4 Easy Ways To Instantly Boost Your Streaming SpeedBy Jeremy Evans / August 31, 2016 / Tags: How-To
Slow streaming speed making you want to throw your computer/mobile/TV/etc. out a tall window? Here are some quick fixes to instantly boost your streaming speed.
Streaming movies, TV shows, and videos is supposed to be fast, easy, and enjoyable. But if you’re suffering from slow streaming speeds, it’s tear-your-hair-out maddening.
Some signs your streaming speed isn’t what they should be: dropped connections, buffering, lag, interference, crummy picture quality, cries of anger and frustration every time you want to stream something.
If you’re having trouble streaming and suspect it’s your internet speed, try this super-simple internet speed test from Netflix. This is also a great way to see if your ISP is actually delivering the speed they promise.
For an instant boost, try these 4 easy ways to increase your streaming speed.
1. Stop Your ISP’s Throttling
Verizon, Comcast, and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) make a habit of throttling customers’ connections — especially when you’re streaming Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, and other bandwidth-hogging entertainment. The fix for this is to use a VPN.
Using a VPN hides the kind of traffic you’re using, so your ISP can’t throttle the high-bandwidth ones — including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, YouTube, and other streaming services and websites.
CEO of Customer.io Colin Nederkoorn has a great video (below) showing the huge difference in speed on Netflix with and without a VPN. I had the same experience with my ISP. Colin is using VyprVPN, which is an excellent, highly-reviewed, and very fast VPN provider — one of the best VPNs for streaming. VyprVPN truly offers a great service with nothing to disappoint. You can get a 3-day free trial. If you decide to keep it, the basic plan is $5.00/month for the first month, then $9.99/month.
More about using VyprVPN to prevent ISP throttling and speed up your connection.
To set up VyprVPN, just follow these steps: 1. Sign up for a 3-day free trial of VyprVPN and download the app(s) for the device(s) you want to use — mobile, computer, TV, gaming system, etc. 2. Use the app to connect to a server like Colin does in the video. Pick a server that’s close to you for the fastest speeds. 3. Stream away just like you always do. VyprVPN will work in the background to prevent throttling and give you super-fast streaming speed. Get more details here.
If you want another option, ExpressVPN works just as well, and even better in some ways. It’s easily as fast, and will let you stream in HD and Ultra HD. It’s $8.32/month for a year of service and has a 30-day money-back guarantee. ExpressVPN, as its name implies, is on the short list of the fastest VPNs out there. They dedicate a lot of resources to delivering incredibly fast streaming, and I’ve always had excellent performance and speed with this VPN. Personally, I also like their apps the best. Go here to get a 30-day money-back trial.
2. Upgrade Your Broadband Connection
This is a quick fix if you can afford it. Internet connections aren’t one-size-fits-all. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) has different packages — all with different speeds. So if you don’t mind spending more, and there is a faster package available, this is a simple solution. Of course, there is the vexing and common problem of ISPs not delivering the speeds they promise. So you’ll probably want to explore the above option before forking over more money.
If upgrading is an option for you, look to get internet speeds of at least 15-20Mbps (Megabits per second). If you have a bunch of different devices connected to the internet at once at your house (always the case at my house) that puts added strain on your bandwidth. In this case, you may need a connection higher than 20Mbps. Expect to pay at least $45/month, with packages running to $80/month and more depending on your internet provider. If you stream on a mobile device, you may also need to move to a higher data plan if your ISP limits your bandwidth after a certain level.
3. Upgrade Your Router
If your current router is weak, you can upgrade to a stronger, faster wireless router. A more powerful router will expand your Wi-Fi signal, so you can stream better in that back bedroom or wherever your current signal is weakest. It will also boost your connection speed overall.
The D-Link AC1200 Wi-Fi Router is a PC Magazine Editor’s Choice for best wireless router, 2016 — and a bargain at only about $70. Other top routers can get pricey, like the highly-rated Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router ($292).
4. Forget Wireless And Go Wired
Even the best wireless tends to be slower than a hard wired connection. So if all else fails and you can’t speed up your Wi-Fi, try using an Ethernet connection while streaming instead. To do so, just connect your computer, DVR, gaming system, etc. directly to your Internet router using an Ethernet cable ($10) and you’re good to go. When you’re not streaming, you can disconnect the cable and go back to using your Wi-Fi.
Some other things to try: move your router closer to where you do the most streaming (living room, bedroom, etc.); when you’re not using a device, take it offline so it doesn’t eat up bandwidth; replace old cables on your modem and router; move devices that may be causing interference away from your router.
Of the 4 options above, the cheapest is connect to an Ethernet cable while you stream. It’s not very convenient — after all, the whole appeal of Wi-Fi is to eliminate the cables — but it is effective.
If wiring up doesn’t appeal to you, then the next best option is to try using a VPN to stop ISP throttling. Try taking advantage of VyprVPN’s 3-day or ExpressVPN’s 30-day trial period to see if using a VPN gives you a speed boost.
Hopefully one of these tactics will increase your streaming speed so you can enjoy great TV instead of watching a spinning wheel.