Change your DNS servers
A DNS server is what translates human-readable web addresses into machine-readable IP addresses that identify a website’s server. If your DNS servers are slow, it could be dragging down your connection and causing issues with connecting to websites. Most operating systems have a way for you to view which DNS servers they use or change them (Windows by typing CMD in Windows Explorer, Macs from System Preferences, etc.). Just make sure you choose one that isn’t overburdened by other users on your network; most ISPs set their DNS servers automatically so that helps.
If you’re looking for new internet service providers, now’s a great time to shop around! You can compare and contrast plans and prices for specific providers in your area with our handy guide. That way, if another ISP catches your eye, it’s easy enough to switch over at any time in between contracts. Some ISPs even offer incentives when you leave one provider for another, so it never hurts to ask! Even if no deal pops up right away, comparing plans is still a good way to get a sense of how much each one costs.
If your wireless or wired router is having problems, restarting it could help boost signal strength and make your Internet connection faster. By powering down and then powering back on again, you will force both sides of your connection (the router and your computer) to work together more efficiently. Many home routers can be powered down by unplugging them from their power source, while others must be reset manually using a tiny button on their front panels. Consult our FAQ section below for more info!
Try a VPN Service
VPNs (virtual private networks) can help with a variety of problems, and they aren’t necessarily all about privacy. For example, if you find that your connection is too slow—maybe it takes ages for a page to load or video stream—you might want to try connecting via a VPN server in Hong Kong or Amsterdam instead of an American one. Some VPN services require paid subscriptions; there may be free versions available as well (just do some research). You may also want to check out commercial services such as GoTrusted and BestVPNsfor privacy reasons, but we won’t delve into those here.)
Using an Ethernet Cable Instead of WiFi
The Internet is notorious for being slow at certain times of day or depending on where you’re accessing it from, and connecting via Ethernet cable ensures a faster connection than WiFi. If that sounds like a lot of mumbo jumbo, take my word for it: Try an Ethernet connection and you’ll see what I mean. Also, if your router is in another room and/or further away from your computer (say, on a different floor), then an Ethernet cable might provide better reception than WiFi would as well as faster speeds overall. Just make sure to turn off WiFi before trying that out!
Other things to try
Make sure that your router is in good shape—if you haven’t updated it in a while, consider getting a new one . If your router is fine, call your Internet Service Provider and ask if there’s anything they can do from their end. You might have too many devices on one connection—either streamline or get an upgraded plan that gives you more bandwidth for less money (they likely will offer one for homes with multiple devices). Many ISPs also offer apps or software that will monitor network quality and help resolve any issues before they become serious problems.