How to Boost Your Download Speed

Six Methods:Server SpeedTorrent DownloadsUpdatesClearing VirusesTweaking HardwareOther Strategies

Are you frustrated with low download speeds? Ever wondered how to increase your download speed significantly? While it's impossible to completely optimize your Internet performance and download speed, the following tips and tricks will help significantly.

Method 1
Server Speed

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    Visit an Internet speed testing website and take note of your download and upload speed. You're going to want a benchmark, so that you can compare the before speed (slower) to the after speed (faster).
    • To get to an internet speed testing website, simply type "Internet speed test" into a search engine and find one that will perform a test for free. There should be plenty of options to choose from.
    • Once you are at an Internet speed testing website, input your geographic location (if necessary) and perform the test. The test should tell you your download speed as well as your upload speed. Take note of these numbers.
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    Go to where your computer stores its DNS information.[1] The location of this information will be different depending on what operating system you're using. Here's how to get there:
    • Windows 7/Vista: Start → Control Panel → View network status and tasks → View status (click on your local or wireless connection) → Properties → Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) → Properties. Once you are here, click on "Use the following DNS server addresses."
    • Mac OSX: System Preferences → Network → View status (click on your local or wireless connection) → Advanced → DNS
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    Remove the old DNS number and type in two or three open DNS server addresses. Open DNS server addresses include "" and "" for example. Apply the changes once finished.
    • If you want to search for custom DNS server addresses, use an application like Gibson Research Corporation's Domain Name Speed Benchmark or Namebench. These will test your system and suggest benchmark addresses that you can use.
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    Close out your browser, open it again, and test out the speed of your new DNS address. Go back to the same speed test website you used earlier and see for yourself how changing your DNS can boost your internet speed.

Method 2
Torrent Downloads

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    Increase the maximum number of connected peers. More peers equal faster downloads. Do this by going to your client (BitTorrent, Vuze, uTorrent, etc.), and clicking Options → Preferences → Bandwidth. Then, set the maximum number of connected peers per torrent at 500.
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    Force your protocol encryption, if it isn't already. This action disguises what you're downloading so that your ISP doesn't selectively throttle it. (ISPs will throttle if they know a BitTorrent client is doing a lot of downloading.) To do this:
    • Go to Preferences → BitTorrent, and then, where it says "Protocol Enforcement," change it to "Forced." Click "Apply," if necessary, and then exit out of the screen.
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    Keep your upload rate in check. In the spirit of peer-to-peer, it's nice that you're giving back to the community by uploading as much as you download. But if you're uploading too much, that definitely will affect your downloading speed. A good rule of thumb is to limit your uploading to about 80% of your max upload speed.[2]
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    Change your port to bypass throttling by your ISP. Default ports for BitTorrent are anywhere between 6881 and 6999. If you set a different port by disabling the Randomize Port setting, then type in a port higher than 10000, you should see your download speed go skyward.

Method 3

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    Get a download accelerator. Accelerators are really useful. Some of them do really work, and well. Download accelerators make it easy for you to quickly download things and organize your download. Some of the best download managers are Internet Download Manager and uGet.
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    Get rid of offending spyware. Spyware is software that self-installs on computers, covertly grabbing information about a person's internet usage. Spyware and viruses use up available resources, leaving you with a slower computer. Spyware likes to send reports back home about your internet usage, which takes up valuable bandwidth.
    • Start by running a full scan using an antivirus software. Close all applications before scanning. Run the scan. Reboot your computer and then repeat the scan one more time, just to be safe.
    • Run your scan in safe mode. Smart spy- and adware programmers make it devilishly difficult to remove their parasites from your computer. In order to give your computer a fighting chance, boot up your Mac or your PC in safe mode instead of normal mode.
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    Get software that will let you download from multiple servers. A lot of servers impose maximum download limits on your computer, effectively imposing a speed limit and keeping you from reaching your top speed. In order to get around this, you can download some "download manager" software (such as GetRight).
    • What does this program do? Software like GetRight will start downloading the file, and then immediately look for the file in several different places. Then it will start downloading the file in pieces from different servers. Using software like this can improve download speed by as much as 1,000%.

