How to Increase Your Download Speed

fastfiletransferYour Internet download speed depends largely on your basic Internet connection service plan. That said, there are some ways of optimizing your Internet connection to help increase your download speed. Some methods work by devoting more bandwidth and connections to the files that you want to download. You can also boost download speed by connecting to the Internet through a HTTP proxy, Socks 5 Proxy, or a secure VPN tunnel.

In this article we will discuss 7 different possibilities that could be affecting your download speed, and what you can do about it.

1. Use a Virtual Private Network


A virtual private network allows users to connect securely to the Internet. VPN servers offer more Internet bandwidth than ordinary ISP connections. Some VPN servers, such as IronSocket, even provide unlimited bandwidth to users. Be sure to choose a VPN server that is closest to your physical location located on our Network page.

The reason this can increase your internet speed is because our VPN servers are on a very fast connections directly connected to the internet, like your ISP. The server is able to download the file fast, while sending it on to you as fast as your connection allows for.

When using the VPN option, remember that your entire internet connection will be encrypted, not just your download.

2. Check for Viruses and Other Malware


Perform a thorough scan of your PC, laptop or smartphone. You can also be experiencing a slower download speed because of certain virus applications that suck most of your Internet bandwidth. These viruses and malware more often than not will connect to the internet and use your connection for activities you will never know about, but you will notice a constant unexplainable slowdown of your internet speed.

If you do not have an antivirus, download an effective one, if you do not have one installed on the PC. Read some client reviews before selecting the antivirus application. After installing the program, search for the latest virus definitions and updates. Restart your PC after installing the updates. Perform a complete virus scan of the PC. Use an anti-malware application to detect and remove malware on your PC. In addition to viruses, other malware can also be impacting your Internet download speed. In many cases new antivirus programs also detect and remove malware.

If you do have an Antivirus or anti-malware program installed, be sure to check it is functioning properly. If you are uncertain, it may be a good idea to re-install a new copy of the software just to make sure. One good free antivirus option to consider using is AVG Free.

3. Disable Browser Add-ons and Toolbars


Most browser add-ons and toolbars need an active Internet connection to perform their activities. These programs can consume a lot of Internet bandwidth, and are potentially malware. Disable unknown add-ons, extensions, and toolbars on every Internet browser to experience a boost in download speed. This also includes many “search” related toolbars.

Tip: A lot of software these days try to bundle a Browser Toolbar/Extension during the installation process. Usually the option to install the Toolbar is pre-checked, and sometimes you have to click “Cancel” to bypass the installation of the Toolbar, and continue installing the program (they make it confusing by having to press cancel, because the installation still continues). Be sure to take your time when installing new software and not accidentally install a Toolbar/Extension/Add-on that you do not want. Also check your existing installed Toolbars/Addons/Extensions and disable or uninstall the ones you do not know about.

4. Use a Download Accelerator

Free Download Manager Log

A download accelerator (aka download manager) boosts Internet speed by downloading a file in multiple pieces with multiple connections. For instance, using Free Download Manager as an example, it will break files in up to 10 separate pieces, and download each piece separately through its own connection, and piece the file back together when all of the pieces are downloaded. If a file is 10mb in size, it will break it up into 10x 1mb pieces, and download faster.

We recommend using the HTTP proxy option in Free Download Manager to maximize your download speeds. Go to “Options” -> “Settings” then “New Download” on the left. Next click on “Advanced” and select the “Proxy” tab. Screenshot is below of what you should be seeing:

Pick a server IP address closest to you (from our Network page) and use port 443 with the server IP address you choose. Make sure “HTTP” is selected as the protocol in the drop down menu. You will not need to use a username and password, but you will need to make sure you Login and authorize your IP address if it is not already authorized.

Free Download Manager also allows you to pause a download. In this way, you can pause other activity when you need to download a particular file quickly, and then resume your download when ready to resume your download. Make sure that “Yes” is showing next to “Resume Support,” or else this will not work.

5. Update and Configure Hardware

By updating hardware, such as network device drivers, you can witness an increase in download speed. Many times slow downloads occur on old computers with a slow CPU and a low amount of RAM. If you do have an old computer, for example, that is a single core processor, under 2Ghz in speed, and around 1GB or RAM or less, chances are likely that your hardware is slowing you down, and you may want to consider upgrading to a new computer.

Another option is to make sure that your router is configured to allow maximum Internet speed by checking the value of its Max Transfer Unit, or MTU, in bytes, per packet. Tp-Link has a great article on the subject here. Every router and device are different for configuration, but the concept is that each kind of internet connection has a max value for the size of a packet. The average consensus is that 1492 bytes is the golden number, but each MTU situation is unique.

6. Pause or Close Video or Audio Streaming Tabs

When your focus is to download a file fast, it is important to disable everything else that is also using bandwidth, like streaming media. Media files are usually large in size. Video and audio streaming activities consume a lot of Internet bandwidth, and that will slow down your downloads.

Nowadays the behavior of streaming sites, like YouTube, is to keep streaming (downloading) the data when you hit Pause after pressing Play. In this case you will want to close that tab to stop the download completely. If you have not pressed Play or whatever button to start the stream, usually it will not start streaming automatically, but that depends on a per site basis. So the bottom line to make it easier, close any media streaming tabs before downloading.

An alternative to streaming is using a program called YouTubeDownloader which allows you to download and save YouTube and other media from various streaming sites.

7. Change your Internet Connection


You are only going to have an internet speed as fast as your connection allows you to have. Yes, this sounds like some circular logic, but it’s true. If your internet speed is rated for 1Mb/second, then don’t expect to get 10Mb/second from trying any of the tweaks listed above. This article is meant to help you get the most bandwidth out of your current connection, and not to magically double your bandwidth.

If none of these combinations of methods work, then you should consider upgrading or changing your Internet Service Provider. Also, if you are connected through a wireless device, such as WiFi stick, then you should consider switching to broadband Internet, which is known to be relatively faster and more cost-effective than most other Internet connections. If you are using a WiFi router, consider using a cable if possible, to eliminate any possible wireless signal interference.

Lastly, if you have any more suggestions, additions, or questions, please leave a comment and we’ll respond ASAP!

About Dan Johnson

Dan has been involved with computers in the early 1990s with a 2400 baud dialup modem. Since then, he has been working on various internet projects for over a decade and makes a conscience effort to inform others about staying safe on the internet. Currently he works with IronSocket and some other online side projects, when not hiking through the pine forests around his house.

  • ThisAnonRighthere

    Pretty good article. Informative, and I agree with all of it. I’m especially careful with what I click and install, the bundled software packages are getting increasingly sneakier and more tricky to avoid.

    A download manager is always a good call too

  • Shizue Bright

    Thought-provoking ideas ! I am thankful for the facts ! Does someone know where my company might get ahold of a fillable Immunize P2022 document to edit ?