Have you ever watched a Netflix movie or played an online game and noticed that the video suddenly lags or turns pixelated? You can be a victim of throttling by your Internet service provider (ISP). This is a widespread practice among Internet service providers all around the world.
This is known as internet throttling, when your internet service provider (ISP) intentionally slows down your internet. They can cut bandwidth anytime, which you may not even notice. For example, your ISP may be restricting data transfer over your connection if Netflix becomes choppy or Facebook takes several minutes to load.
Data throttling: what is it?
Data throttling is also known as data shaping, data/traffic throttling, internet prioritization, bandwidth throttling, or internet bottleneck, among other terms. Whatever the name, this technique entails your ISP purposely slowing your internet.
While it’s possible that you’ve hit your monthly data cap or haven’t paid for your super-fast broadband, your ISP will most likely restrict your internet speeds regardless of your contract status. So it makes sense that the more traffic flowing through an ISP’s server is like traffic passing along a motorway.
Streaming Netflix or playing high-definition video games consumes a lot of bandwidth. So to keep things moving, ISPs may throttle, or slow down, internet service so that consumers can still access the sites they need, even if the experience is slower.
Is ISP throttling against the law?
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled in 2011 that internet service providers may not restrict material based on its category. After extensive debate over the previous 10 years, it has been determined that restricting some types of information is not technically permissible in the United States. It is allowed, however, to provide fast lane services to businesses who want their material prioritized.
Another problem for people who believe in Net Neutrality is that it is difficult to establish that an ISP is throttling particular types of data. For example, Internet speed statistics aren’t affected if your ISP slows down your Netflix performance. This implies you can lose performance without knowing if throttling is to blame. Even if it was unlawful, proving it is impossible.
What are the reasons behind ISPs throttling the internet?
ISPs slow the internet to control network traffic and relieve congestion. ISPs can also throttle customers if they exceed a data use cap for a set period. When ISPs utilize throttling to influence your internet habits and profit from you, it becomes increasingly dubious.
The following are the most prevalent reasons:
Some ISPs, particularly mobile carriers, impose monthly limits on the amount of high-speed data you may use. If you reach the data cap, you may encounter data throttling, which will result in slower speeds.
Any data limitations must be stated in your service agreement by your ISP. Whether you believe your ISP is throttling you, check your plan to determine if a data cap is a cause. Remember that anything you access online, whether a site page, a mobile app, or a streaming video, requires a download. Furthermore, anything you do, such as seeking access to a website, sending an email, or publishing to social media, necessitates an upload.
All of this internet usage consumes your monthly data allowance. ISPs normally provide an online interface to track your data use, so you don’t go overboard over the month. Any ISP that imposes a data cap must disclose this in your service agreement. Check your contract or contact customer assistance if you’re experiencing throttling.
ISPs use bandwidth throttling to limit traffic when a network gets overburdened by customers wanting to connect. As a result, all consumers in a particular region have access to the network, rather than some having full access while others have none.
When certain forms of data, such as huge files or torrents, consume too much bandwidth, ISPs might limit your internet. Likewise, your ISP may limit your bandwidth, even if you have already paid for it if your behavior is putting a load on their network.
Prioritization for payment
Throttling the internet is unfortunately not always about bandwidth distribution. For example, to prevent you from using Netflix or Amazon Prime, ISPs might limit particular websites or applications. In addition, ISPs will sometimes limit your speeds because another corporation pays them to do so, not because of anything you or the people around you are doing.
Paid prioritization, sometimes known as the “internet fast lane,” allows businesses to pay an internet service provider to prioritize their traffic above other data on the network. Unfortunately, paid prioritization can result in several undesirable outcomes:
- An ISP offers its streaming service and throttles Netflix, Hulu, and other comparable services, rendering them uncompetitive.
- An ISP wants a certain website to pay for speedier loading times.
- When an ISP begins to provide a premium “fast lane” for select popular sites, those who do not pay the premium charge in addition to their regular monthly subscription will slow their speeds.
All of this is beneficial to ISPs but detrimental to customers. Furthermore, paid prioritization was prohibited until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) abolished the net neutrality legislation in 2018.
When a consumer engages in illicit online activity, ISPs might limit their customers’ internet connections.
How to check if your internet connection is being slowed
Check your internet speed
You may test your internet speed to see whether you get the speed you paid for. Internet speed testing tools, such as Google’s Measurement Lab, may determine your current speed, which you can compare to your data plan.
Because internet speeds vary throughout the day, perform many tests and average the results.
Test your port scanner
A port is a connection between your computer and another machine on the internet, such as game servers or messaging programs. ISPs keep track of port traffic and can limit it if necessary.
If you utilize open ports for gaming, you may use a port scanner to do various checks on individual ports to check for throttling.
