No one likes it when their internet is slow. Pop-ups, videos and other websites that take forever to load can be annoying. Are you getting the internet speed you pay for?
If you’re paying for a faster Internet connection and your Internet is still ridiculously slow, this could be a classic case of Internet throttling. Here are five ways you can check if your internet is being throttled.
What is Internet Restriction?
Internet throttling occurs when your Internet Service Provider (ISP) intentionally limits your Internet speed. It has become common practice among Internet service providers to cut costs, even though they claim to provide “unlimited data”.
If you’ve noticed a clear correlation between low Internet speeds for specific activities like streaming, file downloading, and gaming—and you can’t explain it to bad weather or equipment failure—then your Internet is likely throttled.
Internet throttling has become so common in recent years that Netflix and YouTube have created their own speed test tools to help you find out if you’re getting the speed you paid for.
While your ISP can throttle your Internet for a variety of reasons, the two most common reasons are data caps and network congestion.
Internet plans are not all created equal: Some plans have data restrictions to prevent users from exceeding their monthly bandwidth.
When a network becomes too congested because too many people are trying to connect at the same time, your ISP limits your Internet connection.
If you’re well within your data cap and still experiencing slow internet speeds, here are some techniques for testing ISP throttling:
1. Test the Internet Speed on Your Device
Testing your internet speed is the best way to verify that you are getting the speed you pay for. You can use an Internet speed test tool like Google’s Measurement Lab to test your current network speed or check for blocking and Internet throttling.
Because Internet speeds fluctuate throughout the day, you can run several tests and compare them against your data plan to calculate an average.
If your computer isn’t typically slow and you see a significant difference in results from your promised speed, it’s time to take it up with your ISP.
2. Check for Connection Problems
Sometimes the internet speed slows down due to connectivity issue. You can run Battle for the Net’s Internet health test to check the various routes and determine if there are any interconnection issues.
If you notice slow performance, chances are you’ll notice a significant speed difference. Sometimes ISPs restrict your internet at certain points to force other ISPs and companies to pay fees.
3. Compare Internet Speed, Take Video Speed Test
If you experience slow internet when you try to load or watch streaming sites, you can use a video test tool to run specific speed tests.
Some ISPs restrict certain sites from time to time to discourage you from using them, to force companies to pay ISPs for faster loading times.
Netflix’s Fast.com and Google’s video quality reports are extremely useful for checking whether your ISP ban is based on content. If so, don’t worry, a VPN can ease your problems.
4. Use a VPN to Fight Content-Based Ban
If your internet restriction is on certain sites and applications, you can use a VPN to avoid it. A VPN (or Virtual Private Network) allows you to browse the web anonymously, so your ISP cannot track or restrict your online activity.
In addition, it gives you access to restricted websites that would otherwise be inaccessible. You can also check your internet connection speed using a VPN as this will give you a more accurate reading.
While a slight drop in internet speed is normal, a big difference tells you that your internet speed is being deliberately suppressed. Again, do a few tests throughout the day to record the average speed.
5. Scan Ports
A port is the connection point between your computer and another device or program. We often use the port for messaging apps and gaming.
If you are using open ports, you can run a port scanner test to determine whether specific ports are being intentionally restricted. ISPs are notorious for tracking port activity and restricting your data whenever they see fit.