Having trouble with laggy streams or high ping in online games? If so, the issue likely lies in the quality of your internet connection.
The obvious solution to this problem is to switch your internet service providers. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to do that. About 50 million U.S. households only have access to one provider offering 25 Mbps speeds or greater.
Are you in one of those households? Do you prefer to learn how to speed up your internet for free rather than switching providers? If so, you’ll need to make the most of what you have. The good news: there are plenty of things you can try.
Not sure where to start? Here’s a short guide on how to speed up your internet.
Determine Your Speed
Before getting down to the nitty-gritty, make sure you have a good reason to try and speed up your internet.
The thing is, we all experience slow internet speeds on occasion. This could be due to anything from ISP issues to your browser getting bogged down. If you think your internet is slow all the time, do an online test to confirm your suspicions.
There are plenty of sites that can do this for you, but we recommend Speedtest. Simply press a button, and you’ll get your results in a few seconds. If your actual speeds are slower than your promised speeds, start trying out things on our list.
Restart the Router
Let’s start with the obvious one: Turning your router off and on. This is a common starting point for many tech problems, but it can still be effective.
The best way to do this is to unplug your router manually and plug it back in. You can also press the power button, which is often found on the back of the device. The third option is to log in to your router via a browser and turn it off that way.
Regardless of which method you choose, wait a bit before turning the router back on. This lets your unit do a hardware reset. The time it needs for this task varies by manufacturer, so leave the router off for a solid minute to be sure.
Delete Your Internet History
If you haven’t cleared your internet history in a while, do so now. Cookies, cache, and an extensive history can all contribute to slow speeds.
The exact process depends on your browser. In this guide, we’ll focus on Chrome. First, click the three dots in the top right and go to More Tools > Clear Browsing Data. Choose the “All Time” time range, check all three boxes, and select “Clear data.”
You also have the Advanced option, which clears your passwords, auto-fill data, and more. This doesn’t do much to improve your speeds, so don’t bother with it. Plus, clearing your passwords will force you to remember them or save them elsewhere.
Flush DNS Records
To speed up website visits, your computer records information about every IP address you visit. These are what we call DNS records.
The issue with DNS records is that they can become a hurdle rather than an improvement. For example, if a website switches servers, redirecting you there will take longer. To get faster speeds, it’s better to flush your DNS records altogether.
You can do this by clicking on the Start menu and searching for “command prompt.” Right-click on it and choose “Run as administrator.” In the prompt, type “ipconfig /flushdns” and press enter. After a second or so, you should get the success message.
Switch to 5 GHz WiFi
When it comes to speeding up your internet, WiFi is often the main obstacle. If your router uses the 2.4 GHz frequency, consider switching to 5 GHz.
Most WiFi traffic gets delivered via the 2.4 GHz band, which can lead to traffic jams. Router companies are aware of this, so modern routers support the 5 GHz frequency as well. It doesn’t spread as far, but it’s better at avoiding interference.
Do you have a router with a “dual-band” connection? If so, you have access to the 5 GHz frequency. This second network should have a name like “routername_5.” To learn more, check out this article on how to boost WiFi signal.
Use an Ad Blocker
We all know ads are annoying, but do you know that they can also slow your browser down? This is particularly true if your connection is slow to start with.
Most online ads work by fetching data from several other servers. As a result, every ad-infested page will take a little longer to load. If you don’t have to load ads for work-related reasons, you should install an ad blocker.
These days, all popular browsers come with their versions of ad blockers. That said, specialized solutions tend to be more effective. The best tools help improve your browsing speeds as they block ads before they even load.
Install Antivirus Software
No, antivirus software doesn’t help with speeding up your internet. What it can do, though, is get rid of malware that hijacks your bandwidth.
If you don’t use an antivirus, you’re putting sensitive information at risk. This can include your passwords and bank account information. Some malware can also steal your CPU resources, slowing down your internet in the process.
The best antivirus software will set you back a decent amount, but there are many free versions worth your time. To find the best tool for your needs, look into factors such as support, ease of use, and quality of protection.
More on How to Speed up Your Internet for Free
As you can see, internet speed problems aren’t that tough to diagnose. By following this guide, you should solve the issue much faster.
Keep in mind that getting the optimal settings may take some time. For best results, check your internet speeds every time you make a change. Any of the above tips can be the solution, but it could also be a combination of things.
Want to know more about how to speed up your internet for free? Interested in making your browser experience as effortless as possible? Keep reading our tech-related articles!