What is ISP Throttling
Internet Service Providers (ISP) intentionally slow down their users’ internet speed or bandwidth based on their online activities – this is known as ISP throttling. There are different reasons why they do it. They monitor their users’ online activities, for eg., if they see that their users stream more videos, they may slow down their bandwidth based on what they watch.
ISPs have started to restrict their users’ download speeds and are monitoring their online activities as the number of people using streaming video services like Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, etc. has spiked. Many ISPs claim to throttle bandwidth to reduce overcrowding on their networks. They also throttle bandwidth when they believe that their users have consumed more data and have reached their monthly data limit. This will result in extremely slow connection speeds. However, throttling is frowned upon by internet users.
How to Find out Whether Your ISP is Throttling Your Bandwidth?
The simplest and quickest way to determine if your ISP is throttling your bandwidth is by running a speed test. You can do a speed test to see if the speeds you are getting are the ones for which you are paying. If you notice slower speeds, it could be due to ISP throttling. In such cases, it is important to get in touch with your ISP.
Similarly, you can run a speed test and then connect to a VPN and again run a speed test. If you see that your speed has increased after connecting to the VPN, this could mean that your bandwidth is being throttled.
You can do the following tests to know whether your bandwidth is being throttled.
- You can use the Ookla speed test to check your internet speeds. If the speeds are much lesser than what you were originally promised, you need to understand that something is wrong.
- To check if your bandwidth is being throttled for Netflix, you can do the Netflix-based Fast.com test to know if there is any speed loss.
- Using the Northeast University’s Wehe speed test app, you can do speed tests for different services.
- Generally, internet traffic moves from server to server. Internet Health Test will give you a detailed insight into how much the speeds change when the server change occurs. You can easily make out that your speed is being throttled if you notice a 25% drop in speed.
Why Do ISPs Throttle Your Bandwidth?
ISPs throttle bandwidth for various reasons and the following are a few.
- Traffic/Network congestion
- Data limits
At a certain time of the day, ISPs throttle the bandwidth of all their users. This is done so that all the users can use the internet and to make sure not just a few users have access to the network. This way, all the users will have access to the internet instead of being not able to connect at all. Generally, ISPs throttle bandwidth during peak hours, which is mostly around 7:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
At times you will notice slow internet speeds towards the end of the month. This could be because you have exceeded or reached your data limit. When there is a limit on the amount of data you can use during the month, your ISP will throttle your bandwidth when you are found to go over the data cap.
To avoid such circumstances, you can track how much data you have used through your ISP’s online portal. This way, you can check your monthly usage right from the beginning of the month and make sure you do not exceed the limit. To avoid throttling in this case, you can either reduce your usage or pay for a better plan to get more or unlimited data.
However, if you believe you have not consumed that much data, you can take a look at your contract to see what the allocated data cap is. If you feel your bandwidth is being throttled before you exceed your limit, you can get in touch with your ISP.
How to Stop ISP Throttling?
There are two ways through which you can stop ISP throttling. One is by using a proxy server and the other is by using a trustworthy VPN.
Stop ISP Throttling Using a Proxy Server
By using a proxy server, you can avoid bandwidth throttling as the proxy server will act as an intermediary. The proxy will take requests from your computer and deliver it to the client computer and vice versa. This way, your ISP will be able to access only the intermediary proxy server.
There are free as well as paid proxy services. You will witness slower download speeds when you choose to go for a free proxy. But for improved performance, you can go for a paid proxy service.
Stop ISP Throttling Using a VPN
The easiest way to stop ISP throttling and also keep your data secure is by using a VPN. You can hide all your online activities from your ISP by connecting to a VPN. A VPN will encrypt your internet traffic and hide it from your ISP and all third-parties. As your ISP will not be able to see what you do online, they cannot throttle your bandwidth based on what you watch online. Using a VPN is a simple trick that really works. When you are connected to a VPN, your ISP cannot see whether you are torrenting files or streaming videos online. This way, you can achieve complete internet freedom and have unrestricted streaming and torrenting experience.
However, signing up for a good VPN provider is a better option than going for a paid proxy. That’s because VPNs offer security and they encrypt your data, thereby making it impossible for ISPs to track your online activities.
Best VPNs to Stop ISP Throttling
- Surfshark VPN
NordVPN – #1 VPN to defeat ISP throttling
For fast connection speeds and unlimited bandwidth, we recommend NordVPN. This VPN service is sure to protect your privacy and security. You can avoid ISP throttling by connecting to one of NordVPN’s secure servers. In addition to helping you stop ISP throttling, NordVPN will let you access all blocked websites and streaming services.
NordVPN encrypts your traffic with 256-bit encryption and offers other security features like kill switch, DNS/IP leak protection, Double VPN, CyberSec, and a no-logs policy. It keeps your data safe from snoopers, hackers, your ISP, and the government, as well.
