An ISP can throttle your internet when your usage exceeds the daily or monthly data cap limits. They can also reduce connection speed for certain restricted activities that involve high-bandwidth usage, like Torrenting. Else, it can be due to network congestion during peak hours or paid prioritization.
Fortunately, there are ways to check and stop ISP throttling. The most common ones are to use an encrypted VPN server or upgrade your current internet plan. In this guide, I have mentioned all the effective ways to check and stop internet throttling by your ISP. Let’s check them out.
How to stop ISP throttling?
Your ISP can track your data usage and throttle the internet when they feel you are consuming more data than your current bandwidth. To avoid bandwidth throttling by your ISP, you can either manage your data usage or mask it using the following ways:
1. Use a Reliable VPN or Proxy server
Using a reliable VPN server is best to mask your online activities from your ISP and third parties. It encrypts your network traffic by hiding your IP address that your ISP uses otherwise to track online activities and websites you have visited.
While it won’t reduce your data usage, it helps prevent content-based throttling by ISP for specific websites/services. It also helps in bypassing internet throttling in censored countries or regions.
Another benefit of using a VPN is that it protects your IP address and other details from getting accessed by third parties or other users to prevent phishing and cyber-attacks. You can use some reliable VPNs for your online activities: NordVPN, SurfShank, ExpressVPN, etc.
2. Upgrade Your Current Plan
To bypass data caps, bandwidth limits and paid prioritization, it is better to upgrade to an unlimited or more flexible data plan. It is helpful to avoid bandwidth throttling but not content-based throttling for specific sites. So, go for it only when you feel your data usage exceeds normal data caps. It is also a preferred method to stop ISP throttling without using a VPN.
3. Manage Data Usage
If you want to avoid paying more for a higher bandwidth plan but bypass bandwidth throttling, the cost-effective way is to manage your data usage.
- Ensure that high-bandwidth usage apps are not running in the background to consume data on all your connected devices.
- Set the daily data usage limit for all apps.
- Remove unwanted devices from the network by checking the list of connected devices.
- Update your network credentials to restrict unauthorized access.
4. Switch to Another ISP
If you still face frequent low-speed issues after trying the abovementioned methods, the problem might be with your Internet provider. Switch to another ISP that offers better connection speed and unrestricted data plans on simple terms.
How to check if your internet is being throttled?
If your connection speed lags or drops suddenly for no apparent reason, there are chances that your internet is being throttled. Once you’ve checked what your ISP is, you can investigate and confirm ISP throttling by following methods:
1. Take a Speed Test
- Go to Speedtest.net to take a speed test using an ethernet cable.
- Compare the current speed with the plan’s advertised speed. If there is a significant gap between both, there are chances that your internet is throttling. To confirm it, head over to the second method.
2. Compare Speed using a VPN
- After taking a speed test, check the connection speed by turning ON the VPN. The speed declines a bit when using a VPN, as it uses various encryption settings to mask your IP address.
- If the connection speed is faster with VPN, your ISP is throttling the internet.
3. Use Video Quality Report by Google
Alternatively, use Google’s Video Quality Report to check ISP throttling. It assesses your ISP’s signal performance through a series of speed tests through Youtube servers against other ISPs in your region. Based on how well your ISP performs, it gives a rating. This is what each rating means:
- HD Verified: Allow videos to run on 720p or higher with no/minimal buffering.
- Standard Definition: Allow videos to watch on 360p but can experience buffering at 720p.
- Lower Definition: Videos play at poor quality with frequent buffering at 360p.
The tool also shows your ISP performance in the last 24 hours in your area. Also, it reflects how the ISP performed during network congestion in peak hours.
Yes, you can bypass the data cap limits imposed by your ISP only by upgrading your current data plan to the higher or unlimited plan.
The ISP observes your browsing activity to track data usage or data caps. If your data usage exceeds the current plan bandwidth, the ISP throttles the internet to slow down the connection speed.
The VPN rarely throttles the internet, but it does affect your connection speed. This is because the encryption setting and proxy servers use significant data bandwidth to slow down your connection speed a bit.
You can switch to a 4G or 5G connection type to stop mobile data throttling. Also, you can restrict high-bandwidth apps from running in the background to prevent data consumption. Also, reset your network settings for better speed.
The primary reasons for ISP throttling are network congestion on the server during peak hours, device prioritization or restricting excess data usage beyond data caps.
To prevent ISP throttling, you first need to identify its probable cause. If network congestion is the issue, the throttling will be temporary and resolved by the ISP soon. If data caps are causing bandwidth throttling, bypass it by upgrading your data plan or managing your data usage. If throttling is content or specific site-based, using an encrypted proxy server will save you.