How To Check If Internet Is Being Throttled
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ISP Throttling: What is it & How to Stop it | Avast
What is throttling?
ISP throttling is when your internet service provider (ISP) deliberately restricts your internet bandwidth or speed without telling you. Internet throttling results in speeds slower than what your ISP should be serving you. ISPs use throttling to control internet traffic over their network, reduce bandwidth congestion, and enforce data limits.
Throttling isn’t necessarily bad. If several customers are using the same cell tower, throttling helps equally distribute that bandwidth. Without realizing it, you may have benefited from a throttled internet connection.
Despite pressures on ISPs to inform customers, it’s not always clear if your internet has been throttled. During times of high traffic, ISPs can throttle those they deem “heavy” internet users — but most people don’t fit this criteria.
Slow internet isn’t automatically due to internet throttling. Try speeding up your internet connection yourself or boosting your phone’s internet speed before jumping to conclusions.
Why do ISPs throttle internet?
ISPs throttle the internet mainly to regulate network traffic and clear up network congestion. ISPs can also throttle users when they reach a data usage limit within a fixed period. Throttling gets more questionable when ISPs use it to influence your internet habits and profit off of you.
Here are the most common reasons why ISPs throttle your internet connection:
Some ISPs — especially mobile providers — limit the amount of high-speed data you can access every month. If you get near that data cap, you might experience data throttling, resulting in reduced speeds.
ISPs must state any data caps in your service agreement. If you think you’re experiencing ISP throttling, look at your plan and see whether a data cap is the culprit.
When a network becomes crowded with people trying to connect, ISPs use bandwidth throttling to regulate traffic. That way, all customers in a given area can access the network — instead of some getting full access, while others get nothing.
ISPs can also throttle your internet when certain types of data, like large files or torrents, take up too much bandwidth. Your ISP can restrict your bandwidth, even if you already paid for it, simply because your activity is straining their network.
Unfortunately, throttling the internet is not always about bandwidth distribution. ISPs can throttle specific websites or applications — like Netflix or Amazon Prime — to discourage you from using them.
That pushes customers toward other streaming services, like the ones affiliated with the ISP, or forces companies to pay more for faster load times for their customers. Those added costs can be passed down to you. In countries without net neutrality, throttling is fair game.
Thankfully, you can fight content-based internet throttling with a VPN — while it can’t hide your overall bandwidth usage, a VPN encrypts your internet traffic, which can prevent ISPs from throttling you based on the sites you visit online.
With Avast SecureLine VPN, you can evade your ISP and push back against throttling, all while enjoying world-class protection and privacy from threats, hackers, and scammers. Try a free 7-day trial today.
How to tell if your internet is being throttled
It’s not always clear if your internet is being throttled — many factors can contribute to slow internet speeds. While there’s no specific internet throttling test, you can use the following techniques to see if your ISP is throttling your connection.
Here’s how to test for ISP throttling:
1. Test internet speed
Testing your internet speed tells you if you’re getting the speed you’re paying for. Internet speed testing tools like the one maintained by Google’s Measurement Lab can calculate your current speed, which you can then compare with your data plan.
Because internet speeds fluctuate, run multiple tests throughout the day and calculate an average. And remember that Wi-Fi connections tend to be slower than Ethernet connections.
Test your internet connection with a speed test tool.
Do the tests show that your internet speed is fine, while your computer’s generally slow? It’s possible that you have a system problem on your hands, and not a throttling issue. Try speeding up your PC, streamlining your Mac, or accelerating your iOS device.
2. Run a port scanner test
A port is where your computer (or a program) connects to another computer on the internet, like servers for games or messaging apps. ISPs keep tabs on port activity, and can throttle this data if they see fit.
If you use open ports for gaming, you can use a port scanner to check specific ports for throttling with a variety of scans.
Using a port scanner to check for ISP internet throttling.
3. Compare your speed with a VPN
A VPN (virtual private network) encrypts your internet connection so you can anonymously surf the web, and it hides your IP address so ISPs can’t track your online activity. VPNs can also help unblock restricted websites.
Fighting internet throttling is another reason why you need to use a VPN to stay safe and secure online.
A VPN encrypts your internet connection so you can browse the web anonymously.
After using a speed testing tool to check your internet speed, check it again with a VPN — a slight speed drop when using a VPN is normal. Since a VPN hides your IP address from your ISP, you’ll get an accurate reading of your actual internet speed. If there’s a big difference, your ISP might be throttling data.
While setting up your own personal VPN can be tricky, Avast SecureLine VPN makes it easy. You can download our VPN for Windows or get our VPN for Mac.
