What Can You Do If You Have Bad Internet?
If you have bad internet, you should troubleshoot your Wi-Fi connection to see if you can improve your speeds. You should also look into upgrading your internet plan, or even switching to a new internet provider entirely if it means lower prices and faster speeds.
There’s nothing more disruptive than being stuck with a bad internet connection. But worry not—you always have options. Here’s a quick guide to ways to giving your home internet a boost.
Shop around to see the internet options in your area
Before you do anything, you first want to see what 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.
Troubleshoot your home Wi-Fi for better performance
If you’re getting subpar service, there’s a chance you have a networking issue or subpar equipment. Thankfully, you can solve a lot of these issues with relatively simple solutions. See our rundown below of ways to get your Wi-Fi flowing a little better.
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.
For a long-term fix, you want to make sure your router meets the latest Wi-Fi standards. An outdated router can drastically limit your internet speeds even if you’re paying for an internet plan capable of going faster. Get a router with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), Wi-Fi 6, or Wi-Fi 6E, so it’s up to date and hits the right speeds. (The Wi-Fi standard will be labeled clearly on the router’s packaging.)
Also, put your router in a centralized location in your household, away from walls and other obstructions that could block the Wi-Fi signal. As an added measure, you can plug your router directly into your computer using an Ethernet cable, which will provide a more direct connection and reduce the chance of interference.
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 with customer service for a better deal
Internet providers have dedicated agents who are ready to offer discounts and other perks to keep customers from moving to a different provider. These “retention agents” are sometimes treated as a nuisance, but they actually make for a great resource, because you can call a customer retention agent and press for a better deal.
When you’ve reached the limit of your dissatisfaction, just call up customer service, announce that you’re thinking of cancelling your internet plan, and ask to be routed to the customer retention department. Depending on your situation, a retention agent has the power to bestow great gifts:
What can customer retention do?
- Lower your monthly bill to promo pricing
- Upgrade your speed
- Award you a gift card or other promotion
Important—Know your internet plan before you call
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.
When you’re fully aware of what you can get, you’re then 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.
When all else fails, switch to a better provider
If you’re truly sick of your internet service, then it’s time to pull the plug and switch to a provider with better speeds or lower prices.
You may be tied to an annual contract with your current provider, in which case you’ll need to fork over an early termination fee (ETF) when you cancel your service. But it’s worth it if that means you being happier with a better internet plan. And many internet providers have gotten rid of contracts and ETFs, so you may be able to cancel with no strings attached.
Get fiber internet or 5G home internet for the best speeds and pricing. These are both reliable connection types that use up-to-date networking infrastructure.
Some internet providers make it a breeze to switch. Spectrum can 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.