Why Is My Internet So Slow?
Find out why your internet is dragging its feet (and how you can fix it).
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 new internet plan you need—or how to get the most out of the internet you’ve got right now.
Rachel’s story corner: solving Dad’s slow internet problems
Hey CableTV.com fam, it’s Rachel, your favorite writer. I want to tell you the story about the time my sweet pop asked me why his internet was so dang slow.
See, my mom and dad recently retired to a new development in a beautiful bit of wilderness. Since my dad isn’t one to sit still, he became a consultant in his old industry. But his internet couldn’t support the video calls that remote meetings require.
If I could, I’d bet money your problems are similar. Let me put them another way:
- Your internet plan is affordable, but not fast enough for how you use the internet.
- Your Wi-Fi has a lot of interference.
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 you’re the only one 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 my parents’ 15 Mbps internet plan, their Zoom calls came out garbled. Their cheap plan wasn’t worth their savings in the long run, because it couldn’t help my dad run his business from home.
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.
Is your internet plan too slow?
Enter your zip code to see faster internet plans in your area.
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.
Wi-Fi routers are the devices that transmit your internet signal—which enters your home 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 was simple—I told my dad to ditch the Wi-Fi. He didn’t need to wire down every device in the whole house, but an Ethernet cord would 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.
This is what an Ethernet port and cable connector look like.
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 Accociate, 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 speed test should reflect the speeds you pay for. If your 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 home, 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 your it and give it 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 some tips to try if your internet connection is too slow:
- Perform a 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.
As soon as my dad switched from Wi-Fi to using an Ethernet cable during his video calls, he saw an immediate improvement in his connection. If you find that Ethernet cables or another suggestion in this article helped, let me know in the comments below.