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How to Detect Internet Throttling by your ISP?

how to detect internet throttling ISP

Several factors can affect internet speed. Browsing during peak hours, exceeding your bandwidth limit, and using outdated internet equipment are some of the reasons behind slow internet speeds. But what if none of what’s been discussed so far is the reason behind you receiving slow internet speeds? Have you ever given it a thought?  

Wireless internet service providers sometimes intentionally cause lagging speeds. Yes, you heard that right. The phenomenon is known as internet throttling. It happens when your internet service provider intentionally causes your internet speeds to go down than you’re accustomed to. Knowing how to prevent it requires an understanding of the whole concept.  

What Is Internet Throttling?

As explained, internet throttling is the act of intentionally reducing your internet speed by your service provider. Throttling typically happens when you exceed your monthly bandwidth limit. In such a case, your ISP reduces your connection speed so that you are unable to access certain sites. The data cap is another word to describe the internet usage limit.  

Throttling is practiced by most internet service providers to prevent users from exhausting their data caps. However, it can be a source of nuisance for internet heavy users such as gamers, influencers, and content creators. Throttling usually leads to lagging speeds. You may experience buffering and delays due to your ISP throttling your connection.  

Is Internet Throttling Even Legal?

Yes, it is perfectly legal as long as you are getting the details of it on paper. The ISP is solely responsible for communicating internet throttling to the customer through fine print details. If you aren’t getting informed about the recurring practice, perhaps you should reach out to your internet service provider for clarification on the matter.  

Users do not opt for throttling. ISPs, on the other hand, inform consumers about throttling within fine print details. Most subscribers have no idea about throttling since it is something that is not part of the bargain with their ISPs. Suppose you are an Optimum user who has been experiencing throttling lately. Your ISP may provide you with the details on the printed version of your Optimum net pay bill.  

Why Do Providers Throttle Internet?

Between excess internet usage and high traffic congestion, multiple reasons could lead the provider to throttle the internet. Internet speeds tend to reduce during peak hours. Cable internet users may be familiar with the issue. That said, these reasons explain why throttling occurs in the first place:  

Excess Data Usage

Many internet companies put a monthly cap on data usage. Why? Because they want to prevent users from exhausting their mobile data plans. The provider starts throttling the connection the moment the user hits the internet usage limit. The purpose is to prioritize households that are within their data limits. That is the reason why throttling occurs in the first place.  

High Traffic

There’s no denying that the pandemic has put a strain on the internet. Traffic on local connections surged during the height of the virus spread. Because most of the people had been working from home, internet companies had to find ways to provide their services from shutting altogether. High usage could be another reason for the provider to reduce your connection speed.  

You are bound to experience throttling at some point. Internet connections such as the cable that involve sharing bandwidths with other users are prone to lagging speeds due to throttling. If you’re a cable internet user, you may experience throttling at any time of the day. Throttling allows companies to prevent their services from shutting down altogether.  

Prioritized Connections

Some providers take additional payments against prioritized internet access and speeds. For instance, a user decides to watch sports without cable. If the person has paid the ISP for prioritized access, they’ll get fast internet connections even during peak hours. That’s how prioritization works. You get something at the expense of others but only if you pay extra for it.  

Can I Detect If My Internet Is Being Throttled?

There are different ways to check if your internet connection is being throttled by the provider. They include running a speed test, using a VPN, and comparing the speed you are getting with the advertised speed. Let’s look at each one and see how it works:  

Speed Test

Perhaps the best way to check your internet speed is by doing a speed test. Make sure to run a speed test when your system is in the ideal model. That means no downloads in progress or applications running in the background. A great way is to run the speed test using an Ethernet cable on your laptop.  

Use a VPN

You ran the first speed test without a virtual private network. Now, for the second, use a VPN solution. Connect to your VPN and run the speed test. This way you’ll be able to tell whether throttling is taking place at certain times during a given day. It is worth mentioning here that some providers throttle speeds during internet-heavy streaming, gaming, or downloading.  

Check Out Advertised Speeds

Before you do that, make sure to compare the results of steps one and two. They use the results to draw a comparison with the speeds advertised by the provider. If you’re an Optimum internet user, you can look for advertised speeds on the provider’s website. Most providers offer equal or higher than advertised speeds.  


Internet users need to be clear on the impacts and consequences of internet throttling. Lagging speeds can affect streaming and gaming and disrupt business practices. If your connection is continuously being throttled, perhaps it is time to get yourself a new internet service provider. Don’t worry, the internet has dozens of options for you. Let us know what you think of throttling in the comments section below. 

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