Information Technology

How Do I Know if My ISP Is Throttling My Internet?

Internet providers

The Internet has embedded itself in our lives so intricately that the modern world can barely operate without it. Our daily internet activities rely heavily on high-speed internet, but you may often notice that you don’t get the promised internet speeds at times. There could be many reasons for reduced internet speeds, such as using the internet during rush hours, faulty equipment, or insufficient bandwidth. Internet service providers throttling them is also one of the common reasons.

So, what is throttling? Why do internet providers throttle your internet? If you want to know whether your internet provider is throttling your internet or not, here is everything you need to know.

What is Throttling?

Internet throttling, also known as data or bandwidth throttling, is when your internet service provider deliberately limits your internet speed for one or more reasons. The majority of the ISPs throttle your internet without any prior notice, which could be frustrating as it could hinder your daily internet operations.

But do remember that a slow internet connection might not always be due to ISPs throttling your speeds. Therefore, it is recommended to do thorough research before jumping to any conclusions. If internet throttling is your issue, then there are several ways you can check to confirm this problem. But first, let’s look at the reasons for ISPs throttling an internet connection.

Why Do ISPs Throttle Internet Connection?

ISPs throttle your internet for several reasons, such as reducing the bandwidth congestion or enforcing some data limits. While throttling may frustrate you, it is not always a bad thing. If many users are dependent on the same cell tower, many ISPs claim that they throttle the internet to give equal bandwidth to every user.

Although throttling is not illegal if an ISP mentions it in the print details, it gets questionable if the ISP profits off it. Here are some of the most common reasons for ISPs throttling your internet connection:

Data Caps

Many ISPs offer their internet plans with monthly data limits. When you exceed the set limit, they dramatically reduce your internet speed instead of cutting the connection altogether. This way, ISPs balance the bandwidth between others and provide high-speed internet to them.

So, whether you are streaming, gaming, or even browsing the internet, every activity uses some amount of data. You can monitor your data usage as many ISPs offer an online portal for it, so you don’t exceed your set data limit. However, your speed might also get throttled if your internet activities are straining the network even though you are still within your data limit.

Some internet providers like Spectrum offer unlimited data. So, if you are a heavy internet user, you can always benefit from Spectrum internet plans.

Network Congestion

Internet throttling is another way to manage network traffic. Internet connections that involve bandwidth sharing, tend to get congested. ISPs use internet throttling to regulate the network traffic, providing equal bandwidth to other users.

Internet throttling is not a huge problem when it is done correctly. The main issue arises when ISPs target a specific area and users, which is against the core principles of net neutrality.

Paid Prioritization

Internet throttling is not always about regulating network traffic or setting data limits. Some ISPs throttle specific content or platforms because they get paid for it. Paid prioritization is when companies pay ISPs to prioritize their data over others. In simple terms, they get fast internet lanes while others are put in a much slower lane.

Paid prioritization is often used to discourage customers from using a certain platform. For example, an ISP might throttle platforms like Netflix or Amazon, to push their user toward other platforms. Fortunately, you can solve this issue by using VPNs.

How do you know if Your ISP is Throttling Your Internet?

Internet throttling might not always be the reason for your slow internet speeds. Certain factors contribute to it but if you still want to check, you can follow these simple steps.

Test Your Internet Speed

Testing your internet speed will give you an idea about whether you are getting the promised speed. You can use online speed testing tools to compare your internet speeds. Test your internet speed after directly connecting your Ethernet cord to your router or modem to get accurate results. It is also better to run multiple speed tests throughout the day to get an average as speed fluctuates.

Test Your Internet Speed With VPN

The next step is testing your internet speed with a VPN. This test will help you get an idea of whether your ISP is throttling your internet during specific times or activities. Although don’t be alarmed by a slight speed drop while using a VPN because it is normal. A VPN will give you accurate information about your internet speed. If you see a huge difference then your ISP is most likely throttling your internet.

How to Avoid Throttling?

There are certain ways you can avoid ISP internet throttling:

Pay Attention to Your Monthly Data Usage

If you are subscribed to a plan with a monthly data limit, monitor your usage to avoid exceeding that limit. As internet activities use data, avoid using heavy internet activities. You can also install a data tracking app to monitor your data usage.

Switch Your Internet Plan or ISP

If your current plan is providing insufficient data, you can always upgrade to a better plan. But if you are not satisfied with your ISP, switch to another reliable ISP. Depending on your location, there might be other ISPs with better plans. You should compare your internet requirements with the available ISPs plans before making a decision.

Use VPNs

If switching a provider is not feasible, you can always use a VPN to bypass throttling. VPN creates a secure and encrypted channel that helps you hide your IP address and avoid content-based throttling. However, some ISPs can detect your VPN and throttle your internet. So, make sure to use reliable VPNs.


Internet throttling can hinder your daily operations. Although internet throttling can be hard to detect, you can use the above-mentioned techniques to check your internet connection. Internet throttling might be annoying to deal with, but you can use certain tips to get around it. We hope this guide highlighted the techniques to check whether your internet is being throttled, and how you can avoid that.

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