Method 4
Clearing Viruses

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    Ensure that you have a good antivirus program installed. Viruses can significantly slow down your downloads and browsing speed. You should always have an antivirus program running in the background of your computer, especially when you are connected to the Internet. Popular free antivirus programs include BitDefender, Avast, and AVG.
    • Avoid Norton, as it will most likely cause a reduction in your computer's performance and can be very difficult to remove completely.
    • Run a virus scan at least once a week, more if you are downloading files often.
    • You should never have more than one antivirus program installed at once.
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    Download a few good anti-adware programs. Adware is software that hijacks your browser to send you advertisements and popups. Adware gets installed when you download programs off the Internet with adware bundled in, or you click the wrong banner ads. These programs will slow down your connection as they are constantly trying to retrieve advertisements, often from servers overseas.
    • Popular anti-adware programs include Malwarebytes, Spybot S&D, AdwCleaner, and HitmanPro.
    • You can have more than one anti-adware program installed at the same time. It is recommended that you install at least two different programs, as they often have different databases that they base their scans off of. This means that one program may catch something that the other one won't
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    Run your antivirus and anti-adware programs in Safe Mode. You will be able to detect more infected files when your computer is in Safe Mode, leading to a more effective scan. You can enter Safe Mode by rebooting your computer and holding the F8 key. Select Safe Mode from the list of options, and then run your virus scanner and anti-adware programs like you normally would.
    • If you are having difficulty getting rid of a virus, and antivirus software can't eliminate the threat, you may need to format your computer and reinstall your operating system.
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    Avoid future viruses. After cleaning your computer of viruses and adware, you should find that your connection speeds have improved. This won't do you any good if you get new viruses, so practicing safe Internet browsing habits will save you some headaches in the future.
    • Avoid downloading illegal files. While there are many pirated files out there that are perfectly safe, illegal files are still one of the main ways that viruses get transferred. Make sure you are downloading from a trusted source.
    • Don't download unknown attachments. Email is also a leading distribution method for viruses. Attachments should always be viewed with a wary eye, and you should only download attachments that you are expecting. Even emails from trusted friends and relatives may be infected without their knowledge, so double-check with them before opening those "vacation photos".
    • Don't click banner ads. Lots of ads and popups will try to trick you into thinking you need to click them. For example, a popular trick is to make a popup look like a virus scan window. The popup will say that your computer is infected, and the only way to fix it is to click the popup. These are never true.
    • See this guide for more tips on avoiding viruses.

Method 5
Tweaking Hardware

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    Update your network device drivers. Make sure your Speed and Duplex settings, found in the device's settings, are set to the maximum speed with Full Duplex setting. Your device's settings, for example, might be at 1 Gbps Full Duplex for optimal speed.
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    If you have a router, backup your settings through the router's page (see Access a Router) and update the firmware. This will ensure your router is functioning at its best.
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    Make sure your router is free of any interference. On a wireless router, the signal is broadcast 360 degrees, which means you lose a portion of the signal if you have a router in a corner of your house. It is possible to use a piece of tin foil to make the wireless signal more one-directional, so that it's facing more towards your study or living room, for example.
    • Other common interference problems you might be experiencing:
      • Using long coax cables to connect cable modems.[3] Shorter coax cables make for swifter download speeds.
      • Move possible interfering devices such as phones away from computers and routers.
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    Empty your modem's cache by unplugging it. Your modem's cache needs a little refreshing every once in a while, and it's pretty easy to accomplish. Just unplug your modem from the power for 10 seconds, and plug it back in. Do this every once in a while to keep the cache in the modem from being a bottleneck.

Method 6
Other Strategies

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    Find high-speed wireless hotspots to piggyback off of higher-speed providers. If you are using a laptop, you can find wireless hotspots that offer you high speed Internet. You can find that at your local college, Internet cafe, or library, or go to a friend's or relative's house — someone you know has high-speed Internet.
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    Turn off all unused apps while downloading. When you're downloading a big (or a small) file, it helps to turn off any and all apps that you aren't using in order to download. Media apps, especially, can be a silent killer to your bandwidth.
    • If you need to use applications while downloading, segregate one computer for downloading and try to find another computer for using apps. You can go to the library, ask a friend, etc. for access to another computer.
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    Get an optimal Internet connection. Your Internet connection may not be optimal. If for example you use DSL, but live far from the central office, you may suffer from poor download speeds. In that case, you may want to switch to a different ISP or switch to cable.
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    Don't upload information while you're downloading. If you're uploading files while you're trying to download information, you're seriously taxing your bandwidth. It's like having the cold water faucet on full blast, turning the hot water faucet on a bit, and then wondering why your water isn't piping hot. The same thing goes for bandwidth. If your cold water (uploading) is on full blast, it'll be difficult to feel much warm water (downloading).
    • Set your upload bandwidth to 90% or less of your max upload speed. This will give your bandwidth some more room to process download requests.


  • Some download accelerators do work, but some don't. Get one with the best comments and lots of downloads.
  • It might be your computer slowing the Internet speed down. Try to upgrade your memory, upgrade your CPU, install antivirus software and clean up your hard drive. If you are using wireless, make sure your wireless or network card is up to date and does not have any software errors.
  • Better Internet speed may cost more, but it's worth it!


  • Some Internet optimizers would confuse your Internet connection if you don't configure it properly.
  • Be absolutely sure to follow the correct procedure while updating the router's firmware.

Things You'll Need

  • A computer
  • An Internet connection
  • Some space on your hard disk to store the files.
  • For best results - at least 1 GB of RAM and a 1.5 Ghz. or higher processor.
  • Some Good Software

Article Info

Categories: Downloading