In one click, get comprehensive privacy and security with our top-rated VPN. With a secure, encrypted connection, you can conceal your online activity from your ISP, advertisers, hackers and other prying eyes. Enjoy real digital privacy for all your devices today.
How to stop ISP throttling
If you’ve run speed tests and think your ISP is throttling your internet, here are some ways to stop ISP internet throttling:
Monitor your monthly data usage. Your ISP is not always at fault for internet speed throttling. If your service plan allots a set amount of data per month, monitor your usage to avoid throttling and overage fees. Avoid heavy data-consuming activities like streaming video, if you can. Or install an app that helps you track data usage.
Although risky in terms of privacy and security, safely connecting to a public Wi-Fi network can also help curb data usage.
Switch to a new internet provider. If you’re frustrated with your ISP, switch to another if you can. Depending on where you live, there may be other service providers competing for your business. Consider what you need from an ISP and shop around.
Remember: ISPs must tell you about data caps and bandwidth limits. Choose an ISP that serves you, and not the other way around.
Use a VPN. If you don’t want to switch providers, a VPN can help you avoid content-based throttling. Your internet speed may drop slightly, but it’s nothing compared to internet throttling. Plus, there are always ways to speed up a VPN.
Note: Avoid using free VPNs. These services are free because of ads or data collection and web tracking. And they usually lack secure protocols. If your aim is to keep your system secure, a free VPN is usually counterproductive.
Is throttling illegal?
Internet throttling is not illegal. You can benefit from throttling when it regulates overburdened networks and helps equally distribute bandwidth among customers. Overall, throttling internet speeds usually results in a more consistent connection for you.
Throttling and net neutrality
Net neutrality laws enable a free and open internet in which ISPs must treat all content and traffic equally. But internet privacy laws vary among countries, and some (like the US) have repealed net neutrality. In those countries, some of the shadier aspects of internet throttling are, by law, legitimate.
ISPs can throttle specific kinds of content, which affects what their customers can do online.
With throttling, ISPs can also charge higher fees for some internet services, like streaming providers — who may pass on these increased costs to you.
By throttling customers on lower-priced plans, ISPs can incentivize people to switch to more expensive data plans.
Net neutrality advocates believe that a free and open internet offers the best opportunities for innovation. When ISPs disregard net neutrality and manipulate the internet for profit, they limit the internet’s ability to grow and create the next best thing.
Bypass throttling with trusted VPN software
While not always bad, internet throttling has considerable downsides. Through throttling, ISPs have the potential to influence what you do online — restricting a free and open internet. Plus, they can deny you the speed you already pay for through your service agreement.
Encrypt your connection, protect your privacy, and hide from your ISP with a VPN.
You can bypass some of the more frustrating aspects of ISP throttling with Avast SecureLine VPN. Our bank-grade encryption technology hides your traffic from your ISP and keeps you safe from hackers, advertisers, and more.
Privately and securely connect to the internet without anyone watching over you. Plus, access all your favorite websites and content at lightning fast speeds around the world. With a free 7-day trial, you can enjoy the internet you deserve today.
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How to Detect Internet Throttling by Your ISP | Allconnect
At Allconnect, we work to present quality information with editorial integrity. While this post may contain offers from our partners, our opinions are our own. Here’s how we make you’re experiencing slower internet speeds than you’re accustomed to, you may be browsing during a peak usage time, using equipment that needs attention or competing with other users in your home for bandwidth. Another common reason for lagging speeds is internet throttling, the act of intentionally slowing internet speeds by your internet service provider. What is throttling? Internet throttling is when your internet service provider (ISP) limits your bandwidth or slows your connection to certain online activities after you’ve reached a monthly limit, commonly referred to as a data cap. This industry practice can be especially annoying for those who utilize their internet connection for gaming, video streaming and file downloads. Once your ISP begins to throttle your connection, you may experience buffering while streaming services like YouTube TV or Netflix, as well as lags or delays in gaming and file do ISPs throttle internet and is it illegal? Internet service providers throttle speeds for a number of reasons. Some internet plans come with data restrictions to limit monthly data usage. When consumers reach this limit before the data cap resets, instead of cutting off the internet connection altogether, providers drastically reduce a household’s internet speeds to give priority bandwidth to homes that are still within their data limit. You may also be experiencing symptoms of throttling due to high usage in the area during your browsing time. Now that users are relying on their connection to work and learn from home, the time previously defined as Internet Rush Hour is hard to pin down. Today’s internet users could experience throttling issues at any time of the day. Internet connection types that involve sharing bandwidth with local users – like cable internet, for example – are especially susceptible to congestion-related