Heya everybody! Today I wanna talk a little bit about speedin’ up your Internet connection. This day and age, most folks are used to life at its top speed, thanks to various means of instant communication that relies on the Internet. That’s why there are very few things that are more frustrating than slow Internet. Believe me…it’s like a visit from your ex-girlfriend: painful, slow, and it basically turns your life into a living nightmare. Did ya know that often speeding up your Internet is just a simple question of upgrading your current plan or changing your service provider altogether?
However, sometimes even those things don’t work. Did’ya know that some folks who are even paying for high speed Internet access still deal with surprisingly slow Internet connection? Yea, I hear ya out there. It’s painful and really frustrating paying for something that just doesn’t work as advertised. Fortunately, ol’ Larry is here to talk about some ways to speed up your Internet without the hassle of having to change your ISP or headin’ to the store to shell out some of your hard-earned wages to buy a more powerful computer. So here are Larry’s tips on how to speed up your computer’s Internet connection without too much hassle.
1. Talk to your provider
Remember: the customer is always right! Simply call your Internet service provider and check whether they are doing their job properly and delivering all the services that you’re paying for. Maybe you’ve fallen off the radar by accident, or maybe your package is like me—you know, gettin’ a little old and outdated. Just a call to your provider to let them know who you are and what’s happenin’ might be enough that the company will upgrade you to a better plan. Heck, it might even be free, but even if it’s not, it’ll likely only cost a little pocket change for an upgrade charge.
Always bear in mind, though, that very few people getting service from an Internet provider are actually getting that top advertised speed (remember the words “up to” in your contract?) because of distance exchange, congestion, and traffic shaping.
2. Find the browser that works for you
If you’re like many other folks out there, you may still be using Internet Explorer, even though it’s not exactly the fastest browser out there. Hey, I know the deal – old habits are hard to break, right? However, ya need to know that if you’re an active Internet user (or wanna be one), it would be a really smart idea to check out some of the different browser options out there. There’s a ton of them out there (and most of them are free to boot), like: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, and even the less known Seamonkey or Maxthon. They’re all kinda like the Simpson Triplets – each one of them operates just a little but different! But, (again, just like the Simpson Triplets) to see which one works best for your connection type and your hardware configuration, you gotta give ’em each a try! For example, Chrome is particularly good for computers that are low on RAM, as the browser’s not as “memory hungry” as Firefox or IE.
3. Tweak your router
I know this sounds like something you might do to your pet pot-bellied pig, but, trust me here, it ain’t. It’s about a device that lotsa folks have in their home that helps route the flow of their Internet. If you are using a router, you can probably speed up your access to the Internet by simply adjusting a few router settings. Now, there are waaaaay too many routers for ol’ Larry to give each of you specific advice, but rest assured that most routers can be tweaked to open up ports and boost your Internet speed. To do that, you’ll need to check your router’s manual for things that can be done to “soup up” your particular performance. Ol’ Larry’s also found that using a couple of decent Google searches can really help to find answers for tweaking the speed settings on your particular router.
Hey – listen to Larry here! Before you do any tweaking, be sure to check whether your computer is close enough to the router. Being too far away from it can make the connection really slow and unstable. Another really good tip from ol’ Larry: before changing ANY settings you should restart your router. Sometimes this single, simple action can dramatically speed up your Internet connection. (It’s kinda like taking Castor Oil – sometimes, one little dab’ll do ya.)
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4. Prevent unauthorized access
No sharing (unless, o’ course, you want to)! If you are using a wireless Internet connection, you make darn sure that you are not sharing it with the whole neighborhood. If you don’t put a lock on the gate to your Internet connection, then nothin’s stopping anyone with a laptop, phone, or tablet in the area from coming right in! The more folks who’re using your connection, means the slower it is for you. So, unless you just wanna be a generous George and pay for Internet for the whole world, you need to, at the very least set up a WEP password to stop unauthorized users from slurping up all your Internet connection. Or if your hardware is compatible, set up WPA encryption – it’s even better! (If you’re not sure how to do this, some Google-fu will show you the way…)
5. Control your bandwidth usage
There ‘s a ton of applications that will actually use your bandwidth in the background, like Windows Update, Windows Live Messenger, Skype, Real Player, Adobe Reader updates, and a whole load of similar software. Most of them usually start automatically when you log on to Windows and automatically connect to the Internet as soon as there is a connection. They don’t ask you if this is okay when they do it – it just happens and you might not even realize it. So what does that mean for you? Well, ol’ Larry says it means one thing: less Internet love for you. That’s right, it means that these programs are using your bandwidth when you’re not actually using them.
Thankfully, most of these applications can be configured not to start on Windows logon, or to at least ask your permission to connect to the Internet. To ol’ Larry, that’s better, ’cause at least you’re back in the captain’s chair, if ya know what I mean. If you’re not sure which applications or processes are secretly consuming your precious network traffic and slurping up your Internet bandwidth, use the Task Manager to check.
If your Internet connection speed has dropped all of a sudden for no apparent reason, then take it from ol’ Larry – you need to check your computer for malware and spyware, and like YESTERDAY. Malicious software often uses your Internet connection to send information to its developers. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out that this ain’t a good thing either.
6. Perform some basic PC maintenance
If your computer is slow, it really doesn’t matter how fast your Internet connection is – everything will be slow because your computer just can’t cope. It’s like havin’ the meanest one legged dog in the block: it doesn’t much matter that he wants to chase the mailman more than any other dog around, ’cause he just can’t get a leg up! The answer to this problem is simply to keep your computer in tip-top shape and perform regular PC maintenance. You know, doing stuff like disk cleanup and defrag, registry repair, and other tasks like monitoring your startup items, and optimizing all those host of “invisible” Windows services. Doing this, believe it or not, will not only speed up your computer’s performance, but can also speed up your Internet connection. As you might imagine, there are a bunch of tools that will help you do the job, from the ones built-in to Windows itself, to complete powerhouse PC optimization suites that offer one-click maintenance. It’s just a matter of picking the tool that’s right for you.
Hope you’ve got something out of this piece that will help make your particular Internet connection at least a bit faster for ya. Let me know how it worked by commenting below. Till next time!