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With net neutrality out of the way, your internet service provider (ISP) throttles internet speeds to reduce the burden on the bandwidth.

By- Tia Atal

Have you ever felt that your internet connection speed drastically slows down when you are streaming or downloading torrents?


If you are using Netflix and suddenly you experience extensive buffering or drop in video quality, you blame Netflix for bad video streaming. Unfortunately, Netflix is not to blame as your ISP might be the cause.

With net neutrality out of the way, your internet service provider (ISP) throttles internet speeds to reduce the burden on the bandwidth. The Internet has a limit of itself, the more the traffic, the slower your speed will be.

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Internet throttling is when your ISP intentionally reduces the speed of your connection. If you are wondering how to know if ISP is throttling your internet, here are a few telltale signs:

  • Videos are taking too long to load and buffer on apps like Netflix, YouTube, and other social media apps.
  • Slow upload and download speeds when using sites like BitTorrent.
  • Websites are taking too long to load.

Why do ISPs throttle the internet?

One reason why ISPs throttle the internet is to avoid network congestion. ISPs throttle the internet during designated times of the day to decrease congestion.

Sometimes, ISPs throttle the speed only for a certain website. These websites are usually associated with streaming, gaming, and torrenting sites.

So, your ISP may throttle speeds if heavy data files are being downloaded and uploaded from a P2P file-sharing site.

Here are some common reasons why ISPs throttle internet speeds:

1. Data Caps

Most internet service providers limit the amount of data users can access every month. As you get near to your monthly data cap, you might start experiencing bandwidth throttling, resulting in slow speeds. If you think your ISP has throttled your bandwidth, you can check your service agreement to see your data cap/ limit.

Also Read: VPN Slows Down Internet

2. Avoid network congestion

Another common reason behind ISP throttling is network congestion. Most ISPs throttle bandwidth during specific times of the day to avoid network congestion and regulate internet traffic.

If you are a heavy data user and your online activities include downloading large files or torrents, it means you are taking too much bandwidth. In such cases, your ISP might throttle your bandwidth so every user can access the internet.

3. Content-based throttling

Most of the time, your ISP might throttle specific applications or websites like Netflix, to discourage you from using such sites. Instead, it pushes the users to use websites that are affiliated with the ISP.

For example, if you compare streaming speeds on Netflix and other streaming services, you might see that speeds are better when you are using Netflix as compared to other sites. This is called content-based throttling.

Fortunately, you can bypass this throttling by using a VPN. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, preventing your ISP from seeing the sites you visit online. This way you can bypass ISP throttling and get fast speeds, irrespective of the sites you visit.

Internet Use a VPN: To avoid content-based throttling, you can use a VPN to speed up your internet.Unsplash

How to test for ISP throttling?

It is not easy to tell if you are getting slower speeds due to ISP throttling or other factors. While there is no specific test for confirming ISP throttling, you can use a few techniques to see if your bandwidth is throttled by your ISP or not.

1. Check internet speed

One way is to check your internet speed a few times a day to check if your bandwidth is throttled or not. There are plenty of tools out there like Google's Measurement Lab that can help you calculate your download and upload speed along with other metrics.

2. Check internet speeds using a VPN and compare results

You can also check internet speeds and compare results using a VPN. First, check speeds without the VPN. Next, connect to a VPN server, and check speeds again. A slight drop in speed after the VPN is normal, but if you get a big difference, chances are your ISP might be throttling your internet speeds.

How to stop ISP throttling?

If you have run the tests and are sure that your ISP is throttling your speeds, here are a few tips to help bypass it and speed up your internet:

  • Monitor your data usage: Make sure to monitor your monthly data usage to avoid throttling. If your ISP has set a minimum amount of data that you can access per month, make sure to stay within the limits.
  • Use a VPN: To avoid content-based throttling, you can use a VPN to speed up your internet. A VPN masks your IP address and encrypts your online traffic so your ISP cannot see the sites you visit. With a VPN, you can also access geo-restricted websites from anywhere in the world.
  • Switch your internet provider: If you are frustrated with your ISP throttling, consider switching your ISP that offers better speeds, and data caps.

Final Words

Internet throttling is legal in most countries especially if we talk about Net Neutrality.

It has its benefits like preventing network congestion, but content-based throttling is very frustrating when you are trying to stream or download a large file.

But there are ways to bypass ISP throttling like using a VPN to encrypt your online traffic.

Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)


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