Internet Throttling: Everything you Need to Know

Did you notice your internet has a tendency to sluggish down for no purpose? Is your internet connectivity fast for some applications and websites but slow with others? If so, you might experience throttling on the internet. It is something that some providers of internet services do. Read here how you can find out is your internet service provider ( ISP) is throttling your internet and how to avoid it.

Also Read: Ways to Help Protect Your Personal Information Online

What is internet throttling?

Internet throttling is the purpose of an Internet service provider ( ISP) to slow or speed up Internet service. It is a reactive measure used to enforce internet traffic and reduce bandwidth congestion in communication systems. Bandwidth throttling can take place at various network locations.

A system administrator can use bandwidth throttling on a local area network ( LAN) to help reduce congestion in the network, and server failures. On a broader level, the Internet service provider can utilize the throttling of the bandwidth to further minimize the user’s consumption of the bandwidth provided to the local network.

Slowdowns may also occur owing to heavy network traffic. The demands at peak hours may be greater than usual leads clogging up the bandwidth. It’s not something for which the ISP is responsible. Apart from not the network bandwidth and you can barely get around that.

Why ISPs do internet throttling? Is internet throttling illegal?

David Choffnes, assistant professor in the College of Computer and Information Science at Northeastern University said “Throttling often is done without users explicitly opting in, and disclosures are often in fine print, so many users may have no idea this is happening and may have no option to turn it off except to pay even more.” 

For a variety of reasons, Internet service providers are throttling speeds. Some internet initiatives emerge with limits on access to manage the monthly use of data. When customers hit this limit until the data cap revives, rather than cutting off the internet link entirely, providers significantly lower the internet speeds of a home to offer preference bandwidth to homes already under their data cap.

In most cases, internet throttling is completely legitimate as long as the provider tells the consumer.

How to know if you’re being throttled?

To check if your ISP is throttling your internet, you can run different tests. A regular internet speed test isn’t usually enough to know whether you’re being throttled. Remember that the ISP can make only a particular segment of internet traffic. 


  • Check your contract: It will tell you what internet speed you are getting for the money you’re paying. You also get to know about data caps and other pesky details that you are not considering important. 


  • Run Speed Test: For this purpose, you can use popular speed testing tools like the Ookla or something like this. This is to make your speed baseline. If it’s much less than the speed listed on the contract, then something is not correct. 
  • Install the Wehe app: It’s a speed testing application founded by Northeast University. Wehe tests the speed for several services. It also helps in researching net neutrality violations.


  • Do the test: This test is designed for Netflix that indicates if your ISP is throttling the internet for Netflix. 


  • Use the Internet Health Test: It is a complex test that indicates how much the speed evolves when your traffic transfers from one server to another server. A value of more than 25% can tell throttling.
  • Check the Google Video Quality: Less universal than the other tests. This will tell you what YouTube video quality you can anticipate and how other different local ISPs stack up against yours.

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