How to Optimize Internet Speed Without Breaking the Bank. By Elizabeth Howard


By Elizabeth Howard

When your internet runs slow, it can seriously impact your productivity, not to mention the frustration it also creates. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to increase your internet speed without spending a lot of money. A few of the methods cost nothing at all!


Some of these ideas involve switching providers, while others are tweaks you can use for your existing service. Try some, and soon you might be surfing faster than you ever thought possible.


Switch to a Low-Cost Provider


An internet provider with a budget-friendly price does not always mean you have to compromise on speed and quality. Expect to pay $10 to $60 per month for low-cost internet access.


Many affordable internet providers offer unlimited data and speeds ranging from 50 Mbps (megabits per second) to 500 Mbps. Many providers have also moved their internet traffic to fiber optic cable, offering a higher-quality, more stable data stream. Some providers offer special deals for new subscribers, such as a free router, unlimited data, and no monthly or annual contract. You can even find many providers willing to guarantee their monthly price won't change for two or more years.


Look for Deals


While you research the best cheap internet service providers, keep your eyes out for services that offer deals such as getting introductory pricing, like $10 a month for a defined introductory period. Since many do not require a contract, you don't have to worry about penalties if you switch to a new provider to take advantage of a great deal.


Some providers will waive activation costs if you place your order online, saving you $85 or more. You can also cut your monthly bill by $5-$10 with some providers by agreeing to use their monthly autopay service. Some providers will give you a significant discount on internet service if you bundle it with your cell phone plan.


If you could use some financial assistance to keep your internet service paid up each month, take advantage of a program offered by the U.S. government called the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). This program provides subsidies and other assistance to help you with internet service and connected devices so the costs don't eat up your monthly budget.


Optimize Your Existing Service


In many cases, you can optimize the speed of your internet without having to spend any money at all. Some of the following ideas might require a little technical knowledge, but give them a try. Investing in a few minutes of figuring out techy stuff could reward you with internet speeds that allow you to stream a movie without constant buffering, resume gaming, and work online without endless waiting and reconnecting.

  1. Try restarting your router. This action can clear out any bugs that could slow down your service.
  2. Update your router. Manufacturers often release updates for the router's firmware and can include improvements that increase speed.
  3. Try changing your router's channel. Interference from other devices on the same channel can slow things down, so using a different channel may help.
  4. Consider using an Ethernet cable instead of a wireless connection to your router. In the old days, all broadband internet service required physical cables. Wireless cannot match the transmission speed of physical cable, so going wired might speed up your service.
  5. Relocate your router. The closer you move your router to your work area, the stronger and faster signal you will receive.
  6. Optimize your devices. Scan for malware and viruses; disable apps that connect to the internet and run in the background; and keep a minimum of browser tabs open. Each open tab uses up some of your bandwidth, slowing the connection for any new tabs. Also, clear your browser's cookies and cache, which can slow down your browser's speed over time.
  7. Check with your existing provider to see if any outages exist and if you can upgrade for more bandwidth or a faster speed.
  8. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your network and increase internet connection speed.
  9. Use Network optimizing software. The software will take you through steps and perform functions to optimize your internet connection speed.


Trying out some of these tips could increase your internet speed while spending little to no money. From switching providers to take advantage of a great deal to updating your router and trying out a hard-wired Ethernet connection, these simple remedies can make a big difference in your mood and productivity.

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