Is your internet being intentionally slowed down by your Internet Service Provider? In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll walk through how to test for ISP throttling and provide tips to regain your full internet speeds.
Internet throttling is more common than you may think. Studies indicate up to 70% of mobile data connections exhibit signs of throttling. But there are ways you can identify and combat throttling to optimize your internet experience.
What is ISP Throttling?
ISP throttling is when an Internet Service Provider (ISP) deliberately limits your bandwidth speed. They may do this during peak congestion, but oftentimes it‘s to push you into upgrading to a more expensive plan.
By capping speeds, ISPs can control network traffic flow. But throttling can also negatively impact your ability to stream video, game online, or conduct video calls.
How Can I Test if My ISP is Throttling My Connection?
If your internet seems sluggish, here are some methods to test for ISP throttling:
1. Check for Throttling Symptoms
Watch for issues like frequent buffering when streaming, connections dropping, extremely slow speeds, and difficulty downloading files. Compare your experience across different devices on the same network.
2. Monitor Speeds Over Time
Run speed tests regularly to watch for speed fluctuations throughout the day. Throttling often occurs during peak evening hours.
3. Compare Speeds With and Without a VPN
Connect to a VPN, which hides traffic from your ISP. Run a speed test without the VPN, then again with the VPN active. If speeds are significantly faster through the VPN, throttling is occurring.
Some top VPNs for bypassing throttling include ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and Surfshark.
4. Check if You Exceeded Your Data Cap
Many ISPs throttle speeds if you surpass your monthly data allowance. Check your account to see if you went over your cap.
5. Look for Throttling Clauses in Your Contract
Review your ISP agreement for any clauses about throttling practices. Policies may state they can throttle based on congestion, data limits, or other factors.
Tips to Stop ISP Throttling
If you confirm throttling by your provider, here are some potential solutions:
- Use a VPN – Encrypts your connection so ISPs can‘t identify traffic to throttle.
- Try a proxy service – Masks your IP address and online activities from your ISP.
- Limit streaming during peak hours – Throttling is common when traffic is highest between 5-10 PM.
- Upgrade your data cap – Switching to an unlimited data plan can help avoid throttling.
- Contact your ISP – Report throttling concerns and request they provide advertised speeds.
- File an FCC complaint – If ISP refuses to address throttling, you can file a complaint with the FCC.
- Switch providers – Research alternative ISPs with better network capacity and no throttling.
With some diligence, you can identify if your ISP is limiting speeds. It may take applying a combination of throttling solutions to fully restore your internet performance. Don‘t tolerate subpar internet – take action today against unjust ISP throttling.