How To Speed Up Your Internet
Cut down your loading times with our Wi-Fi and internet tips.
Whether you’re trying to open up Facebook or stream yesterday’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy, slow download and upload speeds can feel like your computer is in a pit of quicksand. But with our tips, you’ll be able to kick constant loading screens to the curb and get a faster internet connection.
1. Restart your computer
Most of the time, slow internet speeds are caused by network issues or computer issues that look like slow loading times.
By restarting your computer, smartphone, or tablet, you’ll refresh the device’s internal memory. A restart also flushes out any performance issues that might have been caused by leaving the device on for too long.
To avoid device issues and save power (your parents were right; power bills aren’t cheap), we’d recommend turning your device off when you’re not using it or restarting it once every few days.
2. Clear your internet browser’s cache
Your internet browser’s cache is like a file cabinet. Every time you visit a website, your cache stores items, like images, to shorten loading times if you go back to the site. But if the cache gets too large, it’ll take longer for your browser to find files and result in longer loading times.
We’d suggest clearing out your cache once every few weeks to keep your browser in peak condition. Check out the guides below to learn how to clear out your browser’s cache.
3. Install an ad blocker
Website banner ads, auto-playing videos, and pop-up prompts aren’t just eyesores—they also increase website loading times. Ad-blocking plug-ins like AdBlock automatically prevent intrusive ads from loading.
4. Use an Ethernet cable
Wi-Fi networks are convenient if you’re frequently moving around the house, but if your computer is close to your wireless router, or you don’t mind having cabling lying around, Ethernet cables offer the fastest internet connection.
Ethernet cables physically connect devices to the internet, so they aren’t affected by wireless signal problems. But relying on Ethernet cables can be a harder sell if your home isn’t wired for Ethernet or you’re trying to connect devices that aren’t near your router.
5. Move your wireless router around
If you’re (understandably!) not sold on solving your internet connection problems by having a 50-foot Ethernet cable connected to your laptop all the time, your next step is router troubleshooting.
Think about Wi-Fi routers like a music speaker—its audio quality is affected by where you place the speaker. If you place the speaker underneath a table or in a different room, you’ll have a poor listening experience. Likewise, if your router is down in your basement’s backroom, your home will have an uneven Wi-Fi signal, and you’ll experience slower download speeds.
Try moving your router near the living room or a central area in your home. Your goal is to get the router towards the middle of your home to ensure that everyone gets a consistent Wi-Fi signal.
6. Restart your router
Like your computer or tablet, routers can use occasional restarts to flush out performance issues that cause internet problems.
Manually unplug and replug your router every few weeks or install an outlet timer to take care of router restarts. On newer wireless routers, you might be able to automatically schedule restarts using the router’s administrative tools.
7. Optimize your router
Configuring router settings can be pretty technically advanced, but if you’re comfortable adjusting DNS server settings (or poring over the router manual), you can optimize your Wi-Fi network to get faster internet speeds.
Exact router features vary by manufacturer, but use these starting points to maximize your internet performance:
Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) and Quality of Service (QoS)
These settings help your router evenly direct network traffic. When they’re properly set, both features ensure that one person downloading a movie won’t tank the internet for everyone else.
2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz wireless bands
When you connect something to your Wi-Fi network, newer router models will automatically send it to a 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz wireless band. Correctly pairing hardware to the right wireless band ensures that you’ll get the best internet speeds based on your device and location.
8. Extend your Wi-Fi router’s range
If you have a big house or a centrally placed router and you’re still dealing with Wi-Fi dead zones, your router will need a little assistance for full household coverage.
Extenders like powerline adapters and mesh Wi-Fi systems will increase your internet network’s range. You won’t get faster internet speeds in areas that already had strong coverage, but you’ll get consistent internet speeds throughout the entire house.
9. Upgrade your internet plan
Between smart TVs, tablets, and smartphones, connected devices can quickly eat up your network’s available bandwidth and slow down your internet. If you’re in a household with a lot of internet users and frequently running into speed issues even after trying our tips, consider changing your internet plan.
Check out our picks for the fastest internet service providers or enter your zip code below to see ISPs in your area.
How to speed up your internet FAQ
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