.  To see if you have a data cap, check your ISP's website for details or give them a call.  

If you have an Xbox One and want to know how much bandwidth you are using for online gaming, you can view it in System Settings under Network Statistics. If you see a file size listed where your bandwidth should be, that is your cap. Also, while at gaming, read our ethernet cables for gaming review, as that may be an issue, too. A good Wi-Fi extender, like the ones in this post, can also be a part of the solution.

Run a Free Throttling Test

So you think your internet is being throttled? Run a free throttling test on your connection to see if you’re experiencing any.

Now you can run a free throttling test at the press of a button. The Internet Health Test, a site operated by Battle for the Net and Fight for the Future, lets you test whether your ISP is throttling certain popular websites.

The test looks at how much data your internet service provider ISP is sending to each website, and then compares your ISP's data throughput to ISPs with a similar number of customers. It's designed to discover if one or more are getting preferential treatment.

Throttling test capture

Upgrade your Internet

Tired of buffering videos and slow internet speeds by your internet providers? Upgrade your internet package for faster, more consistent bandwidth to the websites you use most. Plus, get no data caps or throttling.

Is Internet Throttling Illegal?

Internet throttling is illegal, you’re entitled to the speed that was advertised.

The good news is that the FCC has passed a rule making it illegal to intentionally slow down your internet connection by providing incorrect information about a data plan. There are also consumer protections in place to make sure providers who violate this rule pay the price.

Also, The Federal Communications Commission recently imposed new rules to ensure companies advertise their mobile broadband speeds as “the maximum speed that your wireless device is capable of connecting to our network”.

How to Fix Data Throttling?

Fixing data throttling can be a tough situation for anyone. If you feel that your service provider is throttling or intentionally slowing down your internet speed, we’ve provided the easiest possible ways to keep your connection fast and efficient!

wifi icon and question mark on the blue background

Install the Best VPN to prevent Throttling your Internet Speeds

Luckily, there’s a way to get around your ISPs’ or internet providers' restrictions and slow internet. A VPN is a Virtual Private Network. Using a VPN protects your privacy by encrypting all of your data before it leaves your computer. Using a VPN can hide you from the internet while allowing you to visit the sites you want to freely.

A VPN encrypts your data and routes it through a remote server.

This, in turn, makes it appear as if you’re accessing the internet from a different location. In short, internet service providers cannot know if someone is connected to Netflix when they are.

No matter what you’re doing online, you deserve a fast connection. Even better: a connection that’s not just fast but secure as well. A virtual private network (VPN) does just that.

Switch to a New Internet Service Provider

Your internet provider might be the source of your throttling problems. Or maybe you’ve reached a data cap. Of course, you can switch to a new isp or opt for unlimited data if it’s available in your area."

No one wants to receive slower, more expensive internet. Yet, when data throttling happens it’s hard to take all that frustration.

Monitor your Monthly Data Usage

Monitor your data. One of the best ways to avoid data throttling is to stay informed and be proactive in monitoring your monthly usage.

Monitoring data usage is the key to ensuring that you don’t subscribe to a capped data plan only to realize you’ve exceeded your limit after the damage has already been done. If your capped data plan has unlimited data, however, there’s no way around it.

You can either choose a different plan with good connection speed or be prepared to deal with high charges if you surpass your limit.

About Dusan Stanar

I'm the founder of VSS Monitoring. I have been both writing and working in technology in a number of roles for dozens of years and wanted to bring my experience online to make it publicly available. Visit https://www.vssmonitoring.com/about-us/ to read more about myself and the rest of the team.

Leave a Comment