Last Updated February 28th, 2017

So you want to learn how to increase your download speed?

Recently my area got upgraded to the National Broadband Network and with it my speeds increased quite a lot.

It was interesting seeing how this increased the amount of work we could get through – whether it was sending files, downloading and uploading images to blogs, or just loading new pages to read.

But I was also shocked at how much extra speed I could get through my line by tweaking a few things around my house, computer and the router itself.

In this post I am going to show you a few ways you can increase your download speed. Hopefully something in this article is useful to you.

Disclosure – This post contains some affiliate links. I’ll let you know which ones they are below. If you purchase a product through one of those links I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend services I’ve used and love. If this bothers you feel free not to use the link.

How to test your current internet speed

The first thing you will need to do is test your current internet speed. This will let you know whether or not you are getting a lower rate than you should be. You can do this by going to and running a test. Here are my results.

internet speed test

Look at those speeds! Well, sort of…

This is actually a screenshot of the speed I get when I’m tethering my mobile to my laptop. Unfortunately my home WiFi speeds are not as fast as this because, well, because of Australia.

What do MBps and Mbps mean and why does it matter?

Okay, so, some boring but important stuff here. People often say megabytes when they mean megaBITS. And visa versa. But there is a big difference.

MBps = megabytes
Mbps = megabits

So, if you refer to my speed test above you will see that I am getting 11.53 Mbps per second. To find out how many megabytes that is you just divide by 8 which equals 1.44 MBps.

Now, 1 MB is equal to 1024 KB (kilobytes) so if you want to know how fast you are going to able to download a song or movie you should refer to the KB or MB per second rate as that is usually what they are measured in.

For example, if you are downloading a 50 MB file at 1 MB per second it will take you just under 50 seconds.

Got it?

On a sidenote, we recently updated our “how to start a blog” guide with acionable insights. Do check it out and let us know your feedback.

Download faster: How to speed up your internet

Now let’s dive into a few ways that you can improve your internet speed.

Remember, some Internet companies advertise huge speeds as a theoretical “potential” but in reality you will never get near it. Email or call your ISP and ask them what is actually attainable in your area so that you don’t spend heaps of time trying to get a speed that just isn’t possible.

1. Test a different modem/router

The biggest cause of slowed down internet is a bad modem. For ages I was using a Billion modem that I thought was absolutely fantastic. I was having frequent internet drop outs and blaming them on my ISP. Finally I changed to a new NETGEAR N150 modem and speeds went up and the drop outs stopped. The problem? The old Billion modem wasn’t equipped for ADSL2+. Rookie mistake. Make sure your modem is suited to the internet plan that you are on.

netgear D6300

Update: I’m now using the default modem provided by the National Broadband Network which is automatically configured to work on that system. Again, you just want to make sure that your router is compatible with your plan.

2. Scan for viruses

The next thing you need to do is make sure that no virus itself is causing you to slow down. Sometimes viruses can live on your computer and suck resources away from what you are doing thus slowing down your speeds.

3. Check for on-system interference

Sometimes your virus scanner or other programs can interfere with your internet speeds. This is really frustrating but you can figure out by simply switching things off one at a time and then running a speed test again. Please note I won’t be responsible for any viruses or spyware you pick up whilst doing this. You should always have good virus protection.

4. Check your filters

If you have your internet connected to a phone line that also has a telephone on it then you will need to make sure you have good quality filters installed on your line. These are little plugs that you attach to the phone line and they help filter out the disturbances. Here is a photo of one of mine.

phone line filter

Now, these also need to be different for the different types of internet. If you have ADSL2+ or cable make sure you have the appropriate filter.

5. Try getting rid of your cordless phone

Some people disagree with this but I have found that cordless phones slow down or interfere with my internet even with filters. It is worth doing an isolation test by removing your phones and replacing them with different ones (borrow a friend’s) and see whether you get better results.

6. Plug in

Wifi is nice but wireless internet is often a tad slower than if you plug in to your modem. Try getting that chord out of the box and plugging straight into the modem, especially if it is your desktop computer and you don’t need to move it around very often.

7. Check for external interference

I bet most of you have an iPhone, iPad, sound system and at least one other form of electronic device in your modem area. Am I right? Well, if so, then you need to check to see whether these things are causing electromagnetic interference. Try moving speakers out of the way and getting other electronic devices out of your modem space.

