Having a slow internet connection can be frustrating, especially in today’s world where we want access to everything blazingly fast. A slow connection might have been acceptable 20 or 30 years ago but nowadays we rely on the internet for all our daily online activities and a lagging internet connection will not only upset you but also hinder your success if you have an online business for example.
In this post, I am going to talk about 10 simple things you can do to immediately optimize your Windows 10 internet speed as well as 10 advanced steps in case the former do not solve your problem. Starting with the essentials is necessary because, most of the time, solutions to internet connection issues are a few simple steps away while, in certain scenarios, some additional tweaking is required.
With that said, let us get right into it:
10 simple steps to optimize Windows 10 internet speed
1. Restart your router
The first thing you want to do when you encounter Internet connectivity problems is restarting your router, which will most of the time alleviate the problem and you should be good to go within a few minutes. Unplugging the router from 10 to 30 minutes is needed. Wait at least for 2 minutes before plugging your router back in as the router needs some time to reconfigure itself. Alternatively, you can unplug your router during night time allowing your router to not only start fresh in the morning, but it will also lead to a much healthier sleep since WiFi signals are radioactive and can cause sleep turbulences and eventually, health problems over an extended period. Turning your internet off completely when you do not need it, therefore has double benefits.
2. Restart your computer
By now, you should have understood the benefit of restarting electrical devices, including your computer. If restarting the router does not help, restarting the computer is the next crucial step you owe to take. Most connectivity issues can be solved by applying those two steps. Restarting your PC will put everything back into place and could be the reason why you are experiencing either a problematic or non-existent internet connection.
3. Troubleshoot connectivity problems
If restarting the router does not do the trick and your connection looks stable, but you still cannot go online, it is time for some Windows troubleshooting. Right-click on the WiFi (or Ethernet) icon in the down-right corner and click on”Troubleshoot Problems.” Windows should automatically detect the problem and fix it. If the problem insists, take a look at the next step.
4. Reset your router
If restarting and troubleshooting do not solve the problem, resetting the router should, in most cases, do precisely that. Take a thin pen or a pencil and locate the reset switch on the back of your router. Press it continuously for ten seconds, and the router should restore factory settings. Just remember that after the reset your WLAN name and password will get back to factory settings as well. Once your connection is established, you need to log back into your router’s interface (we will talk about that later) and change the name and password again.
5. Check cables and splitters
If you still have no internet connection after taking all these steps, you should do a hardware check. Disconnect all the wires and filters and look for hardware damages. Once you are certain that everything is functioning correctly, reconnect all the cables and splitters according to your router’s manual. Either a cable or a splitter could be connected falsely. If someone had recently done the wiring for you and you experience problems since then, connect everything again to take that possibility out of the equation.
6. Use an Ethernet cable
At this stage, your internet should be up and running ( if not check my 10 advanced tips below). However, if you are dissatisfied with the connection speed and you connect via WiFi, it is a good idea to try to connect via an Ethernet cable. WiFi is extremely convenient because it does not require any wires and you can connect any device via WiFi, but there is no better way of ensuring optimal connection speeds than hardwiring your central computer with the router through an Ethernet cable. Once you are connected, go over to www.speedtest.net and see if the results you are getting are any better than your WiFi speed and you are closer to the rates you are supposed to have according to your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
7. Disconnect your VPN service
VPNs are extremely useful and necessary for hiding your online activities, and actual IP address and you should always use a paid VPN service for reasons I explain here. Nevertheless, the main drawback of a VPN is that it drags down your internet speed, mainly because it redirects all your online activities (browsing, downloading, watching Youtube, etc.) through an encrypted tunnel for additional protection. Since all your information is being redirected this might have the effect of slowing down your internet speed substantially.
Check out the best and cheapest VPN service, at this link.
Disconnect from your VPN and rerun speedtest to see if it proves beneficial to your internet speed. If it is, you might want to change your VPN server and find one that is closer to your location or the least loaded server of the country you want to connect to. Tweaking the VPN settings could also help in optimizing your internet connection since many settings are of little use but keep dragging down your connection.
8. Try out a new router
ISP providers sometimes have poor performing routers that may be free of charge but can severely underperform. It is recommended to try out a premium router. If you do not have one lying around, ask a friend to come over with their router and see if you witness any performance improvements. An affirmative answer should be a reminder to switch routers. I remember changing my free router with a TP-Link router, and I did not regret my decision or money since my connection was solid and still is to this day. At least now you know that your problem cannot be traced back to faulty hardware.
