How to Stop ISP Throttling with VPN in 2021 | CyberNews
While most internet service providers (ISPs) strive to deliver a fast service, sometimes, your internet is slow because your ISP is slowing it on purpose to minimize bandwidth congestion, or regulate traffic. This is known as ‘bandwidth throttling’.
How can you stop bandwidth throttling? How can you tell if it’s happening to you? And how can you improve the performance of your internet?
A VPN isn’t just good for keeping your data secure, it’s also a useful tool for stopping ISP throttling and keeping your internet speeds running smoothly.
This all means you can avoid that painful wait for a buffering wheel to disappear, or those long seconds waiting for a web page to load.
A short guide on how to fix ISP throttling with a VPNIf you hide the type of content you’re viewing from your ISP, you can avoid ISP throttling. This is because ISPs may slow your internet speed if you are doing something online that takes up a lot of bandwidth. If your ISP doesn’t know whether you’re streaming something in high definition on US Netflix or merely reading a page of simple HTML text, then you won’t be picked out for using up a lot of bandwidth.
There are other reasons ISPs throttle traffic, but we will go into them later in the article.
A VPN helps encrypt this information and keep it hidden from your ISP, so you can keep enjoying fast internet. Here’s all you need to do:
Download a reputable VPN from your device’s app store or from the VPN’s website. We recommend NordVPN, as it is fast and reliable.
Create an account with the VPN.
Sign in and connect to your desired server location.
Enjoy your fast internet!
ISP throttling explained
Bandwidth throttling occurs when your ISP deliberately slows your internet. While this might be because you have reached your data cap for the month, or you haven’t paid for your super-fast broadband, more often than not, your ISP will slow your internet speeds regardless of your contract status.
If you imagine the traffic passing through an ISP’s server to be like the traffic passing along a freeway, it makes sense that the more traffic there is, the slower it moves.
Streaming Netflix or using gaming in high definition uses up a lot of bandwidth. To keep things moving, ISPs may throttle, or slow internet service in order to allow users to at least keep accessing the sites they need to, even if the experience is slower.
Why do ISPs really throttle connections? An ISP would tell you that users experience throttling because you may have gone over your data cap or not paid your internet bill for the month. And of course, there’s the old party line that it is just trying to keep traffic flowing through the network.
But what’s the real reason for all this throttling? Even when ISPs promise unlimited super-fast broadband, the reality is that if everyone is streaming or gaming in 4k, it simply costs too much to supply everyone with the high-speed connectivity they need.
So ISPs react by limiting the bandwidth of everyone using the server, under the guise of preventing total crashes. The reality is that it is just cheaper to set all users to the same speed.
However, you might find that certain types of internet usage lead to more throttling than others. ISPs that have a ‘fast lane’ deal with Netflix for example, might throttle the streaming of content on a competitor like Disney Plus or Amazon Prime, in order to manipulate the behavior of its users.
Some services pay for ‘fast lanes’ for their content, and ISPs happily take that payment. But all this depends on an ISP being able to see what content you are using. After all, your ISP can’t slow your Netflix connection if it can’t see that you’re using Netflix.
Is ISP throttling illegal? In 2011, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decreed that internet providers must not discriminate against what type of content gets throttled. After much back and forth over the last ten years, it is not technically legal in the US to restrict particular types of content. However, it is legal to offer ‘fast lane’ services to companies that want their content prioritized.
The other issue facing those who still believe in Net Neutrality is the fact that it is very difficult to prove that an ISP is purposefully throttling specific types of data.
If an ISP slows down your Netflix performance, it isn’t reflected in internet speed scores. This means you can lose performance without any way of knowing if it is down to throttling. So even if it was illegal, it’s virtually impossible to prove.
How to tell if your ISP is throttling you
Slower internet at peak hours, incredibly slow downloading and lagging video content are all indicators, but not proof of throttling.
If you want to confirm your suspicions, you can use an Internet Health Test to check various connections for signs of poor performance. If you check the connectivity of the same app that uses different service providers and find you have results that vary massively between each service provider, you can be pretty sure that you are a victim of ISP throttling.
How does a VPN solve throttling issues? As we have already mentioned, ISPs don’t usually reduce the bandwidth of all their users completely equally. In fact, a lot of ISPs have a monetary incentive to throttle specific types of content. And that means that an ISP needs to know what content you are looking at in order to throttle it.
A VPN encrypts all the information that goes between the server and the receiver, and hides it from your ISP. An ISP cannot legally slow all your traffic to all sites, and if it doesn’t know where your traffic is going, it can’t slow any of it.
When using a VPN, the ISP can’t distinguish between HD streaming and simple web browsing. That means you won’t experience throttling, and you can enjoy good performance on any site, including BitTorrent, YouTube, Twitch and Usenet.
If you mask your online activity from your ISP, that means your ISP cannot move to throttle any of your activity. In such cases, they might even inadvertently throttle traffic to one of their ‘fast lane’ customers.
Best VPN against throttlingThere are a huge number of VPNs out there and knowing the one to choose is vitally important. One tip we would give is that it’s always worth spending some money on a VPN. A free VPN can be tempting, but the technology is complex and takes a lot of expertise to maintain and run properly.
