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.
If you're regularly frustrated by your slow connection then read our top tips to help speed things up.
Improve your wi-fi signal
If you've got more than one phone socket in your house, if possible connect your broadband router or ADSL modem to the primary telephone socket (the one that your external phone line connects to directly).
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. If you use a wireless connection, you could increase your broadband speed by minimizing the number of blocks between the wireless router and your PC or laptop.
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 reviews of the best broadband providers.
Watch your broadband router distance
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.
If you connect the router or modem directly to a computer with a cable, use the shortest cables you can. Ethernet cables will be more efficient than USB cables.
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, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and all other popular browsers undergo frequent updates.
Make sure you're up-to-date with the latest versions of your preferred browsers – outdated versions might mean slower download speeds.
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.
Change your router to boost broadband speed
Upgrading your wireless broadband router could make a difference to the speed of your broadband connection, especially if your current router is a few years old.
As a smaller fix, you could also try replacing the router's aerial – the longer the aerial, the better the signal and the further its reach.