How to Stop ISP Throttling? Explained

Updated on: 12 June 2019
Updated on: 12 June 2019

What is Bandwidth Throttling?

Bandwidth throttling is when your internet connection is intentionally being slowed by your ISP.

It results in reduced speeds when you try to use the internet.

1. Why do ISPs throttle your bandwidth?

You access the internet via an Internet Service Provider, also known as an ISP. In almost all cases, it will be your ISP who throttle’s your bandwidth, we will talk about why in just a moment.

ISPs and Bandwidth Throttling

An Internet Service Provider might throttle your bandwidth during specific parts of the day in order to lessen network congestion. This means they do not need to process so much data at the same time. If they do this successfully, it avoids them needing to invest in stronger infrastructure that can handle a larger data capacity.

Although this is a highly controversial matter, ISPs have also been known to throttle the bandwidths of users who are accessing a certain website or application. For instance, if large amounts of data are being downloaded from Netflix, or through P2P networks (Torrents), the ISP may decide to reduce the available bandwidth and leave the users who are trying to access that site or service with a far slower internet connection.

The end result of this is a poor user experience, and the ISP’s actions mean it will take far longer to download files. If you are streaming live content, such as a sporting event, this can also ruin the quality of the stream and leave you frustrated as it lags, buffers, or cuts out altogether.

ISPs have also been known to throttle any type of traffic for users who reach what they deem to be a reasonable amount of data usage in any given period. So, without being informed of the threshold, a user can have their services essentially cut off or slowed down dramatically until the end of the billing cycle.

Ok, so if you are one of those people who read the ten pages of terms and conditions that you sign up for when you choose your ISP, you may notice that even with unlimited plans there is still an acceptable use policy that needs to be adhered to. By enforcing bandwidth throttling, this is one way the ISP can lightly enforce these caps without causing too much trouble or bad press.

Because it happens in the background without notifications being issued, customers will usually not be aware of what is happening, but just be a bit annoyed that their internet isn’t very fast.

2. Can you stop ISP throttling?

Use a VPN to avoid bandwidth throttling

If you want a quick and easy way to avoid your ISP throttling your network, this can be done with the use of a VPN. However, before you go off and happily download the first VPN that pops up at the top of the Google listings, please read on!

Some ISPs actually throttle VPN connections. The only way around this is to use a VPN that hides itself. There are only a few VPN providers that do this, one of which is NordVPN with obfuscated servers. For full details on how this works, check out our NordVPN review.

With the increasing number of organizations now freely spying on users who visit certain sites, including streaming sites, you need that extra layer of protection to ensure that everything you do online is secure and private.

With a VPN, you connect to their server firstly. Then your request is sent out to the internet from their server. This means that your ISP cannot see the actual sites you are visiting. For this reason, if you want to access any content streaming site, then you should use a VPN. The only request that your ISP will see will be of that going from your computer to any of the thousands of servers that the VPN company uses.

So, if you want to know how to stop ISP throttling, then you just need to get yourself a VPN. They start from s little as $3 per month and can make the difference between you being able to stream movies, music, and sporting content freely, or being prevented in doing so by your ISP because they want to throttle your bandwidth.

Check out our list of the best VPN providers for reviews, tests, and technical specifications, along with information on how you can make the right choice when buying a VPN.

Written by: Elizabeth March

Advanced ITSEC Specialist Based in Cambridge, England, Elizabeth has held notable positions for a range of high-profile vendors and clients in the European IT Security and Communications Sector. As a former IT Trainer, Technical Specialist, and Product Manager; she transitioned into the role of an expert IT Copywriter in 2015. Since then, her works have been published globally, and she continues to help people easily decipher complex technical challenges and make informed decisions about their digital lives.

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