ISP throttling is a more common issue than many users realize. Even though throttling has many symptoms, it usually only has one cause: an ISP meddling with your bandwidth allocation. If you are experiencing one or more of the following, you might be a victim of throttling:
- Long and continual buffering when streaming videos
- Poor download speeds on BitTorrent clients
- Speed test results show slower speed than what you signed up for
- Some internet-dependent activities working significantly slower than others
If any of these is true for you, then you are in dire need of a way to bypass ISP throttling. The easiest solution to this problem is a VPN service.
PureVPN is our recommended VPN to bypass data throttling from our reviewed 160+ VPNs, a service costing $2.91/mo , having a pool of 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries to mask your IP address and encrypting your data packets to undo the restraints imposed by your ISP.
In this post, I am going to provide some tips for overcoming this problem both with and without the use of VPNs.
What is ISP Throttling?
Bandwidth throttling happens when an ISP intentionally restricts your bandwidth and slows down the internet speed. Throttling usually targets activities like torrenting, gaming, downloading, and streaming.
So, if you’ve ever felt that the download speed you are getting from a torrent is much slower than your actual bandwidth, there’s a good chance that you might be a victim of throttling.
ISPs throttle connections to deal with network congestion and regulate internet network traffic according to their own terms. If an ISP has more clients than their server resources can accommodate, they might be driven to throttle your connection. This means that some services and websites on the internet work faster than others depending on the throttling criteria applied by the service provider.
Suffice it to say, throttling is an issue that is completely unfair to paying subscribers. Thankfully, as long as there are VPN services, there is hope yet for a fairer internet.
ISPs Known for Throttling
There has been a lot of conjecture among users, especially in communities like Reddit, about which ISPs throttle and which of them are fair enough to avoid the practice.
Speculations aside, we now actually have proof from academic research which conducted over 650,000 tests on US-based ISPs and found some huge names guilty of throttling bandwidth.
The research shows that throttle Netflix traffic 70% of the time and YouTube 74% of the time. T Mobile and Verizon were also among the ISPs that the researchers found engaged in the practice of throttling.
This report shows that the issue of throttling isn’t something that only small-time providers indulge in. Some of the biggest ISPs in the world are flatly guilty of it too. Over the years, some notable cell phone and broadband ISPs found involved in throttling include:
- Sprint Corps
- Spectrum (Time Warner Cable)
A user actually recorded video evidence of Verizon throttling his internet connection, which only proves how common this practice has become.
How to know if your Network is throttled?
You can determine if your internet is being throttled using the Internet Health Test. This is a tool created by freedom advocates that measure variations in speeds through a series of individual tests. The tool will perform a speed test by connecting to various services and servers.
If you see a pattern of huge variations in the measured speed when the tool connects to different servers, then this indicates internet throttling.
For instance, let’s suppose you have a base internet connection speed of 100 Mbps. The tool records a speed of 95 Mbps when connecting to certain servers, but this drops to 20 Mbps when connecting to certain other services. A speed drop of more than 25-30% is abnormal and is caused by deliberate throttling on the part of your ISP.
If you want to double-check that you are indeed being throttled, you can use Netflix’s FAST tool. Since many ISPs specifically throttle speeds on streaming platforms like Netflix, YouTube, as well as torrents, this tool can help you judge if you’re indeed a victim of throttling.
If this test registers a speed slower than your base internet connection, then this another indication that your ISP is throttling Netflix and probably other services as well.
For mobile users, there’s an app called Wehe which can test if your Wi-Fi or data provider is throttling speeds on your phones.
If all the tests performed through the above-mentioned tools are pointing towards the possibility of throttling, then there’s a good chance your ISP is involved in throttling your connection.
How to stop ISP throttling using a VPN?
The trick to bypass data cap and throttling is to turn yourself invisible in the eyes of your ISP and hide your internet traffic. Throttling is only possible when the ISP can see your traffic, so they can separate it into different sections in order to slow down a specific section of their choice.
Since the ISP can’t see your traffic if you are encrypted with a VPN, they won’t be able to separate and throttle it.
So how you deploy a VPN in order to stop ISP throttling? Follow the steps below:
- Get a VPN subscription and download the VPN app on your device/system.
- Install the VPN and launch the app.
- Enter your login credentials and choose a server location that is physically closest to you.
- As soon as the connection with the server is established, you will be invisible to your ISP.
- You should now be able to stream videos and perform other activities seamlessly without throttling.
So, if you’ve been wondering how to re enable high speed data after being throttled, using a VPN is the simplest way to get around this problem.
How VPNs Help with Throttling?
VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a private network that allows users to connect to the internet through a secure path from their device/PC to the end node or server. It is different from a conventional network in that it adds a layer of encryption to your data packets as soon as they leave your system. Rather than communicating directly with the website or server that you want to access via your ISP’s server, a VPN uses remote servers that work on your behalf to do all the communication for you.