most instances, internet throttling is perfectly legal as long as the provider makes the customer aware in the fine print details. “Throttling often is done without users explicitly opting in, and disclosures are often in fine print, so many users may have no idea this is happening and may have no option to turn it off except to pay even more, ” said David Choffnes, assistant professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern offnes and a team from Northeastern University worked with a team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst to investigate throttling of video content by mobile and fixed-line providers using an app they developed, to tell if your internet is being throttledHere are a few steps to quickly and easily find out if you’re experiencing internet a speed testUse our speed test to get an initial read on your internet speeds. Be sure to run the test when your internet connection isn’t being used, as online activities like downloading large files can influence your speed test results. Your speed test results:Download Speeds 888 MbpsUpload Speeds 88 Mbps Pro Tip: For best results, use an Ethernet cord to connect your router or modem directly to your device before you run the a speed test on a Virtual Private NetworkAfter your first speed test, install a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, and then run the test again. A VPN-run speed test should help indicate whether your service provider is selectively throttling your internet during certain times of the day or types of internet usage. In some cases, your internet service provider may only throttle speeds during specific online activities such as torrent streaming. Some internet providers can tell when you’re running a speed test and will pause throttling until the test is over to avoid detection. A service, like NordVPN, can help to mask your internet activities and give you a more accurate speed test no matter what you’re using the internet “free or community” VPN services are known for selling and harvesting personal information, so do some research on both free and fee-based VPN options. Look for services that meet your needs and have complimentary reviews to be sure that you’re helping your efforts and not inviting more devious activity into your network. Compare speed test #1 and #2Take your results from speed test #1 and #2 and compare. If your results are similar, that’s a good indication that your provider is not throttling your internet speeds. If your VPN speed test result is much faster, your provider may be throttling your speeds. Keep in mind that the use of a VPN will decrease your internet speed, but ideally, it shouldn’t have a noticeable mpare your results to advertised speedsIf both of your speed test results match, take a look at that number compared to the speeds you’ve been promised by your ISP. According to FCC reports, most internet subscribers receive speeds that meet or exceed those advertised by their provider. Some DSL and satellite subscribers, on the other hand, received speeds lower than the advertised “up to” speeds of their provider. If your speed test results differ greatly from what you’ve been paying for from month-to-month, it may be time to think about switching internet service you be worried about internet throttling? “There are a number of reasons consumers should be concerned about throttling, ” Choffnes said. First and foremost is the fact that consumers paying for internet service expect to be able to use the internet in any lawful way they want, subject to constraints on available bandwidth and data quotas. Another reason is the quality of content. According to Choffnes, “throttling typically leads to lower-resolution video streaming, meaning that videos are blurry even though both the network and our screens support higher-resolution content. ”Lastly, throttling could affect competition among providers. For instance, as part of their study, they found that in some cases YouTube is throttled but other providers, like Vimeo, are to stop ISP throttlingIf you’ve found that your provider is throttling your internet, there’s not much you can do to stop it if you’re committed to staying with your current provider at your current price point. Browsing on a VPN network or upgrading may be your best solution. “In some cases, users can turn off throttling (e. g., disabling Stream Saver on AT&T. ) In other cases, one can purchase a data plan that does not include throttling, usually at a higher price, ” Choffnes said. Looking to switch internet providers after your speed tests? Try a provider with more data to fit all your online activities. Call us to speak with TV and internet experts about providers and speeds in your updated on 10/14/20. Written by: Taylor GadsdenWriter, Broadband & Wireless Content Taylor is a veteran member of the Allconnect content team and has spearheaded a number of projects, including a data piece on the top fiber cities in the U. S. and a troubleshooting guide on how to connect your p… Read more Edited by: Trey PaulEditor, Head of Content Read bio Internet data caps: Who has them, who doesn’t and what you need to know Joe Supan — 6 min read Working from home? 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How to Bypass Bandwidth Limit Restrictions in 2021 [Full Speed]
Table of ContentsHow to Bypass Bandwidth Limit Restrictions (ISP Throttling)Why Do Internet Service Providers Throttle User Bandwidth? The 3 Best VPNs to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling1. ExpressVPN2. NordVPN3. CyberGhostFinal Thoughts
Do you experience slothy connections that come out of nowhere when streaming movies or NBA playoffs online? That’s bandwidth throttling: when your internet service provider (ISP) slows down your connection based on what you’re watching. Fortunately, you can get around ISP throttling when you learn how to bypass the bandwidth limit with a virtual private network (VPN).
