Identifying the Causes of Slow Internet


Consumer surveys indicate that many Americans feel that their Internet is too slow and that they do not get the level of service being paid for. With that in mind, let us consider some common issues.

Know Your Speeds

But before we do, it helps to have some context. Many consumers do not really know what speeds are included in their plans, so let us start there. Know your satellite internet plan, but more importantly, know the speeds your plan guarantees rather than just the best-case scenarios that are advertised.

Armed with that information, it is time to test your speeds using a tool like Speedtest by Ookla. Test a wireless device but also one that connects via Ethernet since the Wi-Fi will be slower. It is also a good practice to test at various times of the day and to record this information so that you have a log.

Network Being Serviced

Let us begin with slow Internet that is sudden and temporary. One possibility is that your ISP is undergoing maintenance. They often try to do this in the wee hours, but in some cases, interruptions are unavoidable. Most ISPs have a site set up that lets you check interruptions in your area.

Network Overwhelmed

If you live in a densely populated, your network can get overwhelmed during peak hours. There may not be much you can do if the ISP is still delivering the minimums guaranteed in your plan, but if not, you are absolutely in the right to demand that the company increase bandwidth in your neighborhood.


Some internet service providers throttle. A common reason is that you have reached your data cap. Another reason is your current internet activity. ISP throttling is unfortunately legal as of this writing. A great way to determine if you are being throttled is to connect through a VPN and see if your speeds return to normal.

Inadequate Internet Plan

Do your internet speed troubles seem related to the number of people in the home using the connection and their Internet activities? Your plan may not provide enough bandwidth. A 25 Mbps plan is probably enough for you but not enough for a household of four who all love to stream Netflix or Planet Dish.

Router Problems

As for more persistent problems, is your wireless speed slow but your Ethernet speed fast? That sounds like your router. It could be that the positioning is bad and that you are in a dead zone. Something else to consider is that your router may be cheap or old or both and needs to be replaced.

VPN Usage

Connecting to the Internet through a virtual private network will provide slower speeds than not. If you use a VPN often, it is worthwhile to pay for a service that provides you access to fast servers. If you already do, it may just be that particular connection. Consider trying some others.

Interference From Other Devices

Your wireless signal can be disrupted by other devices. That can include microwaves and monitors in your home, but it can also be caused by other wireless routers in your neighborhood. Change the channel for your router, and with a little trial and error, you should find a sweet spot.

Malware or Virus

Run a virus scanner and a malware scanner to determine if you have any malicious programs on your machines. Viruses will often use your Internet for various purposes, including spreading themselves.

Request a Technician

If you cannot figure it out on your own, call your ISP and request an internet technician be sent out to your home. He or she should be able to test the network and get to the bottom of the problem.