8. Check for Foxtel or other types of TV

Old Foxtel boxes can cause interference for your internet, even if you aren’t using them. If your net speed is slower than it should be and you can’t figure out why, it might be an idea to go for a walk around your house and see if you have a Foxtel (cable TV) box that you didn’t know was there. It could be from a past owner. If so, call up and make sure it is disconnected totally.

9. Shorten and replace cables

The length of your cables and their structure can affect speeds. Try replacing old phone cables, sockets and lines and instead use shorter and newer ones. This can often make a big difference.

10. Have you tried turning it off and on again?

The last suggestion is often the most powerful one. Turn off your modem for one minute and turn it on again. It is called power cycling and can often flush out a bunch of problems that affect your speed. If you are really brave you can even reconfigure your modem with a new password as this can often refresh your settings at the end of your ISP and refresh connections.

11. Update firmware and software regularly

Your router/modem actually has it’s own software that you need to update regularly. You can login to your modem by following your brand’s instructions. For example, for a NETGEAR modem you go to where you can update and tweak your settings. You also need to consider updating your computer’s desktop version, operating system, etc. as often the wireless settings become less compatible over time.

12. Find your router/ISP’s best settings

When you login to your modem/router (see point 11) you will see a bunch of settings relating to channels and so on. Sometimes these settings are not on the best option by default and you’ll need to update them based on the types of devices you use, etc. Check out your router and ISP’s website for the best settings.

13. Check the cabling and do a line test

If all of this fails it’s time to contact your Internet Service Provider and modem company and ask them for a line test and investigation. This may mean that a worker from the company will be sent out to your house, and this can cost an additional fee. The man who came to my property found that the wires in my roof were almost totally chewed away and needed replacing.

What have I missed?

Do you know any other ways to increase your internet speed? I would be really interested to hear them. Comments are now closed on this article but you can always catch me on Twitter if you want to suggest something else. If this post has helped you please consider giving it a little share on social media.

If you liked this guide then also check our guides on how to start a blog and how to install WordPress.

Top image © Daniel Villeneuve


Join in. The comments are closed after 30 days.
  1. Chromatic Dramatic on October 25, 2011

    1MB = 1000KB…

    not sure where you found the extra 24…

    1. Chromatic Dramatic on October 25, 2011

      More information here…

      you’re getting your units mixed up.

      1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2011

        My understanding was it wasn’t quite 1000.

    2. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2011
      1. Chromatic Dramatic on October 25, 2011

        Read the wiki link I gave.

        That yahoo answers isn’t correct either, even if you allowed for an incorrect unit.

        When talking about bytes, it is using a decimal system, hence it can only be a multiple of 10.

        However, reading that wiki page, for ‘bits’ it is all stuffed up.

        I know this is all a bit pedantic…

        1. 1MB = 1024KB

          It’s true. I assure you. This conversation looks quite ignorant to the internets.

    3. 1 byte=8 bits
      so for 1 MB is that 2 power 8=1024.

  2. Thanks for the tip on that Speedtest website. My results were:

    Download: 9.54 Mbps
    Upload: 0.97 Mbps

    By the way, I really appreciate you explaining the difference between megabits and megabytes! I had no idea that a capital “B” or lowercase “b” could make such a big difference in numbers.

    I’ve blogged about how America’s Internet is slow by worldwide standards. Rather than go into that whole thing again, you can check out a post I wrote for a blog I contribute to:

    Totally jealous about Australia’s National Broadband Network. Man, 10GB-per-second Internet would be awesome. I’ve wanted to launch a video blog, but it takes so long to upload videos to YouTube. The last time I did it, each minute of video took 30 minutes to upload.

    I’ve noticed you’re experimenting with different topics: podcasting, Internet speed, saving money on utilities, etc. Starting to feel more like Lifehacker. No complaints, but I miss those old-fashioned Blog Tyrant posts on how to build an awesome blog. Hope you get back to those kinds of articles soon. 🙂

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2011

      Thanks mate. Yeah, the blogging posts are all in the schedule.

  3. BT – All these measurements baffle me, but I’ve got to say that my connection here in my new US home is much faster than what I had in Germany. And you are SO right what a difference it makes in regards to getting things done!

    People should not underestimate how much time is lost with crappy connections…

    Best wishes, tj

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2011

      Long time no see TJ! Hope you are well.

