What Is ISP Throttling and How Can You Bypass It?

ISP throttling, which is also referred to as internet throttling or bandwidth throttling, is a practice carried out by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to deliberately slow down their users’ internet speeds. They do this for various reasons, including managing network congestion, controlling data usage, and promoting certain pricing tiers.

To take a specific example, when networks become congested, ISPs may throttle certain types of internet traffic or specific applications to prevent overload and maintain stability. Regulating the flow of data presents a means for ISPs to ensure a more equitable distribution of available bandwidth among their users.

Slower internet speed often leads to slower downloads and uploads, disrupted streaming services, and high latency and lags. This can cause frustrating experiences for people who go online for entertainment, to play, or to do their jobs. Aside from individual users, throttling can also negatively impact organizations such as schools and businesses that depend on the internet to carry out certain aspects of their operations.

Different Strategies for Bypassing ISP Throttling

If you find yourself faced with the possibility of ISP throttling, there are proactive steps that you can take to mitigate its effects and regain control over your online experiences. By employing a combination of technological solutions and strategic choices, you can bypass the limitations imposed by throttling and enjoy smoother internet access.

Utilize a VPN 

A VPN or virtual private network is a versatile tool that enhances online security as well as serves as a workaround for ISP throttling. When you connect to a VPN, your internet traffic is encrypted and routed through a remote server, making it difficult for your ISP to identify and throttle specific types of data. Let’s say that you’re using a high-speed VPN for streaming when your ISP suddenly throttles internet traffic for streaming services. There’s a good chance that you can bypass this restriction because your internet traffic is encrypted. This means that you can still enjoy improved speeds and unrestricted access to online content.

Consider Different Internet Plans

ISPs often offer a variety of internet plans with varying levels of throttling and data allowances. If you frequently encounter throttling, consider upgrading to a plan that offers higher speeds or even eliminates throttling during peak hours. Prioritize plans that align with your usage habits, ensuring a more seamless experience for activities such as streaming, gaming, or remote work. If it’s the norm for you to attend video conferences during peak working hours, for instance, look for internet plans that specifically enable you to do this.

Explore Encrypted Protocols

Some ISPs target specific internet protocols for throttling. In such cases, switching to encrypted alternatives or using different ports can help you evade throttling measures. For example, if you engage in P2P file sharing, using encrypted protocols like HTTPS can make it more challenging for ISPs to detect and throttle your activities.

Contact Your ISP and Inquire

It’s also possible to settle the matter simply by communicating with your ISP. It’s an option to reach out to your provider and inquire about their throttling policies. You can express your concerns about the impact on your internet experience with them and discuss possible solutions that will enable you to avoid throttling. ISPs may provide insights into their practices or offer potential solutions as well. It’s also possible that they might be willing to adjust their throttling policies or recommend plans better suited to your needs.

Staying informed of the different ways to bypass ISP throttling can be quite useful, especially if you often find yourself on the receiving end of this practice. By incorporating these strategies into your internet usage, you can regain control over your connection speeds and enjoy better online experiences.

ISP Throttling and Net Neutrality

Aside from affecting user experiences, ISP throttling also touches on net neutrality or the principle that all internet traffic should be treated equally. This is because throttling is typically carried out based on the specific activities or types of internet traffic that users have. For instance, ISPs can opt to throttle internet traffic that is generated by specific services, applications, internet protocols (IPs), or devices that consume significant bandwidth. This means they can specifically throttle the connection of people who may be using their phones or computers, or users who are streaming or gaming, just to name a few examples.

ISPs also have the means to implement time-based throttling where they can set internet speeds to slow down at certain times of the day. This approach helps distribute available bandwidth more evenly among users but can result in inconvenience for those who rely on the internet during these peak times.

So it’s not just your imagination. It’s certainly possible for ISPs to throttle your connection and slow down its speed. With a few fixes and by communicating clearly with your provider, though, it’s possible for you to opt out of this practice and enjoy a more consistent internet speed no matter the time of day.