Our increasing reliance on the Internet has pervaded every corner of our lives, from socializing to reading, research, entertainment, business operations, and more. With the Internet so important to so many aspects of our daily existence, it is imperative to have a fast, reliable connection that keeps us connected to the things we need.
Unfortunately, there are many things that can drag down the speed of your internet connection and reduce your productivity – or decrease your fun factor. Following these suggestions can help address some of the most common issues that might be slowing you down, and help you increase your internet speed.
- Perform Regular Maintenance on Your Computer – This should be basic operating procedure for any user, but it’s easy to let it fall to the wayside when you’re busy. Run the following on a regular basis – daily, if you can. Set them to start automatically when you’re not using the system, if you can.
o Disk Defrag
o Scan Disk
o Virus Scan
o Malware Scan
o Spyware Scan
o Empty your recycle bin
A slow computer can sometimes be the only signal that there are issues such as viruses or problems with your hard drive.
- Run Disk Cleaning Software and Delete Unneeded Files – Lack of available space on your hard drive can also slow you down considerably. Wikihow says that you should “never allow the free space on your C: drive to be less than 10% of the total size or twice the installed RAM (which ever is larger).”
- Be Aware of High Traffic Periods – Most sites and networks slow down considerably during certain times of day, when the highest number of users are online. The best way to avoid dents in your productivity is to plan around these times, or at least be aware that the slowdowns will happen and prepare for them. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about them! Some of the worst bottlenecks tend to be after school hours, after the 9-5 work day is over, and on weekend evenings.
- If You Use a Wireless Router, Check Other Wireless Electronics in Your Home – If your router runs on one frequency and your wireless phone, for example, runs on the same frequency, your internet speed will be significantly reduced when you use the phone. Another troublesome item can be a wireless camera. Try to purchase wireless electronics that run on different frequencies.
- Use Open DNS or Google Public DNS Initiative – DNS Servers are the machines that send you to the correct place when you type in a website name. Often, the default server that typing that name in takes you to is the busiest one, or very far away, and can cause the connection to be slow. Open DNS and GPDI find alternate servers to connect you to the same site, but since they are not the default, you may be able to access them faster.You can also find the best dns servers for your computer as well using Namebench and similar softwares.
- Use an Ad Blocker – Flashy video, Flash, or other advertising that’s ubiquitous on the Web these days can slow your experience, and can even crash your browser. There are a number of effective ad blocker add on’s for every browser that not only filter advertising, but block pop-ups and protect you from malicious attacks based in some of those items.
- Change Your Connection Type – This can be the most complicated, but undoubtedly the most important, effect on your internet speed. From fastest, most reliable to slowest, home and business connection types are:
o Fiber Optics (FiOS)
o Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL2,DSL)
While there are other types and subtypes, these are the most widely used in home and small business. Dial-up access has become almost a relic in this age where most areas have access to some form of faster internet connections. However, the issue for many users when it comes to having maximum speed and reliability is the availability of different connection types in their area. Some rural locations are still limited to dial-up connections only. Perform some research on the best type of connection for your needs, and then check the phonebook or online to see if any carriers provide that type in your area.
Katelyn is a tech blogger for Bit9 domain controller Windows (link removed on request), writing on a variety of topics that help keep users running smoothly.