Speed up slow broadband

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Speed up slow broadband

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Speed up slow broadband

If you're regularly frustrated by your slow connection then read our top tips to help speed things up.

A slow broadband connection can be a misery. You could end up paying every month for broadband speeds that you'll never be able to fully enjoy.

However, taking a few simple steps can help maximise your download speeds.

These tips won't change the broadband speed coming in to your house so if you've done all you can and it's still not enough, then consider switching to a faster fibre broadband deal.

Change your router to boost broadband speed

Upgrading your wireless broadband router could make a real difference to the speed of your broadband connection, especially if your current router is a few years old.

To find the Which? Best Buy wireless routers that will offer the best speed, have a look at our expert reviews of the latest wireless routers.

Improve your wi-fi signal

If you've got more than one phone socket in your house, then try to connect your router or modem to the primary one (the socket that your external phone line connects to directly). And if you have more than one socket then ensure you use a microfilter (a small white box with a phone lead or connector on it) for every phone or fax that you’ve plugged in.

Watch your broadband router distance

Aim for the most direct line of sight possible between your router and your computer. Wireless broadband signals deteriorate if there are 'blocks' in the way such as walls or furniture.

Even if there are no blocks in the way, moving your PC or laptop closer to the router may improve your broadband speed if you use a wireless connection. Moving your router away from other electrical devices, such as baby monitors and TVs, can also reduce the risk of interference.

If you are able to use a wired connection then this will give faster speeds than a wireless one. But again, try to keep the distance to a minimum and use Ethernet cables rather than USB cables as there are more efficient.

Get a powerline adapter

If wireless range is a problem then consider buying a set of powerline adapters. These simple-to-install devices use your home's power lines to create a network and this can be much faster than a wireless one powered by a distant router.

Secure your wi-fi to improve broadband speed

If your wireless broadband network isn't secure, people in the local area may be logging on to it and sharing your broadband connection. This will decrease your own broadband speeds. 

It's important to set a secure password, so that only people who know the password can access your broadband connection.

Update your online browser

Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and all other popular browsers undergo frequent updates. Make sure you're up-to-date  – outdated versions might mean slower download speeds.

Perform the same check with your anti-virus software as viruses, trojans and worms can use your broadband connection which can make your speeds seem to slow. Viruses and adware can also cause your computer to slow considerably which can make your broadband seem sluggish.

Spring clean your computer

Every time you access a web page through your browser, the browser stores or 'caches' it. 

Periodically clearing out your browser's cache will help it to function more efficiently. 

Here's how to do this for the browser you're using:

  • Internet Explorer From the Tools menu, click Internet Options. Select the General tab. Under Browsing history click Delete. Next to Temporary internet files, click Delete files (say yes if you're prompted to confirm). Click Close and then OK to exit.
  • Firefox From the Tools menu, select Clear Private Data, and then choose Cache.
  • Safari From the Safari menu, select Empty Cache. When prompted, click Empty to confirm that you want to empty the cache.
  • Google Chrome Click the 'spanner' icon in the top right of the screen. Select Options then the Under the hood tab. Click Clear browsing data. Select the Empty the cache option (it's up to you whether to also delete other options such as browsing history or cookies). Under Clear data from this period select Everything. Finally, press Clear Browsing data.

Avoid peak web hours for faster broadband speeds

More people access the internet at certain times of day than at others. 

Peak internet times include when North America wakes up. If you can avoid going online at these busy times, you'll find you experience a faster broadband speed. Evenings tend to be more congested than during the day or night.

Switch provider for better broadband speeds

When it comes to broadband speed, all providers are not created equal. If you're unhappy with your current provider's speed, swapping to another could help. 

Read our guide on how to switch provider to find out more.