A VPN sends your traffic through an encrypted tunnel, preventing the ISP from seeing the websites you visit. When the ISP is blind to your online activity, it no longer selects you for throttling for viewing specific VPN is the best VPN to bypass ISP throttling because it’s the most secure VPN and delivers unparalleled speeds. A VPN doesn’t help bypass bandwidth throttling caused by network congestion or data cap overages.
A VPN gets around this anti-consumer practice, enabling you to enjoy an unrestricted online experience. In this article, we’ll use ExpressVPN — the best VPN provider — to demonstrate how you can skirt around throttling with a VPN. Keep reading also to learn why ISPs limit your bandwidth.
There’s no way to lift an internet bandwidth limit. Not even a VPN can help. The only way around the limit is upgrading to a higher internet plan or switching a reliable VPN is the fail-safe way to bypass bandwidth If you’re on a 5 Mbps internet plan, using a VPN won’t make your internet connection though you could use a proxy server to try to avoid ISP throttling, a VPN is by far the best solution because it provides better security. You can even try a good free VPN, like Windscribe.
How to Bypass Bandwidth Limit Restrictions (ISP Throttling)
There are various reasons why ISPs limit your bandwidth (which we’ll talk about later). The gist of it is that it sees you using a lot of bandwidth — by streaming HD videos, downloading torrents or a number of other things — so it slows your connection down. When the ISP uses bandwidth throttling against you, you should take action. If you can’t change your ISP, your next best option is to use a VPN.
The Tor browser can also help you get around ISP throttling, but it’s super slow, which defeats the purpose. This leaves the VPN as the surefire way to easily bypass bandwidth throttling without putting further strain on your connection. So, how does a VPN prevent bandwidth throttling?
How a VPN prevents ISP throttling.
A VPN reroutes all of your internet traffic through its servers to anonymize everything you do online. This gives ISPs no chance to know when you visit bandwidth-heavy sites, like Netflix. ISPs prioritize throttling for users engaging in streaming or torrenting activities, so with a VPN you won’t be on the high-priority list. This saves you from content-based internet throttling.
Bypass ISP Throttling Your Internet Traffic: Use a VPN
For a VPN to effectively bypass bandwidth throttling, it should come packed with security features, like AES 256-bit encryption and strong VPN protocols. ExpressVPN is our favorite VPN here at Cloudwards, which is why we’ll use it to show you how to get around ISP throttling.
Subscribe to the VPN of Your ChoiceHead over to your chosen VPN’s website, pick a suitable pricing plan and complete the signup wnload and Install the VPN Go to your account dashboard and enter the ExpressVPN verification code sent to your email. Select the right app for your device, depending on your operating system, and download it. Next, locate and double-click the installation file, and then click “install” to start the in to the VPN AppOnce the app is installed on your device, sign in and enter your mplete the SetupIf the VPN has any extra steps for you, such as choosing some initial preferences, follow along with the installation nnect to a Preferred Server LocationNext, you need to choose a server to establish a connection. For example, if you want to watch movies on U. S. streaming sites, connect to a VPN server in the U. Otherwise, just use the server closest to you for the best Throttling-Free StreamingThat’s it. Once connected, just hop over to your channel of choice — whether it’s Netflix or Amazon Prime Video — and start streaming videos. With a VPN, you’ll no longer face ISP throttling, as it sends all of your traffic through an encrypted tunnel.
Why Do Internet Service Providers Throttle User Bandwidth?
Your ISP may decide to impose bandwidth throttling when it notices you’re engaging in activities like streaming or torrenting. By limiting download speeds for bandwidth-intensive websites, ISPs reduce bandwidth usage on the network. That enables the ISP to serve more internet users without increasing its network capacity.
You could have also gone over your data usage limit. Some ISPs won’t disconnect your internet altogether when you exceed the set data caps. Instead, they keep you connected but throttle your internet speed to prioritize users that are still within their data limit.
Beyond that, ISPs may throttle connections during “internet rush hour” to ease congestion over the network. Generally, the ISPs throttle the internet connection of anyone consuming a lot of bandwidth to enable other users in the area to get regular services.
The 3 Best VPNs to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling
A VPN helps bypass throttling because it prevents your ISP from detecting where your traffic originates. Here are the top three services that can stop ISPs from throttling your internet speeds.
ExpressVPN — Stellar security and lightning-fast speedsNordVPN — Top-notch security and obfuscated VPN serversCyberGhost — Affordable and streaming- and torrenting-optimized VPN servers
We’ll discuss each provider’s strengths (and weaknesses, if any), starting with ExpressVPN — our best VPN service to circumvent ISP throttling.