9. Update BIOS and Firmware
As unrelated as it might sound, updating your computer’s BIOS is essential for the overall performance of your device and an outdated BIOS version can even affect internet speed among everything else. It cannot hurt to update your BIOS and see if it yields any positive results. To check your current BIOS version, right-click on the Windows icon, click on Windows Powershell (Admin) and type in this command: “wmic bios get smbiosbiosversion.” Then head over to your manufacturer’s website and download the latest BIOS version for your device, and install it if your version is outdated.
10. Contact Your Internet Service Provider
If you still have connection problems, but you do not feel confident applying some more advanced steps as described below, contact your ISP and ask them to troubleshoot your connection. It could be the case that the problem is on their part, but if the problem is on your part, 99% of the time they will prompt you to apply the six first steps described above. If even your ISP cannot solve the issue, it is worth considering changing your ISP to one that can guide you through problems like this. I never trust any ISP who cannot or is not willing to provide me with some advanced troubleshooting steps besides just restarting my devices and performing a hard-boot.
10 advanced steps to optimize Windows 10 internet speed
Once through the essentials, it is time to dive into some more advanced troubleshooting techniques that you can use to fix or optimize your internet connection. Note that these steps do not require any excessive technical skills besides the willingness to change a few parameters in the Windows interface. With no further ado, let us get right into it:
1. Change the DNS settings
A DNS is your gateway between different IP addresses. The DNS checks whether the address you entered in your browser is functioning correctly. For example, try to enter www.youtube.net in the address bar. This will result in an inability of connecting to Youtube since the actual address is www.youtube.com. The DNS is responsible for redirecting and prompting you to correct IP address. Without the Domain Name System (DNS), IP addresses would be unable to connect to each other, and we would, ultimately, be unable to browse the web.
Sometimes the DNS gets corrupted or is not working as needed. Manually changing the DNS could be the solution here. Right click on the internet icon and click on “Open Network and Internet Settings.” Click on “Network and Sharing Center”<“Change Adapter Settings.” Right click on either “Ethernet” or “WiFi” (depends on how you connect to the internet)<“Properties”<Internet Protocol 4 (TCP/IPv4). After following these steps, you will be greeted with a window with five boxes, three above and three below. In the below boxes, you can choose whether to “obtain a DNS server automatically” or “use the following DNS server address.” Choose the latter and type in the following numbers in the rows: “126.96.36.199” and “188.8.131.52”. This should do the trick. If not, download a free utility called DNS Benchmark which will automatically detect the optimal DNS servers in your region.
2. Reset your TCP/IP and flush your DNS
Often, manually resetting your IP and flushing your DNS again could be the solution. It is pretty straightforward and easy to do. Open up Windows Administrator or Powershell by right-clicking on the Windows icon and choosing Windows PowerShell or Administrator (right click and select “Run as Administrator”). Once the new window pops up, type in the following commands in order:
- ipconfig /flushdns
- ipconfig /registerdns
- ipconfig /renew
- netsh int ip reset
These simple commands should be able to fix your connection problem.
3. Re-configure your router’s internet settings
You have nothing to lose by logging into your router’s interface and re-configuring your internet connection. While resetting your router should do that automatically, sometimes you need to configure it manually. This step requires that you know your internet connection credentials provided by your ISP. Once you have your username and password, log into your router’s interface and set up your internet connection from scratch. Manually doing it can be a lifesaver. Again, if you are not confident doing it, contact your ISP and let them do it for you.
4. Optimize your computer’s power settings
Having set your power settings to “Balanced” instead of “High Performance” can cause your computer to go into “power-saving mode” affecting even your internet connection. Changing your power settings and turning off any power saving features could take care of your connectivity issue. First, we need to get into the Windows 10 setting interface. Click on the square notification icon and down right corner and click on “All Settings.” Once in the Windows Settings go to “System”<“Power & Sleep.” In the upper Screen options, choose your screen to “Never” turn off while plugged-in. In the “Sleep” options below, choose “Never” for both brackets. Then click on “Additional Power Settings” on the right and choose “High Performance” instead of “Balanced.”
Then head over to “Change when the computer sleeps”<“Change advanced power settings” and turn off any power-saving features. Get back to the Power Options tab and click on “Choose what the power buttons do”<“Change settings that are currently unavailable” and unclick all boxes. You do not want your computer to go into hibernation or sleep mode. Do not forget to click on “Save Changes.”Besides your internet connection, this could also affect your computer’s performance in general.
