Why is My Download Speed So Slow? 17 Reasons [and Easy Fixes!]

Lindsay Hayes

If you're stuck with a slow download speed, you probably don't have a stable internet connection. There are many things you can do to fix this. First, try moving closer to your router. This usually solves the problem.

You could also face slow download speeds if you have low internet bandwidth. Contact your ISP and ask them to upgrade your connection.

I've been gaming since I was a kid, and I know that some games take a long time to download. However, I've managed to learn a couple of tricks to take care of this.

I have outlined the reasons that cause slow download speeds, and what you can do to fix them.

Let's get to it.


Why is My Download Speed So Slow?

There are many reasons why you may be stuck with slow downloads, and they include:

Person Trying to Download File From Cloud Storage

1. Weak WiFi Signal Strength

Usually, downloads become slow when you don't have a good WiFi signal. This can happen if you're far from your router. Simply move closer to it.

2. Router Glitch

Your router may be glitching out and causing a slow internet connection. Taking care of this is easy. All you have to do is turn your router off and back on again. I advise you to wait a while before you turn the modem back on.

3. Device Glitch

A system glitch may be causing the poor download speeds. Hopefully, the glitch is minor, and restarting your computer will clear it.

4. File Size

There might not be anything wrong with your internet speed. Instead, you may just be trying to download a large file. A file that's 2 GB or over is traditionally considered a 'large' file. See if there is a smaller version that you can download instead.

5. Speed Throttling

Speed throttling is another issue that could cause slow download speeds. This is when your Internet Service Provider slows down your connection based on your activity, like when you're downloading torrents.

You can check whether your internet data is being throttled by doing an internet speed test. Do internet speed tests multiple times a day, as well as when you're trying to download. Then, compare your speed throughout the day with when you try to download.

If it suddenly gets slower when you're trying to download a file, your connection is being throttled.

You can actually keep throttling at bay by using a VPN. However, VPNs can make your connection slow.

6. Congested Bandwidth Usage

You'll have a slow connection speed if your WiFi bandwidth is being wasted. This usually happens when other devices are connected to your internet.

You will have to wait till there are fewer devices online, and then download what you want. A good time to do this is when there are less people home.

Make sure that no one has hijacked your WiFi either. A neighbor may have hacked in, and could be eating up your bandwidth. If you suspect this, change your network password to one that's stronger.

Data File Transferring Through Cloud Storage

7. Virtual Private Network Running

Virtual Private Networks are useful. However, this can also make your internet speed slow. They could tunnel and encrypt your connection.

Consider turning your VPN service off and download what you need to. If you are downloading files illegally (which is why you may have had your VPN running in the first place), this might not something you can do.

8. Exceeded Your Data Usage

Internet providers tend to place caps on users. If you've gone above your data cap, you'll have a slow connection. However, you can try and increase this limit. Contact your internet provider and ask to upgrade your connection.

9. High Latency

High latency may be causing the slow download speeds. Latency is the time it takes for your data to travel to its final destination. If your internet provider's infrastructure is poor, this could cause high latency. It could also be the case if you live far from the ISP's servers.

Satellite internet in general is known for this problem. This happens because your connection has to travel to space and back.

10. Internet Service Provider Network Congestion

Your ISP network as a whole could also be congested. There could be too many users in your area may using the internet at the same time.

You can try and work-around this by downloading what you need during off-peak hours, such as in the middle of the night.

Or, you can switch to an ISP that not many people in your area use. You will have to do your research to find out who these internet service providers are.

11. Slow DNS Server

Your internet service provider may have assigned you to a slow DNS server. It might be slow because many others are using it as well.

When it comes to DNS servers, you can remove and re-assign yourself to them. So, to fix your slow internet speeds, join Google's DNS server.

To do this on Windows computers:

On Macs:

Download Progress on the Laptop Screen

12. Too Many Apps Running in the Background

Your internet speed will be slow, and you won't be able to download files if you have too many apps running in the background. They could eat up your CPU's resources, while you try to get your files to download.