      1. Just survived an international move… and speaking of connections, the hotel we were in during transition was HORRIBLE. I think you should fly over here and shake all this info at them and they should hire you as a consultant immediately!!
        Looking forward to your future (speedy) posts…

        1. the Blog Tyrant on October 25, 2011

          Moving sucks…

          1. i don’t think so if was accurate sometimes it shows you have a good internet speed but if you try on cellphones or laptops it’s getting worst

  4. The best free antivirus are at the moment:
    – AVAST
    – The microsoft free AV
    – AVG
    You might need to change. It is free after all (apart from your time).



    1. I agree, Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) is a good, free antivirus program. What I like best about it is that it runs in the background, without all those scary and annoying pop-up warnings. At least, they don’t happen that often.

  5. First Hub 200 miles away
    Download: 20.09 Mbps
    Upload: 1.07 Mbps

    Second Hub 120 miles away
    Download: 19.88 Mbps
    Upload: 1.07 Mbps

    Third Hub 95 miles away
    Download: 19.11 Mbps
    Upload: 1.06 Mbps

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 26, 2011

      Loving it

  6. 16.9 Mbps

    My connection is fast as heck now. I was with another provider who throttled encrypted traffic in an effort to cut down on downloading, unfortunately it slowed the internet to a crawl.

    As far as I’m concerned they were ripping me off for years, I paid for a certain speed and because I didn’t use it the way they wanted me too they defaulted on their contractual obligation to provide me with a decent connection. What was really funny is that they kept calling me and asking me to upgrade my speed at extra expense. I used to kind of heckle the poor workers telling them that I would gladly sign up once they started delivering the speed they advertised for the service.

    Switching providers was the answer for me…I actually download a show in real time now. So basically an hour for an hour show.

    Gotta say i’m pretty happy now.

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 28, 2011

      How are you anyway love? Still busy?

  7. Today, getting 17Mbps+ bidirectionally. Some days, get much higher. Some days much lower. I’ve noticed that on rainy days like today, it tends to be slower (and that was regardless of DSL, Cable or fibre (I’ve got FiOS, now).

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 28, 2011

      Nice work!

  8. Bilal Kamoon on October 28, 2011

    I’m from Lebanon: 0.42 Mbps / 0.15 Mpbs
    very informative post btw (:

    1. the Blog Tyrant on October 28, 2011

      Wow that is quite slow.

  9. I have FiOS, paying for 20/20 and I just clocked at with 30.96 Mbs download

    There are times when things over the net are faster than on my local system.

  10. We had a new company buy out our old provider recently. Now we rarely get our advertised speed with the new company. The old one was pretty close to the advertised rate. The other thing that seems to happen is certain times of the day it is slower. If I run a test in the popular evening hours the speed is about half of what it is much later at night, and into the morning hours.

  11. sheila4hastenhome on November 6, 2011

    0.27 Mbps download and 0.14 Mbps upload.
    We are in the USA countryside, stuck with satellite. :/

    Sure beats dial-up (most of the time) but that’s about the best compliment I can give it, lol. My husband and I have talked about paying to lay the cable so we could get cable internet…what else to do…

    I am thankful that at least we have a connection, though. Without it, my business would not even have a fighting chance. 🙂

  12. Some really great tips and I can confirm on most of them since that what I did to get the best of my internet connection. The only thing left that I’ll do pretty soon is buying new router. Mine is speedtouch and I’ve been using it for 5 years now. I think I’ll buy dlink router since I heard it’s the best. I usually use and here is my results .. So it’s a little bit embarrassing and we’ve been waiting for better internet in Egypt for years now!!

    My Results:

    Thanks again for the tips!

  13. Chicago Garage Builder on November 15, 2011

    What the heck? Someone is getting a phone call about this. Thanks.

  14. Mats Wolff on January 29, 2020

    Thanks for the tip of trying a different router or modem to help with our internet problems. We have been with an internet service provider for several years but recently we are having many problems and it has been a hassle. I am currently looking for a new internet provider that has fast internet so that I won’t need to have any more problems with streaming or doing work.

  15. Ive found using tinfoil that is nicely flatned with the shiny part used as a dish to catch the signals
    Place your modem or router into the best desired direction of signal and place the tinfoil (now a roughly made dish/disk) underneath/next to the foildish and towards the nearest tower provided and you will see the magic…also i found that thicker tinfoil worked better…if anyone is interested ill show you how i did it with a picture *…hope it works for you as it did for me*

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