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What is bandwidth throttling, you ask? That’s what we aim to explain with this 5-minute article.
Bandwidth throttling (also known as data throttling or an Internet bottleneck) is the process through which an ISP intentionally limits user bandwidth, slowing down connection and download speeds. This can happen on any device you use.
ISPs can enforce bandwidth throttling because they can monitor users’ online traffic, effectively seeing what they do on the Internet – especially if they use Deep Packet Inspection. So, bandwidth throttling isn’t usually random – it’s planned in advance.
They mainly do it for profit. For example, an ISP might throttle user bandwidth during certain times of the day to decrease network congestion and increase the stability of the service. That usually happens during peak Internet times, when the service just cannot handle a large amount of people.
They don’t always do that to improve their services, however, but also to lower the amount of data they have to process, ensuring they don’t have to buy faster equipment to handle more Internet traffic.
Besides that, ISPs might also throttle your bandwidth whenever they notice you are using a large amount of data for certain online activities – like gaming, downloading files, or streaming content, for example.
They do that in an attempt to “convince” you to either purchase a pricier subscription or a bigger, more expensive data plan. That especially happens if the ISP has a “fair usage policy” in their contract that specifies that each user has a certain amount of data allocated to them monthly.
ISPs might also throttle your bandwidth if they see you are downloading P2P files, but this generally happens in countries where torrenting is a sensitive topic.
Bandwidth throttling isn’t always easy to detect. If you suspect your ISP might be doing that, here are some ways to verify that:
If you are certain your ISP is throttling your bandwidth, you could try talking with their customer support to see if they might stop doing it, though it’s not a very realistic solution. You could plan your Internet usage around peak times, but that’s extremely inconvenient.
Alternatively, you could switch ISPs, but that’s a lot of hassle, and you don’t have any guarantees the new ISP won’t do the same thing.
Or, you could just do the easy thing and encrypt your online traffic. This way, it’s less like your ISP could throttle your bandwidth because they won’t be able to see what you are doing on the Internet. At most, they’ll see a lot of gibberish.
Tor is an anonymity network that aims to encrypt and anonymize your online traffic (to a certain extent, of course) by bouncing it between different relays.
While it is an efficient tool, it has one major downside – the exit relay (the last relay your traffic passes through) generally doesn’t use encryption. While your ISP might not be able to see your traffic that way, the ISP of the person running the relay will. If they decide to throttle the relay’s bandwidth, you’ll have to put up with slower speeds.
A VPN is a service that helps you protect your online privacy and secure your Internet connection. Unlike Tor, a VPN encrypts your entire connection – everything that goes on between your device and the VPN server can’t be monitored by your ISP.
If you need a reliable VPN by your side, we’ve got you covered. CactusVPN offers high-end AES encryption that can protect your Internet traffic and data from any ISP interference. They’ll no longer manage to throttle your bandwidth since they won’t know what files you download or what content you stream.
Plus, our high-speed servers rely on shared IP technology, and we enforce a strict no-log policy, meaning not even we know what you’re up to on the Internet when you’re using CactusVPN.
And don’t worry – our service has a built-in Killswitch, so your traffic won’t be exposed to your ISP even if you encounter any connectivity issues.
Feel free to check out our CactusVPN apps to see which one is best for your device. In case you’re having some doubts, you’ll be happy to know we offer a free 24-hour trial of our service + a 30-day money-back guarantee.
While it sometimes can be understandable why ISPs snoop on users’ online activities, it’s just too hard to overlook how much of a privacy breach it is – not to mention it gives ISPs free reign over your bandwidth, and they can throttle it whenever they want.
Luckily, a VPN can help you by making it near impossible for your ISP to keep tabs on your online traffic and data. While using a VPN, your ISP won’t be able to inspect the data travelling from your computer, so they won’t be able to throttle it.
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