That is the million dollar question ladies and gentleman! When your trusted, reliable, broadband internet connection goes south, and slows to a near halt, your entire online life flashes before your eyes!
Relax and take a deep breath. The good news is that a slow internet connection can be addressed without spending any money (hopefully). If your computer connects to another computer for a shared internet connection, or if your computer depends on a server for its internet connection, this post does not apply to you.
Let’s explore several troubleshooting tips that nearly anyone with a pulse can do, to get your internet speed back!
1.) Reboot your modem/router
The first thing that you should do when experiencing a slow internet is reboot your computer. If that doesn’t solve the problem, turn off your modem and your router for one minute. Keep in mind that this step depends on if you have both a modem and a router, or just a modem, since many homes and businesses incorporate both when using WiFi technology.
If you have both, turn them both off. This applies to businesses as well; turn off your routers! After having the modem/router off for one minute, turn the device(s) back on and open a browser to see if the connection “speeds up.” If not……
2.) Check to make sure nothing is downloading
This may sound rather obvious, but after verifying that the router or modem reboot didn’t solve the problem, make sure that nothing is downloading that can be using extra bandwidth. Believe it or not, many people forget that they are downloading anything at all – while downloading. Then, when experiencing slow browser page loading or other issues, the blame is placed elsewhere!
Always make sure your computer(s) isn’t downloading: Windows Updates, software updates (JAVA, Adobe etc), driver updates, music or video downloads, torrent downloads and more. After verifying nothing is downloading….
3.) Check your ISP
The number three step when asking “why is my internet so slow all of a sudden,” is to call your Internet Service Provider! It is surprising how much time is wasted trying to troubleshoot slow internet issues, when a quick call to the internet service provider would have verified that there are problems with the “lines,” or other data related problems that are the responsibility of the ISP to address!
Yes, it is extremely annoying to sit on the phone with Tier 1 technical support, to be asked redundant questions that you have no need to answer, such as: “is your computer turned on?” After sitting through the trivial questions, they will notify you if there are any problems that need fixing on their end, or if the issue is due to your computer, hardware configuration, or both. When in doubt, make that call!
4.) Check for viruses
Always check your computer for malware such as viruses, spyware, trojans, rootkits and more. Malware can infect computers and drastically slow down a computer, including slowing your internet browser or downloads to a crawl. Download a free copy of Malwarebytes by clicking here.
Install it. Update it. Now, scan your computer(s). Allow it to remove whatever it finds, and reboot. If nothing is found or if that doesn’t help the problem, it is possible that malware is not contributing to the slow internet connection problem. Keep reading.
5.) Have a professional check for hackers
Yes, you are reading this correctly. If your ISP shows no problems on their end (although many times they are dead wrong), your computer has no malware infection residing within it, your modem(s) and router(s) check out fine, you could be a victim of malicious hacker activity, malicious scripts, etc. In other words, someone could be compromising your computer or network without your authorization, or your knowledge.
This is a dangerous situation to fall victim to, so in the event that you suspect this, contact a professional immediately. Someone experienced in internet security can check which ports are “listening” on your computer and network. This will help detect if there is malicious activity compromising your computer “behind the scenes.”
** UPDATE: You can actually check for suspicious activity yourself. Learn how to check for suspicious network activity here!
With these tips, you can reclaim your internet bandwidth, and never have to ask–why is my internet so slow all of a sudden–again!
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