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How to avoid ISP throttling


An ISP is an Internet Service Provider. These providers have the ability to throttle your internet, which in the modern world is extremely inefficient. Due to net neutrality rules, in many places throttling is unlawful. For example in 2018 phone companies Three and Vodafone were investigated due to throttling claims. However, throttling can be avoided through means such as a free VPN download. This article will explore both of these topics in further detail, beginning with a more in depth explanation of what ISP throttling is.

What is throttling?

ISP throttling refers to the process of internet service providers deliberately slowing down the speed of their client’s internet. This in turn applies a limitation to the bandwidth you can reach on specific websites. For clients who majoritarily use the internet for actions like streaming and gaming (actions which require a large bandwidth) throttling can be severely frustrating and inconvenient.

What is ISP throttling?

To identify whether you are being throttled, you can use a VPN and conduct an internet speed test. This test is offered by a number of websites and all you need to do is enter your ping, download speed, and upload speed. After noting these down, you repeat the process with a VPN. If your internet speed is slower without the VPN whilst using the same websites then it is clear you have been throttled.

However, there are a multitude of reasons as to why your internet speed is slow, aside from throttling. These reasons include: too many tabs being used at once, your router needs to be updated, the network is congested, your software requires updating, you are using the internet at prime hours, or you are performing large bandwidth activities.

How to check if you have been throttled

Key signs to look for when you are suspicious of throttling: specific websites/services are slower in comparison to others, download speeds are slower than usual, videos constantly buffer or lag, certain websites have been blocked or are completely nonfunctional.

How to check ISP throttling

If you are still uncertain about whether you have been throttled then here are some other ways to check:

  • Conduct a free internet health test online
  • Conduct a blocked ports test. If a port is flagged as rejected then this can be an indicator of throttling.

Throttling happens because of four main reasons. The first is that you may have reached a data cap on your internet usage, so your ISP is trying to get you to stop. The second is that you repeatedly visit the same sites, which may flag up on your ISPs system. The third is that the ISP has reached its limited bandwidth and is throttling you to ensure more consistent services for customers. Finally is the fact that some ISPs also run streaming services and are throttling their competitors as part of customer outreach strategies.

How can ISP throttling be avoided?

The most commonly recommended way of avoiding/surpassing throttling is the use of a VPN. VPNs are virtually private networks which obscure the IP addresses of its users. This consequently prevents ISPs from accessing information about your browsing data and also cannot see your identity, thus preventing them from being able to throttle your internet usage. Other recommendations center data usage. To begin with, it is suggested that you search for an ISP provider with a higher data cap. The second is that users monitor their data usage to avoid being throttled. For those who are reluctant to use VPN and don’t want to change their data usage or ISP then there is the availability of a Proxy. Proxies are servers which act as intermediaries for internet requests. Proxies simultaneously revert restrictions whilst enabling users to use the internet anonymously. This is achieved through its concealing of IP addresses. However, it is notable that Proxies are less secure than VPNs. This is because VPNs encrypt all web traffic which stems from your device, whilst Proxies contrastingly redirect traffic from your device. Ultimately, with a Proxy your web traffic remains unsecured, yet this factor also allows for Proxies to function quicker than VPNs do.

VPN avoid ISP throttling

Now that ISP throttling has been defined, and the ways it can be avoided have been established, things should be much clearer. If you are still uncertain about throttling, below are some frequently asked questions and their answers.


Is throttling illegal?

Throttling’s legality varies based upon where it occurs, as laws on internet privacy tend to vary. A recent case disputing its legality centers the Federal Communications Commission which is attempting to fine AT&T $100 million for throttling.

How can throttling be stopped without a VPN?

Without a VPN, throttling can be stopped through the use of proxies or by changing ISP. Equally, you may want to stick with the same ISP but simply upgrade your plan to allow for more data usage. This, of course, costs money, whilst proxies and VPNS are available for free.

How can I tell if my ISP is throttling me?

You can test your internet speed, conduct a port scanner test, or compare your speed to a VPN.


To conclude, ISP throttling is when internet service providers deliberately slow the speed of your internet connection. Throttling in turn limits the bandwidth which can be accessed by users, particularly impacting things like gaming and streaming. Using a VPN is one of the most recommended ways of telling whether you have been throttled, and this method is referred to as an internet speed test. Another way is to conduct a blocked ports test. However it is important to know that your internet merely being slow does not necessarily  indicate throttling. Slow internet can be caused by a variety of factors, such as too many tabs being opened at once or the network being congested. To avoid throttling, you can use VPNs, proxies, or attain a larger data gap.

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