Why Is My Internet So Slow?
Find out why your home internet and Wi-Fi are so slow (and how you can fix them in a jiff).
Why is my internet so slow right now?
If you feel like your internet is running slower than usual, it might be because you’re using it for more streaming and video calls than you used to. But you don’t have to get stuck in the slow lane.
We’ll help you figure out how to choose the internet plan you need—or how to get the most out of the internet you’ve got right now, as well as answer the age-old question: Why is my internet so slow? For the most part, these problems are surprisingly solvable—or not as big a deal as you might think. Let’s get to fixin’.
What is a good internet speed?
We recommend you shoot for between 25 Mbps and 50 Mbps if it’s only you using your internet. If you live with friends or family, 100 Mbps will be a better fit.
Cheaper internet plans might look appealing on the monthly budget, but the daily headaches of slow internet probably won’t be worth the cash you’re saving.
For example, with a 15 Mbps internet plan, Zoom calls can come out garbled. A cheap plan isn’t worth the savings in the long run if you can’t work from home efficiently.
If you want to learn more about which internet speed is best for you, we’ve got a whole article on it. But if you’re already paying for a good plan and you still have slow internet, it’s time to look at another problem child—your Wi-Fi connection.
Why is my Wi-Fi so slow?
If you pay for high-speed internet, but your Wi-Fi is slow, you might have a bad router. You could consider upgrading to a faster router, but even the best at-home Wi-Fi signals will never be as strong as a physical internet connection.
A Wi-Fi router is a device that transmits your internet signal—which enters through cables—wirelessly throughout your house. But your Wi-Fi signal gets worse as it runs into obstacles like furniture, walls, or even your neighbors’ Wi-Fi signals.
The solution to this is simple— ditch the Wi-Fi. You don’t need to wire down every device in the whole house, but an Ethernet cord will do a lot for conference calls, which require a stable connection.
So if you’re having similar trouble with unstable Wi-Fi, connect an Ethernet cable from your router to your computer.
You can use an Ethernet cable to physically connect your internet to anything with an Ethernet port—which includes personal computers, laptops, gaming consoles, and smart TVs.
If you don’t have one lying around your junk drawer, pick one up on Amazon for the cost of a nice sandwich. (That’s a paid Amazon link—CableTV.com is an Amazon Associate, and we may make some money from this link.)
Mmm. Now I need a sandwich.
Once you’ve connected your Ethernet cord, try running a speed test like this one from HighSpeedInternet.com.
For the most accurate test, disconnect all other devices from the internet to make sure the testing computer has full access to your bandwidth.
The results from a properly performed internet speed test should reflect the speeds you pay for. If your internet speed isn’t in the ballpark of what your internet service provider (ISP) promises, it’s time to call and find out why.
Other Wi-Fi troubleshooting
Occasionally, you may have trouble connecting to Wi-Fi at all. We’ve got a few suggestions to help you reconnect—just make sure you’re close to the router first.
Why can I not connect to Wi-Fi?
If one or more of your devices can’t connect to the internet, make sure you’ve set them to use a Wi-Fi connection. On many wireless devices, you can find this by opening Settings and then clicking on Wi-Fi.
You might also be trying to connect to the wrong Wi-Fi network. Make sure you’ve selected the correct wireless network for your house, office, or local café—and that you’ve entered the right password.
But if the settings are already correct, try restarting the device. Should you still have problems after that, try restarting your Wi-Fi router.
How do I restart my Wi-Fi router?
To restart your router, unplug it and give your router about 30 seconds to cool off before plugging it back in. If you have a separate modem, unplug this as well.
Once the modem and router have cooled off, plug them back in. They will take a few moments to boot up and reconnect to the internet and your devices.
If you need to restart your Wi-Fi router or modem frequently, it may be time for new ones. Unfortunately, routers and modems aren’t immortal, and they need replacing from time to time as they break down or technology changes.
Why does my internet get slower when more people are using it?
When more people use your internet connection, they’re sharing your bandwidth, which means you all get only a portion of your internet speeds. The more devices using your internet, the thinner your bandwidth spreads.
If you have an important business call on Zoom, you might want to decree a screen blackout period for the rest of the house. That way, you won’t lose your connection because of someone scrolling through Instagram.
Ideally, though, your download speeds should be fast enough that this doesn’t happen. If sharing internet starts becoming a regular problem, it’s time to get a faster internet plan.
If your provider doesn’t offer faster internet speeds, or the speed tests you run consistently show it underperforming, check out your other options. Enter your zip code below, and we’ll show you other providers in your area.
How can I boost my internet speed?
To review, here are a few tips to try if your internet connection is too slow:
- Perform an internet speed test to determine if you’re getting the speeds you pay for.
- Choose an internet plan with download speeds that fit your needs.
- Upgrade to a faster router.
- Connect your device to the router with an Ethernet cable.
- Lessen the number of devices using the internet.
- Switch to a more reliable internet service provider.
Switching from Wi-Fi to using an Ethernet cable can show immediate improvement in connection.