How to Boost Slow Internet: 12 Simple Fixes
Do you know how to boost slow internet? It’s an understanding we should all keep in our back pocket in case our internet slows to a crawl. With the rise in working from home, gaming, and virtual learning, we can’t afford to experience lags and internet outages. Having a good understanding of common causes and solutions will help you avoid slowdowns and keep speeds where they should be.
In the list below, we’ll cover common reasons for slow internet, plus solutions to fix them. Solutions range from incredibly easy to more complex fixes. If nothing on this list works, reach out to your ISP’s customer support and ask them to help troubleshoot.
How to Boost Slow Internet?
1. Run a Speed Test
Before you try to boost slow internet, do a speed test and compare it to your current internet plan. That way, you will know immediately whether it’s your internet speed that needs fixing or you’ve outgrown your plan. If you find your speed test is showing the speeds your plan promises, call your internet service provider and see what options you have to upgrade to meet your demands. If the speeds are not at your agreed-upon services, follow the steps below or call your ISP to troubleshoot the cause.
2. Reboot Your Hardware
It sounds simple, but have you tried turning your hardware off and on? Rebooting your devices is the first step you should take when you want to boost internet speed. This includes laptops, personal computers, smartphones, modems, and routers. Turn them off, wait a minute, and turn them back on. This refresher might be all you need to help your internet speed recover.
Tip: If your router has a built-in timer, you can set times to automatically turn your WiFi off and reboot.
3. Keep Your Network Secure
A strong password is a must to protect personal data online, if you’re still using weak passwords or no passwords at all, it’s time to change that! Weak passwords are a goldmine for hackers or even broadband leeches – outsiders who connect to your internet and eat up your bandwidth without your knowledge. Not only is this dangerous for your security, but it also slows down your internet, the more people connected, the slower your internet speed will be.
So, if you suspect someone else might be connected to your WiFi aside from your household, change your WiFi password and double-check connected devices on your router’s configuration menu or app.
4. Clear Your Browser History & Cache
Think of your browser like a closet. It can’t function properly if it’s too cluttered. If you don’t regularly delete your browser history and cache, all the data and files can slow down your internet.
To delete your cache and browser history, head over to your browser’s settings or click Ctrl + ↑ Shift + Del. Check the boxes next to the things you want to delete (Browsing history and Cached images and files) and press ‘Clear Data.’ You can also select the time range.
You can also automate this tedious task by installing a plugin for clearing cache.
5. Change the Frequency on Your Router
WiFi routers automatically select their frequency band. The most common frequencies are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. To boost slow internet, consider changing the frequency from one to another. However, before you do, check whether or not your router supports a 5 GHz frequency. Most new routers do, but there are still many households that rely solely on 2.4 GHz.
Additionally, these frequencies exist on various Wi-Fi broadcast channels. If you live in an urban area with many other WiFi users, chances are your WiFi channel is experiencing congestion and interference. You can manually choose a broadcast channel that doesn’t overlap with others. If you’re on 2.4 GHz frequency, choose channel 1, 6, or 11. 5 GHz uses more channels, meaning interference is less likely to occur.
Should you connect to 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi frequency?
The two Wi-Fi frequencies are not the same. Here’s how they compare:
- 2.4 GHz offers a better range for your devices (but a lower speed)
- 5 GHz offers a higher speed and maximizes network performance (but with smaller coverage)
- since many Bluetooth devices also operate on 2.4 GHz, they can interfere with your network performance
There are also dual-band routers that use both the 2.4 and 5 GHz frequencies simultaneously. They cost more but take the best of both worlds: strong signal and great range. They are designed for gamers and homes with connected devices.
6. Reduce the Distance Between the Router and the Device
A quick way to boost slow internet is to reduce the distance between your connected devices and router. When a signal travels through walls, near kitchen appliances, or has material obstructions, it loses its range.
To avoid disruptions, position your router in a central location within your home. Don’t hide it in a corner or tuck it away close to the external walls. If you’re a gamer or work from home, keep your router as close to your setup as possible.
7. Increase the Reach of Your WiFi Signal
Maybe you do not need to boost slow internet, but rather have to increase the reach of your WiFi signal. You can use WiFi heatmap software to see where the signal is particularly weak and go from there. There are several ways to extend the reach of your Wi-Fi signal:
- point the router antennas upwards: the signal spreads perpendicularly to the antenna. If it’s pointing sideways, you’re directing your signal towards the ceiling and the floor, not across the room.