Here are some of our recommendations:
Based in:PanamaServers/countries:5, 500+ servers in 59 countriesUnblocks Netflix:YesCurrent deal:Now 72% OFF + 3 Months FREE!
NordVPN is one of the most reputable VPNs on the market, and has a strict no-logs policy that means none of your activity is logged anywhere at all. It also has excellent levels of security and has servers all over the world, meaning you can access all kinds of content no matter where you are.
Based in:British Virgin IslandsServers/countries:3, 000 servers in 94 countriesUnblocks Netflix:YesCurrent deal:Get ExpressVPN, now 35% OFF!
ExpressVPN is another industry favorite and prides itself on its extremely fast server speeds. This is ideal if you’re aiming to get around poor performance due to throttling.
Based in:British Virgin IslandsServers/countries:3, 200+ servers in 65 countriesUnblocks Netflix:YesCurrent deal:Get Surfshark, now 81% OFF!
For those still not keen on splashing out too much on a VPN, Surfshark offers some of the best prices available, while still protecting your data and browsing information from your ISP.
To sum upLike any private enterprise, your ISP is always on the lookout for new ways to make money, and throttling traffic to certain online services for a price is an easy and hard-to-track way of bringing in paying clients who want their sites to run smoothly.
If you care about guaranteeing good quality internet, then a VPN is a really good option for avoiding ISP throttling.
It’s not just a matter of guaranteeing fast internet. Downloading and using a VPN can stop your internet behavior from being manipulated by your ISP as you browse. This means you won’t get a different quality of service no matter what content you’re accessing.
Will a VPN stop ISP throttling?
Yes, a VPN will stop ISP throttling as it will hide the content you are viewing from your ISP. Your ISP can’t throttle your internet connection across all services, so if it can’t see what you are doing, it won’t throttle any.
How do I stop my ISP from throttling me without a VPN?
You can either:1. Upgrade your package or plan with your ISP, or2. Use a proxy server to hide what you are accessing from your ISP
How can I boost my internet speed?
Use a reputable VPN to bypass ISP throttling and access the fastest servers. This will prevent your ISP from being able to throttle your internet connection, no matter what site you are on.
Are VPNs legal?
VPNs are entirely legal in the UK and the US. But online activities that are illegal without the use of a VPN are still illegal if you use a VPN.
More VPN guides from CyberNews:How to Block ISP from Tracking your History: take your privacy back with these methods
How to Unblock Websites and Access Restricted Content: here’s our proven methods how to bypass censorship anywhere
How to Use Chromecast With a VPN: access all the most important streaming platforms
How to Bypass ISP Bandwidth Throttling With a VPN
Don’t let ISP throttling slow down your Friday you noticed slow speeds on YouTube videos? Do Netflix videos take forever to load and buffer? Is your ISP throttling your streaming video traffic? Use a VPN to bypass throttling and peering is ISP bandwidth throttling, exactly? Throttling is when an internet service provider (ISP) intentionally slows down your internet based on what you’re trying to the rise of streaming video services like Netflix, HBO Max, and even YouTube that demand high bandwidth, ISPs have begun inspecting your data and restricting your download speed if they detect packets from those services. ISPs claim this is to reduce congestion on their networks, but the truth is more I being throttled? The best way to know if your internet speed is being throttled is by running an internet speed test—with and without a VPN. A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts your internet traffic, shielding it from your service provider. If your internet speed improves with the use of a VPN, there’s a good chance your ISP is throttling your internet ndwidth throttling hurts customersSome ISPs already have the capability to handle the extra data but choose to throttle content providers’ traffic because it competes with their own streaming content libraries. Some ISPs have forced Netflix to pay a fee to escape throttling, allowing the ISP to avoid paying for much-needed upgrades. Lack of competition among ISPs and broadband providers means that companies can even get away with overcharging customers for faster more about other topics related to internet is peering? Peering is when two ISPs connect and exchange traffic. Mutually beneficial under normal circumstances, peering causes problems when a popular streaming service (such as Netflix) forces one ISP to exceed the agreed traffic ratio, prompting the other one to ignore congestion and refuse to make means you could be denied the internet speeds you paid for simply because your ISP refuses to resolve a peering conflict with another ’s the best way to bypass bandwidth throttling? If your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, and switching providers is not an option, the easiest solution is to connect through VPN. Your ISP won’t be able to inspect the data packets, so it won’t be able to throttle that traffic based on what service you’re using. The result is unlimited bandwidth for pure, unrestricted streaming to bypass peering conflicts with a VPNUsing a VPN also solves the congestion caused by peering conflicts. Instead of going through a third-party ISP to reach your content, your traffic travels on a privately maintained network, taking the most direct, least congested path between you and the content you ISP throttling in 3 easy stepsStep 3Enjoy faster speeds and no more throttling based on content. Bye-bye, buffering. 30DAYMONEY-BACK GUARANTEEDon’t let ISPs throttle your streaming videoTry ExpressVPN ’re so confident in our product, we’re offering a 30-day money-back ExpressVPN
How Can I Tell If My ISP Is Throttling My Internet?
