“Why is my Internet so slow?” It’s a question more and more people are asking. We are dependent on the Internet in a way that just wasn’t true a decade ago. We use the Internet to buy everything from groceries to clothes to airline tickets (seriously, you can imagine having to actually go to an airline ticket counter to buy a ticket?). With our lives being so dependent on the Internet, slow connections can be a serious problem in your personal life and your business life. Having a slow Internet connection at your new home, your hotel, or while on vacation can be infuriating.
One thing you can try to combat slow Internet speeds is to set up a secondary browser and tailor it specifically to types of circumstances that seem to be causing your sluggish connection. For example, your computer might be doing fine when you’re reading a simple blog, but sites with a lot of videos or images might be loading slowly. Read on to see our tips for how to configure your browser to make the most of slow Internet speeds.
1. Disable Images & Turn Off Automatic Updates
This is the first step of the process, where you have to get rid of everything that can steal your speed. In case of images, you can disable them completely or choose to display only cached images. Cached images are stored locally so they won’t need any Internet to be displayed.
To disable images in Chrome, go to Settings > Advanced settings > Privacy > Content settings > Images > Do not show any images. Firefox users should go to Options > Content and uncheck the “Load Images Automatically” box. In Opera, go to Settings > Websites > Images and choose “Do not show any images” option.
Turning off automatic software updates will save a lot of bandwidth. Leave only the anti-virus updates turned on. To turn off Windows automatic updating, go to Start menu and search Update. Click Windows update. Go to Change settings and choose “Never check for updates” under Important updates.
2. Block Ads & Flash
Chrome users can use AdBlock to block ads and FlashBlock to block Flash. If you have Firefox you can use AdBlock Plus to block ads and Flashblock to block Flash. Opera users can use Opera AdBlock to fight ads. Flash can be disabled in Opera settings (Alt+P). Go to Websites > Plug-ins. Choose the “Disable individual plug-ins” option. Tick “Disable” near Adobe Flash Player. While you are there, you can also check whether you need the rest of the plug-ins to be enabled as well. If not – choose the “Block all” option.
3. Enlarge Your Browser Cache
A web browser cache is a place where your browser temporarily stores web page information – like graphic images and other multimedia content. So when you revisit a site, web pages load faster than the first time because a lot of content is grabbed from the cache instead of being loaded again. You can enlarge the cache in Chrome by going to Properties and choosing the Shortcut tab. Below Find Target, click inside the box and go to the end of the text. Copy this -disk-cache-size-1000000 and paste it at the end of the text. Click OK. In Firefox, go to Options > Advanced > Network and check “Override automatic cache management”. Here you can increase the cache size.
4. Seek a Secure Solution
One of the biggest challenges you face with slow Internet is downloads. Here you have to secure your download from both tethering Internet and sluggish connections. Once again, you can either upgrade the browser you are using with an extension that will help to accelerate downloads and resume broken downloads from the point they were interrupted. Alternatively, you can find an additional solution that you will use when you need to download something. For Chrome you can use either the Chrono or Fruumo extensions. You can also try out the experimental feature called “Enable Download Resumption Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome OS”. You can find it among Chrome’s flags (type Chrome://flags/ in the search field to see all of them). Firefox users should try out the add-on Downthemall. Opera has a built-in download manager that resumes downloads but it doesn’t speed up the download process.
As an alternative solution you should try Citrio browser, which you can also set up as a secondary browser for sluggish connection. Citrio is a Chrome-based browser which means that it has all the basic functionality of Chrome, plus its own set of additional features. Those include a built-in download accelerator and download manager. It is a good solution to speed up the downloads and resume interrupted downloads.
5. Try Browser-Specific Solutions
If you want to prepare a specific browser for its fight with a slowpoke Internet, you can employ some unique solutions developed solely for your browser. Chrome doesn’t have any special extension to boost its speed, but you can tweak it in another way. For example, there is the Great Suspender extension, which lets you suspend all the tabs you are not using right now which frees up some of Chrome’s memory. If you have too many tabs open you will definitely feel the difference.
Opera users are the most lucky ones as Opera browsers have a built-in option called Opera Turbo. You can always turn it on in the Settings menu when experiencing slow connection. Or you can configure Opera Turbo to turn on automatically when a slow connection is detected. Firefox admirers are welcome to use the Fasterfox extension. This one increases the browser’s speed by enabling paralleled downloads, auto loading next page and more.
6. Try to Develop Smart Browsing Habits
If you want to remain productive with a sluggish connection you’ll have to revise your browsing habits in general. For example, try accessing a mobile version of a website you are about to visit. Mobile versions are lighter and they load faster. Of course they look less pretty when displayed on a desktop, but you will see all the information you need.
To do this, change your secondary browser’s user agent to a mobile device. Chrome users can do it with the help of User-Agent Switcher for Chrome extension, or follow the steps as described here. Firefox users should try out a similar extension for their browser. There is also one for Opera. You should also check up for the lightweight versions of the websites you visit the most. For example, you can check your email (if it is Gmail) using its HTML-based version.
You can also do some minor tweaks. Clean your computer from any spyware or adware. Make sure you get your browser to show a blank page upon new tab. Remove excess toolbars and extensions. Bring as much work to offline as possible. For example, if you need to write an email, compose it first in your computer’s word processor and then copy it to the email. Turn off any apps that may consume your Internet on the background.
Actually, you can search for more tweaks depending on the severity level of the situation with your Internet and on the tasks you have to perform. The tips mentioned before are the most universal ones, they would fit in any situation. Basically you can narrow them down to two major points: throwing out ballast for the most important information to load faster (like turning off pictures, getting rid of unused extensions, etc.) and fueling your browser with a high quality petroleum (essential extensions, add-ons or additional programs). Striking a delicate balance between these two will help you thrive under even the worst and most painfully slow Internet speeds.