How to Stop ISP Throttling? Explained

Updated on: 20 February 2019
Updated on: 20 February 2019

What is Bandwidth Throttling?

This is where your internet bandwidth is being intentionally slowed down. Essentially, it reduces the speeds that are typically available over your internet connection.

There are various places it can occur when you are online between your device and the website or app you are accessing, but the end result of throttling is that you get to your chosen destination a lot slower than you would normally.

1. Why Do People Throttle Bandwidth?

As a user of the internet, you use a service to get online. This is provided via an Internet Service Provider, also known as an ISP. In some cases, it will be your ISP who throttle’s your bandwidth, we will talk about why in just a moment.

As an internet user, there is no real benefit to you from bandwidth throttling. However, for the companies who lay between you and your desired destination online, there are many reasons why they will throttle bandwidth.

ISPs and Bandwidth Throttling

An Internet Service Provider might take the decision to throttle your bandwidth during specific parts of the day in order to lessen network congestion. This means they do not need to process lots of data at the same time. If they do this successfully, it avoids them needing to invest in faster processing equipment 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, Torrenting Sites or any other media streaming platform, the ISP may well decide to throttle the bandwidth and leave the users who are trying to access that site or service with a far slower internet capacity.

The end result of this is a poorer experience, and their actions mean it will take far longer to download files. If you are streaming live content, such as a sporting event or broadcast, this can also ruin the quality of the stream and leave you frustrating 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 indefinitely.

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. The most common cases of bandwidth throttling will come from an ISP.

2. How Can You Stop ISP Throttling?

In the first section of this post, we looked at why an ISP might decide to throttle your bandwidth. One of the primary reasons that they might do this, other than choosing to invest in better equipment is to watch who might be using content streaming service and target those users by slowing down connections to those sites and services.

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!

Free VPN services are usually found at the top of the Google listings. The first 1-3 listings are always adverts, so, how is it that companies who offer their services for free can afford to pay out Google and other search engines to appear at the top of their pages? Simply. They make money from selling your data and hijacking your devices.

Don’t be tricked into thinking that a free VPN is a good VPN. Far from it.

If you want to truly stop your ISP from seeing your activities online, then you need an encrypted VPN that offers the extra assurance of protecting your information so that nobody is able to detect or trackback activities to your IP address or private computer.

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, private, and most of all, that it cannot be traced back to you.

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.

It’s important that you use one of the biggest VPN companies as with smaller VPN operations, the ISP will usually know the IP addresses of the VPN companies and block them. With Express VPN and Nord VPN for instance, they pay to have thousands of servers which provide thousands of different IP address for their users to utilize.

This means that your ISP will not be able to detect their servers as a VPN because there are so many different IP addresses.

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.

Our Two Top choices for VPNs are Express VPN and Nord VPN. They are low-cost, they are secure, and they offer superb speeds of service for content streaming services.

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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