How to Tell If My Internet Is Being Throttled by My ISP and How to Stop That

how to stop isp throttling

Do you know all Internet Service Providers throttle your bandwidth no matter what plan you’ve purchased? If you meet online data throttling, you’ll suffer from slow speeds of YouTube streaming, Netflix long-time loading, and annoying buffering. However, you can easily stop that from happening, and here is the solution in this article.

What is ISP Bandwidth Throttling?

Throttling refers to the process that your ISP intentionally slows down your bandwidth based on the online content type you’re enjoying.

Bandwidth throttling usually occurs when streaming videos are watched such as Netflix and HBO Max. As a high bandwidth is inspected by your ISP, the downloading speed of data packets from servers of Netflix or HBO Max will be limited. Then, how does your ISP know you’re streaming? Your IP address is your unique identity based on which your ISP can find you because it’s assigned by ISP.

Apart from your WiFi or cabled Internet, your mobile data can be also throttled. Last year, Deutsche Telekom was found to restrict the mobile speed on YouTube and Amazon Prime to 1.5Mbps.

how to stop isp throttling

Why Your ISP Throttles Your Bandwidth Data?

According to ISPs, throttling bandwidth aims to reduce online traffic jam. However, the truth is far more complicated.

There’s a popular theory that isn’t confirmed that some media sites pay for ISPs to shorten the loading time of their content but extends the loading time of the content created by their competitors. That’s one way for ISP to make money.

When the internet speed or bandwidth is throttled at a certain time of the day, more users can be held without adding extra network capacity. As a result, costs can be saved with profit rising.

Is Internet Throttling Legal?

I’m sorry, but YES.

Internet throttling was illegal but it’s not any longer since the US denied Net Neutrality in 2018. Some large streaming video providers are allowed to limit some access to their sites.

Some streaming sites like Netflix can lock or restrict their bit rate so that the number of online users can be controlled to stop the number limit exceed the max.

What Type of Internet Traffic is Easy to be Throttled?

Not all online traffic tends to be throttled but the following types:

  • Real-time streaming
  • HD streaming videos
  • File sharing / torrenting

In some cases, internet throttling is one of the ways your ISP uses to “punish” you. That sounds extreme but it’s partially true. Once your ISP finds out you always use a large bandwidth on the Internet, your data will be possibly throttled.

They throttle your traffic just to push you to buy a plan at a higher cost.

“Am I Throttled?” How to Tell if Your Internet is Being Throttled?

The following signs tell you your Internet is being throttled:

Your internet moves slowly during rush hour.

ISPs usually throttle internet traffic during a rush hour which is especially true after the last business day, Friday night for example.

Streaming videos are left behind.

If you suddenly suffer from buffering while streaming online videos, it’s possible that your ISP is throttling your internet even though it’s smooth to browse the Internet.

An unbelievably low download speed is met.

If you can smoothly browse the Internet but suffer a low speed while downloading, it’s mostly possible that you’re suffering from Internet throttling.

Some Easy-to-Use Methods and Tools to Test Internet Throttling

Test Your Internet Speed

Run an Internet speed test on Google with the keyword “internet speed test” first and get a speed. Then, use a VPN, follow the same Internet speed test and write down a speed. If two different speeds are got, your Internet is possibly being throttled by your ISP. A VPN helps you bypass the restrictions set by your ISP by providing an encrypted tunnel between your device and the Internet.

Run an Internet Health Test

An internet health test can be run on so that you’ll be able to get the main idea about your internet status. Although the test result is a rough one, it provides you a brief summary of the whole condition of your internet.

internet health test
YouTube Test

A YouTube test is not scientific but quite easy to take to test whether your ISP is throttling your internet data. You can conform to the following steps:

  • Open a 4K video;
  • Stream the video in full screen and check if it buffers for more than one time;
  • If buffers are met, reselect the resolution to retry;
  • Redo the above steps until a resolution can be found without buffering.

How to Stop ISP Throttling Your Internet Data?

There’s a simple but effective way to stop your ISP from throttling your internet data.

Use a VPN.

Why your ISP can track your online activities to know if you’re streaming or not? Based on your IP address naturally.

Imagine you spend much of your time on Netflix streaming, but a contract has been signed between your ISP and Disney+. Then, the connection speed may be lowered as Netflix is used. Your online activities can be well hidden when a VPN is used on your device. So, internet restrictions can be beaten.

Apart from Stopping ISP Throttling, What Else Can a VPN Do?

  • Encrypt your traffic and protect you against hackers and prying eyes;
  • Protect your privacy to stop your online activities from being tracked or monitored;
  • Unblock WiFi restrictions to enjoy all the content on the Internet no matter where you are.

Does VPN Slow Down Your Internet?

Definitely NO.

Some people always worry that a VPN may slow down their internet speed. The truth is a VPN isn’t created to slow down your Internet speed but to protect your online security and privacy.

Bottom Line

Your Internet can be easily throttled by your ISP that intends to make more money.

Internet throttling usually occurs as you stream online videos or download files.

The most effective way to stop data throttling is to use a VPN.



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