What to Do If You Feel Stuck with Bad Internet Service
There’s nothing more disruptive than being stuck with a bad internet connection. Maybe you live in an area where there aren’t many internet options to choose from. Maybe you’re locked into an annual contract with your internet provider. Whatever the case, it can feel hopeless if you don’t have the service you need.
But worry not—we’ve got your back.
We at HighSpeedInternet.com know that sometimes you may have more options than you realize. So we put together a guide to help you get out of the Wi-Fi lurch and improve your service. Read on for the scoop.
Find out which providers offer service in your area
Before you do anything, you’ll want to first see what type of internet you can get in your area. You might have more options than you think. Get all the details by typing your zip code into our tool below.
From there, you can decide how your current internet stacks up against other internet possibilities. Can you upgrade your speed? Or get a cheaper price? Is your current provider the only one in town, or could you switch to one that gives you faster and more reliable service? When it comes to internet service, knowledge is power.
Find workarounds for better performance
Some parts of the United States are still fairly limited when it comes to internet service—so you won’t always have access to the best possible service, even if you’re willing to pay top dollar for it.
If that’s your situation, that’s a bummer. But it’s not the end of the world. There are things you can do to boost even the most unreliable internet connection.
How to improve internet speed
|What to try||Why it helps|
|Run a speed test||Lets you see if you’re getting the speeds you pay for|
|Restart your modem and router||Clears out bugs from the system|
|Buy an up-to-date router||Ensures you get the fastest speeds possible|
|Place your router in a centralized location||Prevents interference with the Wi-Fi signal|
|Plug your computer into your router with Ethernet||Provides a more efficient connection|
|Run an antivirus scan on your computer||Catches malware that eats up bandwidth|
|Use ad-blocking software for your browser||Cuts down on long load times|
Restarting your modem and router is the quickest way to address annoying internet slowdowns. Try that first if your Wi-Fi gets finicky every once in a while.
For a long-term fix, consider moving your router to a more centralized location in your household, away from walls and other obstructions that could block the Wi-Fi signal. You can also plug your router directly into your computer using an Ethernet cable, which will provide a more direct connection and reduce the chance of interference. Naturally, you’ll also want to make sure your router meets Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 standards, so it’s up to date and hits the right speeds.
Malware can put a huge drain on your bandwidth, so make sure your computer is malware-free by running an antivirus scan. And if you notice big slowdowns because of ads and pop-ups, then use ad-blocking software on your browser to streamline things.
If your Wi-Fi has disconnected entirely, take a look at our internet troubleshooting guide to see what you can do to get back online.
Negotiate for a better deal
Don’t feel like all is lost when you’ve signed up for a plan that doesn’t meet your expectations—just call up customer service and see if you can bargain. Internet providers usually have dedicated agents who are ready to offer discounts and other perks to keep customers from moving to a different provider.
Depending on your situation, a retention agent can help lower your monthly bill, upgrade your speed, give you more data per month, or hook you up with a onetime promotion.
Before you make the call, look carefully through your contract to see what you’re paying for. Make a note of any unexpected fees or costs for services that you don’t want or need, which you can then try to shave off your bill.
Use our zip code tool at the top of this page to see what kinds of internet speeds, prices, and packages you can get in your area from other internet providers. And look up any short-term promotions or discounts that may be happening.
Once you’re fully aware of what you can get, you’ll be ready to make a deal with your internet provider. Good luck!
We keep track of all the latest internet discounts and deals going on with major internet providers. Take a look to see if you can find anything nice.
Switch to a better provider—even if you have to pay an early termination fee (ETF)
If you’re truly sick of your internet service, think about switching providers. It’s not ideal if you’re stuck in a contract and have to pay ETFs (depending on how much longer you have on your annual commitment, those fees really add up).
But if there are other internet providers in your area with better speeds and prices, it could be worth paying off those ETFs just for the sake of making your internet life easier.
Also, some internet providers make it easier to switch than others. Spectrum will pay off a contract for up to $500 in exchange for choosing one of its internet and TV bundles. And AT&T, Xfinity, and some other major internet providers frequently offer promotions, rebates, and prepaid Visa gift cards for new customers.
Whatever you pick, try to find a plan with no contract—so you can cancel any time.
Author - Peter Holslin
Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.
Editor - Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.