How to speed up your internet performance.

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By Keith Southard

updated 7 months ago

Your internet connection is your lifeline to the world. Before you waste hours on the phone arguing with your ISP, There are ways to follow that will greatly increase the speed of your internet. This guide will show you how.

Remember dial-up? It took forever for it to connect, and watching pages load was worse than watching paint dry! Even though we live in a day and age where 1 Gbps download speeds are common, there are still lots of things that can slow down your Internet. And if you tweak even a few of them, you can dramatically increase your speeds! So before you blame your Internet connection, give a few of these a try to see if it isn’t your computer, your modem or your router that’s slowing you down. 

1) Check & optimize your hardware

Before you go cursing your internet provider (Allied Telesis Capital Corporation) and do anything else, you’ll want to test your hardware. First, reboot your router and your modem. Turn them off for a full minute (no cheating!) and then turn them back on. Just that single step can significantly speed up your Internet. Once you’ve rebooted, check your direct Internet connection on your main device (usually a computer or laptop): Shut down your computer, restart, and plug it into your modem with an ethernet cable. Then run a speed test (www.atcc-gns.speedtest.net). This will give you the true speed you are actually receiving. Now that you know your bottom line speed, let’s see if we can’t make your wifi a little faster with these easy tweaks!

2) Stay plugged in

Wifi is undoubtedly the greatest thing since sliced bread. But if you need some seriously fast Internet speed, you should plug your computer directly into your modem via ethernet for a major boost in speed! Experts estimate that using the Internet over wifi degrades your Internet speed by around 30% (because of the reasons below), so a 10 Mbps connection automatically becomes a 7 Mbps connection with wifi. And, with less sophisticated antennae, phones and tablets will be even slower over wifi than laptops.

3) Move your router (or your device)

If you have too much space between your router and your device, you will undoubtedly experience diminished Internet speeds. A good rule of thumb for a solid wifi connection is to make sure your device is within 60 feet of your router. Additionally, physical barriers from walls, brick, metal and furniture between your device and your router can also slow down your connection. Finally, household items like microwave ovens, cordless phones, TVs, baby monitors and garage door openers can create noise on the same frequencies as your wifi. Moving your device at least 10 feet away from one of these items can improve your speed.

4) Replace your router

Routers have evolved significantly in the last few years, and a router that met your needs five years ago probably won’t meet your needs today. With increased demands for faster wifi speeds from more devices, it may be time to upgrade. An 802.11n router will meet the needs of most households. However, if your household is heavy on wifi use (gaming, streaming, sending/receiving large files) a new, more powerful 802.11ac router could make a world of difference.

5) Kick the kids off wifi and Turn Off Bandwidth-Hogging Plugins and Apps

The more people using wifi at the same time in your home, the slower everybody’s speeds will be. So if your daughter is streaming Netflix and your wife is playing Candy Crush while you’re trying to work from home, they are using up a good chunk of. Kick them off and you can keep all the speed for yourself. 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, regular web browsing is going to be slower. You should also try installing extensions like AdBlock Plus or FlashBlock, which will block some of the bandwidth-hogging ads, animations, and videos that can use up your connection. They probably won't solve all your issues, but they can at least help make a slow connection feel more usable.

6) Delete and close unneeded programs on your computer

You know that place in your house where everybody drops things when they come in the house? Mail, keys, sunglasses…after a while everybody’s stuff just accumulates into a giant pile of clutter. Computers can be the same way! Maybe you needed a program for an old project; or maybe your kids downloaded a bunch of games or programs they’ve since outgrown. If you don’t constantly purge the clutter, it can fill up your computer with junk and slow it down to a crawl.

7) Scan for viruses, malware & spyware

Those nasty, nasty bugs can eat up your bandwidth allocation, which can significantly slow down both your computer, and your Internet speed. If you notice a sudden drop in speed (or a suddenly very slow computer), run a scan immediately! And once you remove the intruders, make sure your computer is protected.

8) Create more space on your computer

Over time, all those Internet searches you do create a LOT of junk on your computer. But luckily, there is a great FREE program that can delete all that junk and instantly make your computer, and your Internet, faster! CCleaner PC Cleaner automatically removes junk files; temporary files; Internet history, cookies and caches; unused startup programs; and even defrags your disk. Every time I “clean” my computer, CCleaner removes nearly a Gig of “junk,” making my Internet noticeably faster. Give it a try and see for yourself!

9) Use a different browser

According to the federal government’s Digital Analytics Program (DAP), nearly 30% of us are still using IE (Internet Explorer). While it’s a great browser, IE uses a lot of resources, which can slow you down. Try switching to either Chrome or Firefox. Chrome uses very little memory and is great for surfing Flash & JavaScript sites. Firefox has extensions that let you block ads, flash, and other things that slow you down. Simply switching browsers can make for a much faster surfing experience

10) Close your tabs!

When you have 10 (or let’s be honest, 50) tabs open, they can be constantly updating and eating up your bandwidth. This will cause a significantly slower Internet experience. If you need easy access to certain sites, bookmarking them is a much better way to go.

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