Aug 23, 2021 Share
FAQ, Internet Speed Guides
To determine if your internet service provider (ISP) is throttling your internet connection, plug a computer into your modem and run our speed test. After that, open a virtual private network (VPN) client—we provide a list of the best VPNs—and rerun the test. If your connection is significantly faster while using the VPN, your ISP is likely throttling your service.
This trick works because ISPs sometimes throttle your speeds when they notice certain types of traffic, like torrenting. However, a VPN encrypts your data and connection, so the ISP can’t see what you’re doing online.
Of course, there are reasons for slower speeds other than ISP throttling, like traffic congestion and general connection issues. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about internet bandwidth throttling to determine if that is indeed your issue.
Throttling is when your ISP intentionally limits your connection’s bandwidth. Providers do this for several reasons, and it usually manifests as a sloth-like connection.
Why do ISPs throttle your connection?
ISPs have many reasons for throttling your internet connection. But these are the top four culprits:
Exceeding data caps
Cable internet providers sometimes throttle a specific area during times of heavy use. Throttling balances all connections so that certain houses don’t use more network bandwidth than others. Peak times likely happen between 7:00 p. m. to 11:00 p. m., although service group congestion is less of an issue now than it has been in recent years.
Some ISPs limit how much data you can send and receive during one billing cycle. They will reduce your bandwidth if your downloads exceed that limit.
Keep in mind that everything you access online requires a download, whether it’s just a web page, a mobile app, or streaming video. Moreover, everything you do requires an upload, too, like requesting access to a website, sending an email, posting to social media, and so on.
All this interaction with the internet uses your monthly data allotment. ISPs usually offer a way to monitor your data usage through an online portal, so you don’t go overboard throughout the month.
Any ISP that enforces a data cap must include that information in your service agreement. So, if you’re experiencing throttling, take a look at your contract or call customer service.
Here’s a list of internet service providers with data caps:
A few internet providers without data caps are Spectrum, Frontier, and RCN.
Some bandwidth throttling has nothing to do with your specific web surfing habits. Here are a few examples:
An ISP provides a proprietary streaming service and will throttle Netflix, Hulu, and similar services.
An ISP wants a specific website to pay for faster load times.
Certain types of data—large downloads, torrents, FTP file sharing—use a lot of bandwidth and put pressure on the network.
All of this is good for ISP but terrible for consumers. Moreover, paid prioritization used to be illegal until the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the net neutrality laws in 2018.
What is net neutrality?
Net neutrality is the idea that your ISP shouldn’t control what you can and can’t access on the internet. With net neutrality, all ISPs must treat lawful internet data equally.
The legislation was passed in 2015 in the US to protect net neutrality. But those protections were repealed in 2018, leaving control of the internet up to corporations who greatly benefit from practices that hurt the free internet and everyone who uses the internet—things like paid prioritization, censorship, and throttling.
We support net neutrality because a free and open internet is imperative to free speech in America.
Contact your Senator to support net neutrality and the Save the Internet Act.
ISPs can throttle internet connections when the customer participates in illegal online activities.
How do I stop throttling?
Use a VPN to bypass ISP throttling. It creates a secure, encrypted tunnel between you and a dedicated server. This server then decrypts your data and sends it to the destination in plaintext. This data does not include your IP address or any other information that can link back to you.
However, some ISPs may throttle your bandwidth if they detect your VPN (some VPNs can ignore this). Be sure that you’re using the best VPN for your needs, as the wrong one can make your internet throttling issues worse.
Unfortunately, a VPN won’t help with throttling caused by network congestion or data cap overages. In these cases, your ISP restricts the total amount of bandwidth rather than a specific type of data.
If your throttling issues stem from data cap overages, you have four options:
Reduce your monthly usage.
Pay for more bandwidth.
Upgrade to a plan with a higher data cap or unlimited data.
Switch to a provider without data caps.
If you have cable internet and you experience slow speeds during peak hours, try one of the following:
Upgrade to a faster plan
Use the internet during off-peak hours
For example, try downloading large files between 11 p. and 7 a. when most of your neighbors are asleep. On the flip side, if you’re only paying for 100 Mbps and you need more speed, a 400 Mbps plan may be a better option.
Monitor your download speeds often—especially if you notice continuously slow speeds. Complain to your ISP if you don’t see speeds anywhere near your plan’s advertised bandwidth. You may not get the response you want, but you could also hit the jackpot and receive a free upgrade.
Is your ISP is too throttle-happy for your liking? You should look into other options by entering your zip code below.
Other reasons for slow internet
Beyond ISP throttling, there are plenty of reasons for slow internet.
First, check the health of your home network if you’ve already ruled out external factors like ISP throttling.
Second, your plan may not supply enough bandwidth to your household. As we rely on the internet more and more for everything from home security to entertainment, it’s easy to grow out of the internet plan you signed up for a few years ago.
If you’re not sure how much bandwidth you need, start with a speed test. We’ll give you a quick, personalized speed recommendation based on how you use your connection for.
How much speed do you need?
Author – Rebecca Lee Armstrong
Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.
Editor – Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she’s edited all things internet for for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she’s not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.