Why is my Internet connection so slow?

Slow InternetA slow Internet connection could be caused by any number of reasons. Below is a short list of some of the more common reasons your Internet connection may be slow. As mentioned at the bottom of this page there is no magic program or tweak that will increase your overall Internet speed, but this page can give you a better understanding of why it may be slow.

Tip: If everything on your computer is slow including the Internet, this may be another issues.

Slow Internet connection

If you're using a dial-up connection or a modem this will be much slower than any broadband connection or connection you may be using at work or school. If you are using a modem no matter how fast your computer is the speed of the Internet will remain the same or very close and can cause some users to believe their computer is slow.

If broadband is available in your area and you would like a much more enjoyable experience on the Internet we highly recommend getting it. See the broadband definition for additional information on this term and the broadband available.

Site or download

Depending on the website you're visiting or the download you're receiving your Internet connection may appear to be slow. A site such as Computer Hope, which is 90% composed of text documents will load much faster than a website such as YouTube, which is composed of movie files.

Downloading while browsing

If you're doing more than one thing while on the Internet you'll notice browsing the Internet is slower. For example, if you or your kids are downloading a game, movie, music, or other file. While the computer is getting that data all other browsing will be slower.

Time of day or day

The time of day or what day it is can often affect the overall speed of the Internet as well as your individual connection. When more people are online, servers and Internet connections can become overloaded and cause delays in the response. In addition users who are using broadband cable to connect to the Internet share an individual cable with neighbors who are also subscribed. If all your neighbors are on at the same time you will notice a decrease in your speed.

Times when people are at home, e.g. off from work or school (after 3PM) or weekends (Saturday and Sunday) are often slow times. Sites like Internet Traffic Report reports the flow of data around the world. This site can give you a rough idea of busy times.

Server or website location

The location of the web page you're visiting can also determine the speed of the Internet. If you're accessing a web page that is in a different part of the world it will be much slower than a page that is hosted closer to you.

Visitors on site

A server or website can often only handle so many people at once. If hundreds, thousands, or millions of people are trying to visit the site at once that page will be much slower and in some cases pages may not even respond.

Network or site maintenance

If your Internet service provider or the host of the website is performing maintenance on their network, computers, or network equipment this can cause speed related issues.

Other major event

If a major event is occurring around the world, it may cause speed related issues. For example, during the tragic events of September 11, 2001, where terrorists attacked United States many of the news sites were so overwhelmed with visitors that they would either take several minutes to load or not load at all.

Third-party programs and tweaks

No matter how many web services or programs you see advertised there is no magic program or tweak that is going to increase your actual overall Internet speed. There are some tweaks that can be done and some programs that can help with the speed of downloading certain files or increase your local network speed (not Internet). But no program that will increase the overall speed of your Internet connection.

Some programs such as download managers can help get downloads faster by downloading bits of a file being downloaded through different connections. However, this does not increase your Internet browsing experience and will not work with all Internet web page.

You or your ISP is under DoS or being attacked

Finally, although not a common situation a slow Internet connection can also be caused when you or your ISP is being attacked, e.g. a DoS attack. When this kind of an attack is performed the computer becomes so overwhelmed with requests that it causes your connection to be slow or time out. If you believe you are under such an attack contact your ISP for additional recommendations. If it is your computer that is under attack one way to escape these attacks is to change your IP address.