Why is my Internet Connection Slow?

“People download large files like videos, programs in a matter of minutes. Why is my internet connection so slow?”

A slow internet connection is one of the most irritating global ailments that infect your system, (the other being your slow computer speed of course.) If you subscribe to a high-speed connection but feel like you’re on dial-up (remember those days?), a snail-like browsing speed can make your entire system look outdated and a few more grey hairs will pop up on your head.

Before we get into the specific reasons for this slow speed issue just check a few basic things:

Memory: First, do you have a low memory problem? RAM of 512 MB is not likely to give you a comfortable web experience as it won’t be able to handle multiple browsing windows/tabs. Because of insufficient memory, your browsing speed will slow to a crawl.

What browser you use: Secondly, use a speedy browser; in most cases Internet Explorer runs slower than other browsers like Google Chrome and Firefox.

Following are some other reasons that could cause a slow connection:

Too many Browser add-ons

Whether you are using Internet Explorer or Google Chrome or anyother browser, you should be careful when you install add-ons. Too many of these bars will make your surfing cumbersome and will also give a very cluttered look. I personally don’t feel the need to use any add-on. You can disable add-ons in IE by clicking on Tools and then selecting Manage Add-ons from the menu.

Add-ons are called extensions in Chrome. Go to the wrench menu (seen on left most side of the Chrome window) and choose Settings>Extensions. Disable the unnecessary extensions.

Toolbars are most notorious for slowing down your system, because most of them send data to the organization controlling the toolbar. You could actually classify a lot of these as malware!

Internet Explorer Disable Add-ons

Screenshot of IE: Disabling add-on from Manage Add-Ons in Tools menu

2. Viruses and Spyware

Your computer might be infected with web-borne viruses and spyware that self-installed on your system when you downloaded a software from a dubious provider/website. These programs will run in the background and collect all kinds of information about your surfing habits, personal data and consequently lower your connection’s speed. For circumventing this issue, you should always have an antivirus with anti-spyware. See the related post on choosing an antivirus program.

3. Outdated drivers and hardware

Do not expect to get a super speedy internet connection when you are using a outdated hardware and software. Technology is progressing everyday and it is not possible to have a good internet speed when you are using primitive modems. Update your drivers by downloading from the relevant website.

If hardware is an issue, it is best to call your Internet Service Provider and see if they could have a technician come and check the connections. This happened to me last year when I switched providers – the contractor had installed the line using the wrong type of cable!

4. Issues with Internet Service Provider(ISP)

Most ISPs offer multiple packages from where you can choose the one that suits you the best. If you have subscribed to a package with slower speed, you should get an upgrade. There is also another frequent issue with the ISP i.e ISP congestion. When there is a lot of traffic on your service provider from other users, your browsing speed is likely to fall. You must have observed a higher performance in mornings and slower browsing experience in nights – this problem is directly caused by the level of traffic on your ISP.

To confirm the quality of speed provided by your ISP, you can do a ISP Packet Loss and Delay Test on you IP address from this link http://www.hostmycalls.com/tools/ or you could ping your IP address in command prompt.  Go to your Start button, type in “cmd” in the search box, and click the program “cmd.exe”.

Type in “ipconfig”, which will return all the specifications of your connection. Now you can give the command “ping <IP address>” to test how the server is responding and if there is any loss of data packets. You can also ping a website like “mail.google.com” and see how the server responds.

pinging your IP address

Most people won’t understand these statements. Call your ISP and let them know the results of your ping. They can then let you know what’s wrong and how to fix it.



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