How to stop internet throttling
Proxy servers can help you escape internet throttling, but they aren’t always reliable. In addition, using a proxy becomes worthless if your ISP implements DPI since your ISP can see which websites you visit and which online services you utilize.
Proxies operate properly to prevent throttling for ISPs that do not utilize DPI. Always use a dedicated proxy to bypass your ISP’s throttling limits if you utilize a proxy. You won’t have to share bandwidth with other users on the proxy this way.
The biggest advantage of proxies over VPNs is that they do not impose bandwidth restrictions. However, there is a bandwidth limit on certain VPN systems. A dedicated proxy may be purchased online from a variety of providers at varied rates.
Even if your ISP utilizes DPI, a VPN is the best way to get around your ISP’s data throttling tactics. Although your internet speed will slow significantly, it will be nothing compared to internet throttling. Furthermore, there are always methods to make a VPN faster.
Use caution when utilizing free VPNs. Because of advertisements, data collecting, and site monitoring, these services are free. Unfortunately, they also frequently lack security procedures. As a result, a free VPN is frequently ineffective when keeping your PC safe.
Change your internet service provider.
If you’re unhappy with your current ISP, consider switching. Other service providers may compete for your business depending on where you reside. Consider what you require from an Internet service provider. ISPs must disclose data caps and bandwidth limitations. Choose an ISP that caters to your needs rather than the other way around.
Keep track of your monthly data use.
Internet speed limiting isn’t always the responsibility of your ISP. If your service plan includes a monthly data allowance, keep track of your consumption to prevent throttling and overage charges. Avoid bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming video, or use an app to keep track of your internet consumption.
Best VPN for throttling protection
ExpressVPN is the finest VPN for bypassing ISP throttling because of its excellent digital security and lightning-fast speeds. It scarcely slows down your browser speed, and being our top VPN for streaming; it unblocks virtually every streaming site. In addition, it uses AES 256-bit encryption and several VPN protocols to keep your activities hidden.
Furthermore, ExpressVPN employs a private domain name system (DNS) on each server to avoid DNS leaks. This stops your internet provider from seeing the websites you visit based on DNS queries from your browser. Finally, ExpressVPN has a strong no-logs policy to put your mind at ease.
It’s a touch more pricey than the rest of our recommendations, but the value it provides more than compensates. For more details, see our ExpressVPN review.
NordVPN is one of the most popular VPN services available today. Since 2012, the site has been utilized by millions of individuals worldwide. NordVPN is compatible with Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Android TV on desktop and mobile platforms.
NordVPN is one of the most respected VPNs on the market, with a strict no-logs policy that ensures that none of your online activities are recorded. It also has strong security and servers worldwide, allowing you to view a wide range of materials regardless of your location.
Surfshark is, without a doubt, the greatest all-around VPN. This is a wonderful alternative for streaming movies, downloading files using torrents, and browsing privately and anonymously on public WiFi. Other VPN systems, on the other hand, may provide better value for your money.
Surfshark provides you with more value than you paid for. The platform has several fantastic features that keep you secure while giving you complete control. Surfshark runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, and smart TVs.
It’s also available as a Chrome and Firefox add-on. Gamers are not forgotten since the platform has a Smart DNS. Let’s look at some of the benefits of signing up with Surfshark.
ISPs in the US that do internet throttling
ISPs practice Internet throttling all around the world. Some of the country’s largest Internet service providers have been involved. Comcast, AT&T, Cox, Viasat, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Cellcom, Cspire, Time Warner Cable, and others are on the list. Because the FCC does not allow it, researchers tend to conceal the identity of these firms, although there may be more.
Is throttling a crime?
Internet throttling is undoubtedly inconvenient and may force you to switch ISPs. It is not, however, unlawful. ISPs have the power to limit your internet speed, particularly during busy hours. ISPs would have been prohibited from doing so under the proposed net neutrality rules. The FCC, on the other hand, voted to repeal the regulation.
Will a VPN be able to bypass ISP throttling?
Yes, a VPN can help you avoid ISP throttling by hiding the material you’re watching from your ISP. Your ISP can’t limit your internet connection across all services. Thus it won’t throttle any if it can’t see what you’re doing.
Throttling on the internet is a problem we will have to deal with shortly. We won’t be able to accomplish anything unless the FCC agrees to examine net neutrality and alter its judgment shortly. We’ve individually taken matters into our own hands to obtain secure, unfettered internet access. Look into the VPNs we covered in this piece for a long-term solution.
A VPN is a great way to do it if you want to escape ISP throttling and ensure high-quality internet. It isn’t only a question of ensuring quick internet. You may prevent your ISP from monitoring your online activity by downloading and utilizing a VPN. This means that no matter what material you visit, you will receive the same level of service.