ExpressVPN offers all the features you need to bypass throttling and stream videos without buffering.
More details about ExpressVPN:
Pricing: $6. 67 per month, plus three months free on the yearly planProvider website:
Excellent security & privacyIncredibly fast connection speedsUnlimited bandwidth
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to stop ISP throttling, thanks to its strong digital security and blazing-fast speeds. It barely puts a dent in your browsing speed, and being our best VPN for streaming, it unblocks pretty much any streaming site. Using AES 256-bit encryption and a variety of VPN protocols, it ensures your activity stays private.
Besides that, ExpressVPN uses a private domain name system (DNS) on every server to prevent DNS leaks. Doing so prevents your internet provider from seeing the type of websites you visit based on your browser’s DNS requests. Plus, ExpressVPN has a strict no-logs policy to put your mind at ease.
It’s a little more expensive than the rest of our picks, but the value it offers more than makes up for the higher price tag. Read our ExpressVPN review for more information.
NordVPN’s real forte is security, which comes in handy when bypassing ISP throttling.
More details about NordVPN:
Pricing: $4. 13 per month on the two-year plan Provider website:
Stellar securityObfuscated serversSmartplay technology
Inconsistent speeds across locations
NordVPN is another good VPN provider to defeat ISP throttling. With over 5, 300 servers, NordVPN ensures you have a server that’s geographically close to you for faster connections.
Though it doesn’t match ExpressVPN’s speed consistency over longer distances, it makes sure you can access any geoblocked content using the “smartplay” feature.
NordVPN’s obfuscated servers conceal your VPN usage, making it look like you’re not using a VPN at all. Plus, most importantly, they make it impossible for the ISP to distinguish bandwidth-heavy traffic from simple web browsing. NordVPN is also our best VPN for torrenting, plus it’s more affordable than ExpressVPN. You can read more about it in our NordVPN review.
Besides helping you bypass data throttling, CyberGhost provides streaming- and torrenting-optimized servers for an excellent online experience.
More details about CyberGhost:
Pricing: $2. 25 per month, plus three months free on the three-year plan Provider website:
Strong online securityOver 7, 300 servers worldwideStreaming & torrenting friendly serversAffordable VPN
Not particularly fastInconsistent access to streaming services, except Netflix
CyberGhost is a cheap VPN solution to ISP throttling. It has more than 7, 000 servers across 91 countries, with a special focus in the U. S., UK and Germany. CyberGhost offers many specialty servers, like the NoSpy servers, that deliver strong data encryption and greater anonymity to keep your traffic out of an ISP’s reach.
CyberGhost also offers torrenting-optimized servers, which facilitate seamless and secure torrent downloads. However, one big disappointment is that in our testing, CyberGhost — despite its streaming-optimized servers — could access Netflix but not Amazon Prime Video, Hulu or BBC iPlayer. Read more about it in our CyberGhost review.
Can You Use a Free VPN to Bypass ISP Throttling?
Technically, yes, you can use a free VPN to get around ISP throttling, but only if you find a reliable free VPN, and those are hard to come by. You’ll rarely find a free VPN with security features to send your traffic via a truly secure tunnel. Some may sell your data to third parties or leak it on the internet, despite promising to never keep any user activity logs.
That said, some VPNs, like Windscribe, offer reliable free plans. We vouch for Windscribe because of its security and high monthly data cap of 10GB, and we have no reason to doubt its no-logs policy, too. Our list of the best free VPN providers has other effective services, as well.
If your ISP is deliberately throttling your bandwidth when it notices traffic from streaming or torrenting sites, a VPN can be of great help. We recommend getting started with ExpressVPN because it guarantees watertight digital security and excellent streaming speeds.
Have you ever experienced ISP throttling affecting your internet speed? Which VPN service did you use to stop bandwidth throttling from your internet service provider? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments section below. As always, thanks for reading.
Frequently Asked Questions about how to check if internet is being throttled
How can I check if my internet is throttled?
Run a speed test on a Virtual Private Network After your first speed test, install a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, and then run the test again. A VPN-run speed test should help indicate whether your service provider is selectively throttling your internet during certain times of the day or types of internet usage.
How do I bypass internet throttling?
Bypass ISP Throttling Your Internet Traffic: Use a VPNSubscribe to the VPN of Your Choice. … Download and Install the VPN. … Sign in to the VPN App. … Complete the Setup. … Connect to a Preferred Server Location. … Enjoy Throttling-Free Streaming.Jul 5, 2021