It follows a strict no-logs policy and does not track any personally identifiable data so that you can never be tracked or monitored online. In addition, it allows six parallel connections so that you can secure more than one device with one NordVPN subscription.
- 5200+ servers in 62 countries
- Use up to 6 devices
- Next-generation Encryption
- Double VPN Feature
- Strict no-logs policy
Having a huge server network is a plus, as you can quickly connect to the fastest server available and not connect to an overcrowded server. NordVPN is one of the VPNs that has a good network of over 5000 servers worldwide.
To know more about NordVPN’s features, including its money-back guarantee, you can read our full review of NordVPN.
ExpressVPN – Fastest and secure VPN for streaming and to evade throttling
ExpressVPN is the one for you if you are looking for the fastest all-rounder VPN. You can bid adieu to ISP throttling and slow connection speeds with the fastest VPN, ExpressVPN. When you connect one of ExpressVPN’s servers, your ISP will not be able to see what you do online.
ExpressVPN has a good server network in 160 server locations in over 90 countries worldwide. You are free to connect to any server and access any content of your choice. This includes blocked streaming services like Hulu, Netflix, HBO GO, DAZN, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
It comes with easy to use apps for different platforms like Android, Windows, iOS, macOS, and more. You can connect all these devices to the VPN at a time as five concurrent connections are allowed.
ExpressVPN is a secure VPN that prioritizes its users’ online privacy and security. It follows a zero log policy to ensure that no user data is being logged. Likewise, it comes with its own version of the kill switch called network lock to prevent accidental data leaks when the VPN connection accidentally drops.
Apart from that, it allows torrenting and with unlimited bandwidth, you can torrent as many files you wish. The same applies to games, as well. You can unblock all blocked games and have unlimited gaming experience.
We recommend reading our extensive review of ExpressVPN to know more about its privacy features and money-back guarantee.
Surfshark VPN – Fully featured VPN for unlimited devices
Our next recommendation is Surfshark VPN, which will let you browse the web without leaving any footprints. Surfshark VPN’s strong 256-bit encryption will prevent deep packet inspection and prevent your ISP from tracking your online activities. Its privacy and security features will make it impossible for almost everyone to eavesdrop on you. This will, in turn, help you stop ISP throttling.
On the other hand, you can unblock streaming services like Hulu, HBO, Netflix, and more and stream any number of shows without being monitored by your ISP. When you connect to one of Surfshark VPN’s servers in a different location, your ISP will not be able to see what you watch online. While being able to evade ISP throttling, you can also bypass regional blocks and access all blocked services.
Similarly, you can stay private while your game online. You can unblock games that may be blocked in your region and play your favorite games without any speed loss. The same applies to torrenting, as well. You can torrent files by connecting to Surfshark VPN’s speedy servers.
- Connect unlimited Devices
- AES-256-GCM encryption
- IP & DNS leak protection
- Unlimited bandwidth
- Free Browser Extensions
- Strict no-logs policy
Most of all, Surfshark VPN allows unlimited parallel connections and unlimited bandwidth for a smooth streaming and browsing experience. You can secure all your devices and also use its CleanWeb feature to stay away from ads and malware.
For more insight on the features of Surfshark VPN, we recommend reading our full review of Surfshark VPN.
VyprVPN – Most secure VPN to stop ISP throttling
VyprVPN that runs its own network without the involvement of any third-party is sure to help you avoid ISP throttling. VyprVPN that has a good network of servers in over 70 locations across the globe, offers over 200,000 IP addresses.
You can connect to its servers in any location and access any service without being tracked by your ISP. As your ISP cannot see what you watch or download, they cannot throttle your bandwidth based on your usage. That is because your connection will be encrypted with a 256-bit encryption algorithm.
VyprVPN’s servers are high-speed and secure servers. This VPN service is sure to increase your streaming speeds. With five parallel connections allowed, you will not experience buffering or slow connections, even if you connect five different devices to the VPN at the same time.
- 160 server locations
- Network Lock Kill switch
- Zero-knowledge DNS
- VPN split tunneling
- Stream Sports online
With VyprVPN being one of the few VPN services to run its own services, it is sure to keep your data completely private. Be it the government or your ISP, no one can see what you do online. Likewise, with unlimited bandwidth, you can stream shows or torrent without any limits.
For enhanced security, VyprVPN features the Chameleon protocol that will help you fight back against censorship. Kill switch, public WiFi protection, NAT Firewall, DNS leak protection, and IP address protection are among the security features VyprVPN offers.
To know more about the features of VyprVPN and its money-back guarantee, you can check out our full review of VyprVPN.
ISP throttling is not something new and almost everyone experiences it. But the good news is that you can stay away from ISP throttling if you understand that it is not impossible to stop your ISP from throttling your bandwidth. There are ways like using a proxy or VPN to stay from ISP throttling. Though proxies also help avoid defeat throttling, the best and recommended way to completely get rid of ISP throttling is by using a top-rated VPN. We hope this article helped you understand what throttling is and how to stop it.