Do you know how your internet seems to be running slower and slower over time, no matter what you do? Well, it might just be that the company that provides your internet service is throttling it. ISPs are notorious for this practice. It’s not too hard to figure out if they’re doing it either: all you’ve got to do is visit a website like DSLReports Speedtest and see if there is any significant difference in speeds between download and upload tests. If there’s a significant disparity, the odds are good that they’re throttling your connection. Here are some of the most common signs of ISP throttling:
- Slow load times if you’re watching videos online.
- Upload speeds are slower than download speeds.
- The speed of your connection varies over time (for instance, if you notice that in the evening, the more you load internet pages on a site like Speedtest, the slower everything gets).
- Sites with videos and audio stream slowly or sometimes refuse to load at all.
- Loading pages on websites takes much longer than it did in the past.
- You only get slow service if you’re using a specific browser or with one particular operating system. This is common when ISPs are throttling based on your particular IP address.
- Websites have also been known to “break” if they detect that you’re not coming from an ISP that has an agreement with them (e.g., SoundCloud won’t play its songs without a paid account).
- Websites that aren’t hosted by your ISP don’t work as well as they used to.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, it might be time to switch ISPs, especially if you’ve had the same provider for more than a year or so. If you want fast internet access without interference from your ISP throttling your connection, consider getting an encrypted Virtual Private Network account.
A VPN encrypts all of the data that you send and receive from your computer, which effectively keeps it out of sight so that there is nothing for your ISP to throttle. When you use a VPN, your ISP can’t tell what sites you’re visiting on the internet, so they have no reason to interfere with your connection. This is excellent news for people who often stream video or audio content because their ISPs usually want to charge more money to customers who do these things. With a VPN, you get fast internet without the hassle of being throttled.