We live in a time where the world is at our fingertips. With advances in the Internet and computer technology everything is available instantly. When browsing on the web, be it searching for information on your next research paper or watching funny cat videos, you expect the results to be delivered ASAP. You demand this instant gratification, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact it is necessary for keeping up with the fast pace of life.
In our high-tech, high-speed world it can be very frustrating when your Internet speed falls behind. A slow connection can mean the difference between winning or losing on online bid, having to wait hours for a single download, or simply slowing you down and making reading life-changing articles on LifeAnytime.com less pleasurable and profitable.
So, to better your online experience, we have come up with the top ways to fix your slow internet problems. Follow these seven steps and you will finally be able to have the instant online satisfaction you deserve.
- Talk to your provider. Before you do anything, you should contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to make sure everything is right on their end. Make certain that you are getting the service you pay for and that there are no mistakes. They might discover there is a technical problem and they will be able to walk you through the steps to correct it. Your service package might also be outdated or slower than newer packages. If this is the case you can ask your provider to upgrade your package to the newer option.
- Perform basic PC maintenance. If everything is fine with your Internet service then settings on your computer might actually be slowing you down. A slow computer will slow down your browsing experience, even if you have the fastest Internet on the market.
First you should do a complete virus and spyware scan of your computer to eliminate possible malware. Then you should check your hard drive to see if there are any old or unused programs and files you can delete. A full hard drive will slow your Internet down because the computer uses free space as virtual memory. Running your disk defragmentation program once every couple of weeks will also improve the overall performance of your computer.
Like defragmentation, there are other PC optimizing options available for download or already on your computer (such as “Wise Disk Cleaner” and “Registry Cleaner”) that will help clean and speed up your overall performance.
- Control your bandwidth usage. Bandwidth is your computer’s data transfer rate, and is expressed in bits of data per second (bps). Your bandwidth can become bogged down when too many applications are running at once, which in turn decreases your computer’s speed. Many of your start up programs (such as Windows Update, Skype, Adobe Reader updates, etc) connect to the Internet as soon as you boot up your computer and hog your bandwidth even if you’re not using them.
Use your “Task Manager” or a free tool like Auslogics Task Manager to control which programs are starting automatically. You can disable unwanted programs or select that they have to ask permission to use the Internet.
- Try a different browser. Internet Explorer was the go to browser for years, but recently its competitors have become more popular. As webpages become more advanced they require a larger number of processes to load properly, so finding a browser that allows customization is crucial. Firefox, Chrome, and Safari each have features to control and optimize your browsing experience.
- Change your browser settings. Apart from using extensions and add-ons, there are also some basic browser settings you can change to speed up your Internet. In fact, having too many add-ons will slow you down, so you should disable these plugins unless they are absolutely necessary. Examples of unnecessary plugins include most widgets, themes, and skins.
Your browser also stores a cache of temporary internet files so that they don’t have to be downloaded each time you visit the same site. Increasing your cache will allow pages to load more quickly.
Enabling cookies also speeds up page loading, but you might be nervous about allowing your personal information to be tracked. In this case you can ban all cookies and then add trusted sites to your “exceptions” list.
- Optimize your router. Sometimes simply restarting your router or modem can dramatically improve your Internet speeds. To do this just unplug the device, wait ten seconds, and then plug it back in. The position of your router is also a factor in speed. The best place for it is in a central location that allows close and unobstructed access to your computer.
Your router firmware might also be out of date, and you can look on the manufacturer’s website to check. Compare firmware versions and upgrade yours if necessary.
Finally, you might need to upgrade the router itself. Older routers and modems are underpowered and less capable of handling the latest advances in Internet technology. Also, if they have been in use for a long time they can be degraded by heat damage. You might have to fork out some cash for a new router, but the changes in Internet speed will be worth it.
- Change your DNS Server. Your Domain Name Server (DNS) is essentially a second party that links your computer to all of the resources and sites available on the Internet. When you enter a web address your computer sends a request to a DNS to find the IP address associated with the server which hosts that particular site. If the request fails then it goes through servers until it finds one that works. Because the website won’t load until this process is complete, finding the fastest DNS servers will greatly benefit Internet speed.
Your ISP will supply you with standard DNS servers, or you can use a popular one like OpenDNS. But to make sure you are using the best possible option, you should run a program like Namebench or DNS Benchmark. Both of these programs will run a few tests and then deliver a page of results showing the fastest DNS servers your computer can access. Then you just need to configure the DNS settings on your active network connections to access this new server.
It is common sense that a dial-up connection will run much slower than a high-speed Broadband connection. Also, plugging in with an Ethernet cable versus a wireless connection allows quick and direct access. You should review the different ways to connect to the Internet, and also the devices and hardware you are using, to determine the best method for you.
Once you have completed these various speed-increasing tips, you should check your connection to see if they have helped. Sites like SpeedTest.net will show you how fast your Internet is running and compare it to other people in your area. If the speed is still less than desirable, it might be time to consider switching to a new Internet provider.