5. Turn off your network’s power saving features
Turning off your network’s power saving features is an often overlooked step which can drastically hinder your network’s performance. Follow this path to change your network’s power saving features: “Right click on the internet icon<Open Network & Internet Settings<Network and Sharing Center<Change adapter settings<Right click on your actual connection (Ethernet or WiFi)<Properties<Configure<Power Management and unclick “Allow this computer to turn off this device to save power”. Then head back to the “Advanced” tab and turn off any power saving features like “Wake-on LAN,” for example. These steps will tell your computer to not turn off your connection for power-saving purposes. Frequent disconnections might be attributed to the fact that your WiFi or even computer is on power-saving mode.
6. If you are on WiFi, log into your router and change WiFi channels
Ethernet is by far the best option to connect to the internet, but if you are reliant on WiFi, you should check what WiFi channels your neighbors are on and then choose a different WiFi channel to not interfere with them and have a flawless wireless connection. The best way to do that is to download and run a free program, called WiFiInfoView, which you can download HERE. This program will automatically recognize surrounding WiFi signals and tell you statistics like PHY type, signal quality, frequency as well as the channel these networks are on. It is only worth choosing between three channels: 1, 6 and 11. If your neighbors are on channel 1 change to 6 or 11, if they are on 6 and 11, change to 1 and see if that helps. It is a good idea to switch to each channel and check the connection speed individually.
7. Change your WiFi frequency to 5 GHz
Most routers nowadays support both 2,4 and 5 GHz WiFi frequencies. The ideal situation would be a router that supports both frequencies simultaneously and recognizes each frequency as a separate connection. If this is not the case, try logging into your router and choosing the 5 GHz frequency over the traditional 2,4 GHz. The 5 GHz frequency is being less used and therefore is a better choice for a more stable connection. The problem is that its range is limited, so if the distance to your WiFi router is an issue for you, stay on the 2,4 GHz frequency and play with the channels as mentioned above.
8. Re-install and update network drivers
Re-installing network drivers do not require any technical skills but are extremely useful if you are facing connectivity problems. If all the above steps do not work for you and you are suffering from a slow or dead connection, re-installing the drivers might do the trick. To do that, right click on the Windows icon and click on “Device Manager.” Head over to “Network Adapters” and uninstall the Realtek Family Controller and the WiFi Driver. Restart your computer. In case it worked, Windows 10 will automatically install the default drivers. In case it does not work, it would be a good idea to download the latest drivers from the manufacturer’s website before attempting to remove the already installed drivers and install them. Updating drivers is a crucial step and programs like Driver Booster, and Driver Easy will assist you in identifying missing or outdated drivers.
9. Make sure that all Network services are up and running
If your computer cannot find any networks or does not connect properly, the chances are that some vital background processes have stopped running. Your task is to get them up and running again manually. To do that, right click on the Windows icon again and click on “Run.” Then, in the search bar type “services.msc”, which will open up the Windows Services interface. There you want to find the following services and see if they have stopped operating:
- Network Connected Devices Auto-Setup
- Network Connections
- Network List Service
- Network Location Awareness
- Network Store Interface Service
All these services need to be running automatically every time the computer initiates. To start those services manually double-click on each of them, select “Automatic” at the Startup type and at the “Service status” choose “Running” and then hit “Apply” and “OK.”
10. Should nothing work, contact your ISP immediately
With these basic and advanced steps, 99% of network connectivity problems should be lifted. If the problem still refuses to fix itself, there is nothing left to be done but to contact your ISP as there is a high chance that the problem has nothing to do with either your hardware configuration or software settings and the problem is with your ISP.
Optimizing your internet connection can be time-consuming
Having encountered and solved many internet connectivity problems, I can assure that the problem usually can be tackled with a few basic steps like restarting the router, computer or performing a router hard reboot. In some instances, however, the problem can drag on and take up many hours of fixing and trying out things. Sometimes the solution is in updating the BIOS or the router’s firmware, and at times the computer’s power saving options are to blame. In any case, optimizing Windows 10 internet speed can be extremely time-consuming and something that even the ISP cannot help you entirely with. It is always useful to know a few tricks yourself and apply them immediately. I always have the mentality of trying out things myself before relying on external help.
I hope that my Windows 10 internet optimization guide will prove to be useful to you someday when you encounter such problems. If you would like me to add anything to that list or just would like to leave a comment down below, feel free to do so. What is your worst experience with your internet connection? Let me know in the comment section below.
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