Top 10 Ways to Deal With a Slow Internet Connection
Sometimes, slow internet is the universe's way of telling you to go play outside. Other times, it's the universe's cruel joke to destroy your productivity. Here are 10 ways to troubleshoot, fix, or just survive a slow internet connection.
10. Check Your Speeds (and Your Plan)
Sometimes, your internet is slow because you're only paying for slow internet
9. Troubleshoot Your Hardware
Before you go cursing your internet provider, give your modem and router a quick reset (that is, turn them off and on again) and see if that helps. Check the other computers in your house to see if their internet is slow, too-if the problem only happens on one computer, the problem is that computer, not your router or modem. Run through these troubleshooting steps
8. Fix Your Wi-Fi Signal
If you're using Wi-Fi, you might find that your router and internet are fine, but your wireless signal is weak, causing a slowdown. In that case, you may need to reposition, tweak, and boost your router with a few tricks. There are more than we could share in one paltry paragraph-in fact, we have a whole top 10 list just for fixing Wi-Fi, so check that out if you suspect wireless signal is the problem.
7. Turn Off Bandwidth-Hogging Plugins and Apps
If your hardware seems to be in working order, see if any other programs are hogging the connection. For example, if you're downloading files with BitTorrent
6. Try a New DNS Server
When you type an address into your browser-like lifehacker.com-your computers uses something called DNS to look up and translate that into a computer-friendly IP address. Sometimes, though, the servers your computer uses to look up that information can have issues, or go down entirely. Check out our guide to finding the fastest
5. Optimize Your Web for a Slow Connection
Troubleshooting slow internet can take awhile, and in the meantime you still need to browse. Or maybe you're at a coffee shop or on a plane, and there's nothing you can do about your slow speeds. In that case, it's time to optimize your web for a slower connection: use mobile or HTML versions of your favorite sites, disable images, and use features like Opera Turbo. In fact, we recommend setting up a secondary browser
3. Work Smart
If you need to get work done on your slow connection, you may have to prioritize tasks differently
3. Call Your Internet Provider
If you've gone through all the necessary troubleshooting steps and your internet is still slow, then it's time to call your internet provider and see if the problem is on their end. Remember: don't just assume they've done something wrong, and treat your customer service representative with respect. You're much more likely to get good results. Check out our guide to getting better customer service
2. Find a New Provider
If your ISP can't help you (maybe they don't provide the speeds you want, or maybe you're just sick of their horrible customer service), it's time to find a new ISP. That may mean you need to switch to a different type of provider, like cable, DSL, satellite, or fiber, so you should do a little research before you pick up the phone. Photo remixed from Kim Scarborough and Andreas Gradin.
1. Use Your Time Productively
If you're lucky, you can get your internet speeds back up to snuff quickly and stress-free. But, if not, you can at least try to put a good spin on it: As long as your work isn't too bandwidth-intensive, slow internet could actually make you more productive