Taking care of this is easy. You simply need to close all the apps you have open:

13. Packed Computer Registry

Your computer registry could be full of files that are slowing it down. They're most likely causing other problems too.

I advise you to use a cleaning tool to get rid of these unnecessary files. CCleaner happens to be one of the best, and is also a personal favorite.

It comes with a free version, but there is a more comprehensive paid version as well, which costs around $30.

To use the free version of the tool:

14. Outdated Devices

The slow download speeds could also appear if your device is bugging out. You may not have updated its OS or drivers in a while.

I've touched on how you can update your OS first, and then your drivers below.

To update firmware on Windows to fix the slow speeds:

On Mac computers:

To update your drivers on Windows:

You don't have to worry about updating drivers on Mac computers, as they automatically get upgraded when new firmware is released.

15. Computer Virus

The issue could also appear due to a virus on your computer. You may already have an antivirus software, so it should have notified you of the issue.

If it didn't, it might be time to install a new one. Avast is a good choice that also happens to be free.

Here's how you use it:

Downloading File Using Mobile Device

16. Defective Wires

Before I move onto the last reason why you may be having trouble with your download speed, check whether the wires connecting to your router are damaged. Regardless of whether you're using an ethernet cable, DSL, or a fibre connection, this is a pretty common issue that you should rule out.

If you're dealing with broken cables, try contacting your internet service provider for help to get them replaced.

17. Internet Service Provider Issue

Bad download speeds could be due to a bug on your ISP's end that they're not aware of. Or they may not have fixed it yet.

You can visit their website for more information. You can also contact the customer support and ask when the problem would be fixed.

There will be other users who use the same ISP complain online. Twitter is a good place to check this.


Answered below are some popular questions.

1. Why is My File Downloading So Slowly When I Have Fast Internet?

If you've done a speed test and found that your connection speeds are fine, yet a download takes forever, your data might be throttled. As mentioned, throttling is when internet service providers slow down connections on purpose. This usually happens when you try to Torrent content. This is not surprising, as Torrenting is illegal in a lot of countries.

Apart from having your connection throttled, another possible cause could be the specific website you're trying to download the file from - its servers could be down. Check whether they have a system status page that you can visit. The problem could also be due to the specific web browser you are using. Its servers may be acting up, so visit its system status page to rule this out.

2. How Can I Increase My Actual Download Speed?

I advise you to download only one file at a time instead of multiple files. This would considerably improve your download speed, especially if the files are large.

Also, you can improve your download speed by strengthening your WiFi signal. All you have to do is move closer to your router. Upgrading your internet plan can help too, though this won't be free. Contact your service provider for more information.

3. Is 1 Mbps Download Speed Slow?

1 MBPS is a very slow download speed. There's not much you can do with it, other than send messages and emails to other users.

Download Status Notification on the Tab

4. What is a Fast Internet Speed?

A fast download speed is around 100-200 Mbps, and a good upload speed would be at least 10 Mbps.

With around 500 Mbps download speed, you will be able to stream video in Ultra High definition on multiple screens at the same time, as well as play more hardcore games with less latency.

If you want exceptionally fast internet speeds, you could get gigabyte download speeds. However, if you're not going to be using your connection for extensive processes, it wouldn't be worth it. It's only be a good idea if you want to stream content in 4K and host live streams.

If you ask me, gigabyte internet speeds is overkill for most people.

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Final Thoughts

If your internet speed/download speed is slow, there are many reasons for this. You could get stuck with slow internet speeds if you're far from your router, or if you've maxed out your internet package.

The issue can also be due to your internet servers being down, network congestion/internet traffic, or even your wireless network being throttled.

Hopefully, you found all the points discussed useful.

Lindsay Hayes

Hi, I’m Lindsay, a techie from Kansas City. That’s right; I’m a born and bred Midwesterner. I learned to take electronics apart at my dad’s GameStop way back when, and I haven’t stopped since. I spend most of my time checking out new gadgets.
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