06 Aug Improving Your Internet Connectivity (Part 1)
Improving Internet Connectivity
Sometimes, slow internet is the universe’s way of telling you to go play outside. Other times, it’s the universe’s cruel joke to destroy your productivity. Here are ways to troubleshoot, fix, or just survive a slow internet connection.
Check Your Speeds (and Your Plan)
Sometimes, your internet is slow because you’re only paying for slow internet. Log onto your provider’s web site (or give them a call) and find out what plan you have. Then, head on over to Speedtest.net and run a speed test. If the numbers match up to what you’re paying for, then your network is working fine and you’re just paying for slow internet—and the best way to speed it up will be to upgrade. (Though some of the below tricks will help you eke out a bit more speed). If the numbers don’t match, read on for a few ways to fix that problem.
Internet Connectivity – Troubleshoot Your Hardware
Before you go cursing your internet provider, give your modem and router a quick reset (that is, turn them off and on again) and see if that helps. Check the other computers in your house to see if their internet is slow, too—if the problem only happens on one computer, the problem is that computer, not your router or modem. Run through these troubleshooting steps to see if it’s a hardware problem. Then, once you fix your router or modem (or replace it), you’ll be browsing speedily once again. Check out our complete guide to knowing your network for more router tips, too.
Fix Your Wi-Fi Signal
If you’re using WiFi, you might find that your router and internet are fine, but your wireless signal is weak, causing a slowdown. In that case, you may need to reposition, tweak, and boost your router with a few tricks.
Turn Off Bandwidth-Hogging Plugins and Apps
Internet Connectivity – If your hardware seems to be in working order, see if any other programs are hogging the connection. For example, if you’re downloading files regular web browsing is going to be slower. You should also try installing extensions like AdBlock Plus or FlashBlock, which will block some of the bandwidth-hogging ads, animations, and videos that can use up your connection.
File-syncing services like Google Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive might be moving data in the background, which can eat up your bandwidth and slow down your internet connection. Quit or pause those applications if you find them moving files.
Computers often download necessary updates in the background, while you’re doing something less web-intensive. You can configure your PC to notify you before downloading any updates, and schedule installation when you’re not using your computer, either in the middle of the night or when you’re off at work. These fixes probably won’t solve all your issues, but they can at least help make a slow connection feel more usable.
Try a New DNS Server | Internet Connectivity
When you type an address into your browser—like lifehacker.com—your computers uses something called DNS to look up and translate that into a computer-friendly IP address. Sometimes, though, the servers your computer uses to look up that information can have issues, or go down entirely. Check out our guide to finding the fastest (and most secure) DNS servers for more information. If your default DNS servers aren’t having problems, then you probably won’t find too much of an improvement with an alternative server—but it might speed up your browsing by a few milliseconds, at least.