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This story is part of Top tipsCNET’s collection of practical tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

Your internet is suddenly slow. It may be due to it outdated router or a non-ideal location of the router. Your connection problems may only need a simple fix, for example network upgrade (which must also be placed in the correct location) or simply reboot your modem and router. But if you have already tried many proven methods and your internet speed is still low, the problem may be yours internet service provider does it on purpose. bandwidth absorption.

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Yes, you read that right. Your ISP may be slowing down your Wi-Fi on purpose. Because a 2019 of the Supreme Court when the court refused to hear the net neutrality challenge, ISPs can still legally throttle your internet, throttling your broadband if you stream more TV than they want and provide slower connections to sites owned by their competitors.

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One solution to slow Wi-Fi (if it’s due to internet outages) is to virtual private network
. Basically, ISPs need to see your IP address to slow down your internet, and a good vpn will protect that identity, although this has some limitations and downsides, which I’ll discuss below. We’ll walk you through how to tell if throttling is to blame, and if not, what to do to fix your crappy Wi-Fi. (You can also learn more about it how to get free Wi-Fi anywhere in the world.)

Step 1:

First, fix your slow internet connection

So your Wi-Fi is slow and you think your service provider is throttling your connection. Before jumping to those conclusions, it’s important to go through the usual troubleshooting list: Check that your router is in the center of your home, change its antennas, double-check your network security, and more. If you want to read about more ways to optimize your Wi-Fi, check out our suggestions.

If you’ve gone through the laundry list and your Wi-Fi is still slow, skip to the next step.

Screenshot: David Priest/CNET

Step 2:

Check your internet speed

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Step 3:

Find a reliable VPN

Screenshot: David Priest/CNET

Step 4:

Compare your speed with a VPN

Next, check your internet speed somewhere like Fast.com or Speedtest.net. Compare the results with the same test when your VPN is active. Using any VPN should significantly reduce your speed, so speed tests should show a discrepancy, with the VPN-active speed significantly slower than the VPN-inactive speed. But a VPN also hides the IP address that ISPs use to identify you, so if your speed test with a VPN faster than without a VPN, it could mean your ISP is targeting your IP address for suppression.

Screenshot: David Priest/CNET

Okay, this is the hard part. Even if you find that your provider is throttling your internet, there may not really be much you can do. Many people in the US live in regions with ISP monopolies or duopolies, so you may not be able to find a better provider. But here are some useful answers.

  • If you to do choose options, use the best provider in your region. Measurement Lab provides a good resource for finding information specific to your region that can guide you to a more reliable ISP.
  • Use your VPN to maintain more consistent speeds. A VPN can’t solve a bad connection or other reasons for your slow service, but it can alleviate pressure from unscrupulous ISPs.
  • Call your provider and threaten to switch providers if they don’t stop throttling your internet. This may sound old-fashioned, and I can’t guarantee consistent results, but providers have responded positively to such tactics when I’ve used them.

Read more about the best VPNs to use while working from homeis fastest VPNs and: VPNs you can try for free before buying. And here it is best high speed ISPs and: the best Wi-Fi extender for almost everyone.

Correction, February 10, 2020This article previously incorrectly attributed the 2019 net neutrality ruling to the Supreme Court, rather than the DC Circuit Court that decided the case. The Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal.

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