Slow internet can be the universe’s way of encouraging you to go outside and play. Sometimes it’s the universe’s cruel joke on you, designed to sabotage your productivity. When your usually-trusty browser displays the dreaded “Server not found” notice, you’re racing down the internet superhighway, getting things done. Argh! So, what’s next? That’s what you should do: roll up your sleeves and start debugging. Here’s what to do if your internet connection goes down or starts acting weird.
Here are some suggestions for troubleshooting, repairing, or simply surviving a poor internet connection.
Check Your Speeds (and Your Plan)
Because you’re only paying for sluggish internet, your internet can be slow at times. Find out what plan you have by going to your provider’s website (or calling them). Then go to Speedtest.net and perform a speed test. If the figures match what you’re paying for, your network is in good working order, and you’re just paying for slow internet, which you can speed up by upgrading. (However, some of the tactics listed below will help you gain a little more speed.)
Troubleshoot Your Hardware:
Give your modem and router a short reset (that is, turn them off and on again) and see if it helps before bashing your internet provider. Check the internet speeds of your other computers in the house; if the problem only affects one computer, the issue is with that macbook, not with your network or modem. Check to see if there’s a hardware issue. After that, once you’ve fixed (or replaced) your router or modem, you’ll be able to browse quickly once more.
Fix Your Wi-Fi Signal
If you use WiFi, you may find that your router and internet are working properly, but your wireless connection is weak, causing a lag. In that scenario, you may need to use a few strategies to optimize and increase your router. Check out how to fix your wi-fi if you detect an issue with the wireless signal.
Turn Off Bandwidth-Hogging Plugins and Apps
Which services use the most bandwidth?
Check to verify if any other apps are hogging the connection if your hardware appears to be in good working order. If you’re downloading files with BitTorrent, for example, regular web browsing will be slower. You should also try installing Adblock Plus or FlashBlock, which will block some of the bandwidth-hogging advertising, animations, and videos that can slow down your connection. File-syncing services such as Google Drive, Dropbox, and OneDrive may be transferring files in the background, consuming bandwidth, and slowing down your internet connection. Quit or pause those applications if you find them moving files. While you’re doing something less web-intensive, computers frequently download critical updates in the background. You can set your computer to inform you before downloading any updates, and install them while you’re not using it, such as in the middle of the night or while you’re at work. These changes are unlikely to solve all of your problems, but they can make a slow connection more workable.
Try a New DNS Server:
When you type an address into your browser, your computer looks it up and converts it to a computer-friendly IP address via DNS. However, the servers that your computer utilizes to look up that information can occasionally have problems or go down completely. Learn how to locate the quickest and most secure DNS servers. If your usual DNS servers aren’t having issues, switching to a different server won’t make much of a difference — but it might speed up your surfing by a few milliseconds at the very least.
Optimize Your Web for a Slow Connection:
Troubleshooting slow internet can take a long time, and you still need to browse in the interim. Perhaps you’re in a coffee shop or on a plane, and you have little control over your modest speeds. In that scenario, use mobile or HTML versions of your favorite sites, block graphics, and use technologies like Opera Turbo to optimize your web for a slower connection. In fact, we advocate setting up a secondary browser on your laptop for precisely such an occasion – it can make all the difference when working on a poor connection. The Google Data Saver Extension uses the company’s servers to compress browsing data before it reaches you.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to restore your internet speeds swiftly and painlessly. If not, at the very least, attempt to put a positive spin on it: Slow internet may potentially increase your productivity if your work does not require a lot of bandwidth. After all, if it takes a minute for Facebook to load, you’re much less inclined to take a “short break” (that develops into an hour-long photo-fest) when you should be working on that term paper.