Have you ever been binge watching the latest season of “Game of Thrones” on your laptop when, out of nowhere, the dreaded spinning circle pops up and your video stops loading? Your connection looks fine, shows full-bars, but your Internet access has suddenly slowed down. Don’t rush to call your provider just yet.
There are plenty of small ways you can check to see if you can fix the problem on your own. Next time you find your Internet lagging, look to see if any of these easily solvable issues might be the culprit.
Did You Leave Something Running?
Downloads can seriously cut into your Internet speed. File sharing programs like BitTorrent work by sharing downloads among large groups of people. With so many people downloading files off your computer, or you downloading a few of your own, your computer will expend a lot of data. As long as you leave the program open, it’s going to sap your Internet speed.
So, before flipping out on a poor customer service rep make sure you haven’t left anything open in the background that could be draining your connection.
Is Your Router Dying?
Alas, routers don’t last forever, no matter how much we wish it were so. These sneaky objects tend to gradually wear down over time so slowly you might not even realize it’s happening. A sure sign your router needs a one-way ticket to the recycling bin is consistently slow Internet speeds or dropped connections.
If you find your videos lagging, websites taking longer than normal to load or are experiencing intermittent periods of no access at all, run a diagnostic on your router. If there are no hardware problems try moving it to another place. Placing your router up high might allow it to reach a better signal. You can also try the handy beer can trick by turning an empty can into a high-gain antenna.
Are You Infected?
Malware, spyware, and viruses can wreak havoc on your Internet speeds. If you’re not already protecting your computer from threats, you should start now. Have a reputable virus detector scan your computer for any potential invaders and have them wiped clean.
When it comes to protecting your computer, don’t skimp on the price. The more protection you can get, the better.
Do You Have Too Many Electronics?
Many people don’t realize having too many devices running at one time can slow things down considerably. If you’ve got multiple computers, a smartphone, and your PlayStation 4 all vying for a connection, speeds won’t be equal amongst them all. Consider shutting down anything you’re not currently using and see if that helps speed things up.
Is Your Browser Out-of-Date?
When’s the last time you downloaded the latest version of Chrome? If it’s been a couple years, you might want to consider hopping on the Google homepage and updating to the latest version. This goes for any browser you might be using.
A cluttered history can also cause problems. Go through and delete your browsing history and empty your cache to see if that increases your Internet speed. While you’re at it, you might as well do a disc cleanup and defragment your hard drive for the full clean sweep.
Is Your Wi-Fi Protected?
In this day and age, leaving your Wi-Fi unprotected is a big no-no. Not only does it leave you open to hackers, but you also might attract some random Internet leeches who live next door. Too many people trying to access the same Wi-Fi connection will slow it down tremendously.
Come up with a great password that no on will ever guess, and then keep that password to yourself. You pay for your Internet, so you should be the only one using it.
Whenever you’re experience a lag in download or connection speeds, remember to try these simple fixes before hopping on the phone with your provider’s customer service department. You’ll likely save yourself and them a headache by doing so. Many times the culprit is a simple hardware or software problem that can easily be fixed on your own. If you aren’t sure how much speed you might need for your daily Internet activities, find out here.
Ben Kerns is a fan of all things related to technology and the Internet, especially when it comes to discovering new ways to further merge the two together. When he's not plugged in, he enjoys the great outdoors, healthy living, and singing off-tune to cheesy country songs.
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