- ensure there are as few objects as possible blocking the signal: there should be as few objects placed between your router and device. The router should not be hidden behind a stack of books or kitchen appliances as they block your Wi-Fi signal.
- get a WiFi extender: when your router cannot cover the entire house, you can boost the Wi-Fi signal with an extender. Keep in mind that this will create two networks you can connect to, and you have to switch between them manually.
- get a WiFi mesh network system: a system with one main router and various supporting mesh routers that are placed throughout your home, eliminating dead zones. Rather than connecting all to one router, you can connect your devices to any of the satellite routers. It’s more seamless and expensive than a Wi-Fi extender.
8. Update Your Router or Modem
Our advice on how to boost slow internet won’t work unless your modem or router is working. Your internet speed can only be as fast as the weakest link in your setup. That means that if you have an outdated modem or router, the best course of action is to buy a new one.
Ask your ISP if they can provide you with a newer router or modem – especially if yours is more than four years old. Look for routers with the label 802.11ac or 802.11ax.
9. Ensure All Your Drivers are Updated
Maybe it’s not your Wi-Fi signal that needs boosting, and you need to update the network drivers on your computer. Updated drivers guarantee the best network performance. They usually update on their own, but every now and then, you might need to update some of them manually.
To update your network drivers on Windows:
- go to Device Manager
- select “Network adapters” in the dropdown menu
- right-click on a driver and select “Update Driver Software”
- a new window appears; select “Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software”
- restart your computer to finish the installation
10. Use Antivirus & Adblockers
Computer viruses can erase your hard drive, corrupt your files, steal your online personal information, and slow down the performance of your computer. If you get a computer virus, you have bigger fish to fry than boosting your slow internet. However, slow internet can be an indicator that something is off. Regularly run your antivirus software. Most modern antivirus programs update and run automatically.
On a similar note, the internet is filled with ads: pop-ups, autoplay videos, photos, GIFs, and more. All this activity uses up your internet bandwidth and leaves less network capacity for the things you actually care about. To avoid this, install the adblocker plugin. It comes with a lot of great extra benefits, such as preventing servers from tracking you and improving your upload speed.
11. Plug in the Ethernet Cable
If you need a quick fix to boost your slow internet, consider momentarily giving up on wireless internet and routers. Instead, plug in the ethernet cable. Cabled internet connections are typically faster and much more secure. Simply put, the ethernet cable feeds the signal straight into your computer and does not need to travel air distance to reach its destination.
Of course, you cannot use this particular solution if you want to speed up the internet on your mobile phone or tablet. However, you can plug it into your laptop, computer, or game console. Alternatively, you can also use an ethernet adapter.
12. Reach Out to Your Internet Service Provider
If there’s anyone who can help you figure out how to boost slow internet, then it’s your internet service provider. Lean onto their customer support. If you’ve tried any of the things on this list by yourself, let them know.
Consider changing your internet plan or provider. Perhaps it no longer meets your internet needs. As the world increasingly adopted working from home along with attending events online, our bandwidth and internet speed increased. Fiber internet is the fastest and often comes with no data caps.
If you’ve tested your internet speed and it doesn’t match what your ISP has promised at all, you might be experiencing ISP throttling. ISPs can throttle (slow down) your internet speed on specific websites if they’re taking up a lot of bandwidth. However, if you’ve paid for a certain bandwidth and you’ve not reached your data cap yet, your ISP has no business intentionally slowing down your internet.
Conclusion: How to Boost Slow Internet
If you want to boost slow internet, there are many factors you should consider. The problem can lie in your computer, your router, or your internet bandwidth – or all of them. We’ve outlined 11 solutions for slow internet. Try them out. Remember that you might have to do more than one thing on this list to get the best results. For example, you can change the Wi-Fi frequency and get a Wi-Fi extension.
Your internet service provider should help you troubleshoot internet speed and bandwidth issues. At Race, we provide Gigabit fiber optic internet with no data caps. If you’d like to enjoy high-speed internet and excellent customer support, reach out to our specialists at 877-722-3833 or send us an inquiry.