As such, a VPN guards your secrecy by implementing strong encryption and keeping your real identity masked from the eyes of your ISP. Since ISPs can scrutinize all your internet data, they are privy to your online activities. So, for instance, if they notice that you are a heavy torrent user or like to stream videos endlessly, they can throttle your bandwidth to manage their limited resource capacity.
Un-encrypted internet connection without VPN (visible to the ISP)
Encrypted connection with VPN tunnel (invisible to the ISP)
Since a VPN conceals your internet activities, your ISP can no longer monitor your internet traffic. Additionally, a VPN cloaks your original IP address and replaces it with the address of a VPN server, thus hiding your true location and identity. You virtually become a ghost that your ISP can’t keep a track of. So, even if they wanted to throttle your connection, they’d be basically shooting in the dark.
What your ISP doesn’t know, they can’t control.
6 Best VPN for ISP Throttling
Here are some of the best VPN providers that you can use to defeat ISP throttling activities and enjoy unrestricted, blazing fast internet speeds:
- PureVPN ($2.91/mo)
- Surfshark ($1.99/mo)
- NordVPN ($3.49/mo)
- ExpressVPN ($8.32/mo)
- CyberGhost ($2.75/mo)
- Ivacy ($2.25/mo)
1. PureVPN – Best VPN to bypass data throttling ( $2.91/mo )
PureVPN has an impressive network of 2,000+ servers in 140+ countries worldwide. It uses advanced security features such as Kill Switch and DNS leak protection to mask your real location and identity perfectly. As such, you can easily evade throttling by connecting to one of PureVPN’s secure servers.
With split-tunneling and a trusty Kill Switch, you can rely on this VPN to keep your identity safely hidden from your ISP, giving you unrestricted access to services such as torrenting, Netflix streaming, and general web-surfing.
The provider is also rated as the best low-cost VPN of 2020 so far. If you are looking for a VPN to bypass data cap, you can’t go wrong with PureVPN.
You can learn more about this provider in this PureVPN review.
2. Surfshark – Affordable VPN to avoid data throttling ( $1.99/mo )
Surfshark is an emerging VPN provider with excellent features. Currently, it offers 1,040+ servers around the world and uses OpenVPN protocols along with IKEv2. It offers zero-logging policy and supports P2P torrenting.
Want to know the best part?
The 2-year subscription is available for only $1.99/mo. This means that you can use Surfshark to stop ISP throttling on Windows 10, Mac OS, iOS, and Android. In addition, you can connect unlimited devices to the VPN with a single Surfshark account.
With highly valuable privacy-enhancing features such as WhiteLister, Kill Switch, and MultiHop, your chances of successfully bypassing throttling will easily multiply with the use of Surfshark, as these features are particularly useful for throttled connections.
In terms of speed, Surfshark is extremely efficient and is ranked first as the fastest VPN service for 2020.
You can check out our exclusive Surfshark review to discover hidden gems of this British Virgin Island provider.
3. NordVPN – Most Versatile VPN to stop throttling ( $3.49/mo )
NordVPN is a Panama based VPN service that provides 5,600+ servers in 59 countries globally. It has a mammoth-size server network and excellent security features for the protection of users.
Apart from utilizing this immense server strength to sidestep your ISP’s throttling gimmicks, the VPN also offers you a lot of important features for extra privacy. These include Onion over VPN, DoubleVPN, and Kill Switch. Turning these features will ensure that you stay outside of your ISP’s radar.
To know more about this popular Panama based service, check out our NordVPN review.
4. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN to bypass data throttling $8.32/mo
ExpressVPN has a powerful server infrastructure of 3,000+ servers in 94+ countries that offer consistently fast speeds. With this VPN, users can experience considerable improvements in their Internet speed if they are on a throttled network connection. Because of its throttling prevention capabilities, it’s also one of the best VPN services for streaming.
It offers native apps for a wide variety of devices and operating systems, including Mac. In fact, it is one of the best in the market if you want to bypass ISP throttling on a Mac.
Read our detailed ExpressVPN review to know about other salient attributes of the service.
5. CyberGhost – All-Round VPN to avoid data throttling $2.75/mo
CyberGhost is a Romanian provider that offers 7,000+ servers in over 90 countries. It can be used to connect to 7 devices simultaneously. The security and encryption features ensure the protection of users and the wide server network allows users to bypass throttling with remarkable efficiency.
The provider works well for streaming as well as torrenting. Since these are the activities most heavily throttled by ISPs, CyberGhost can come in real handy for those suffering with restricted bandwidth.
Furthermore, CyberGhost is one of the few VPNs in the market that offers 45-day money-back guarantee. In addition, it offers a one-day free trial. As such, you can take VPN for a test drive for free and experience its unique features first-hand.
For more information about this provider, read our CyberGhost review.
6. Ivacy – Most Secure VPN to bypass throttling ( $2.25/mo )
Ivacy is a super affordable VPN service based in Singapore. This VPN provider offers 1,000+ servers across 100+ locations which are seriously quite impressive. Not only that, Ivacy is among the very few VPNs that offer unlimited bandwidth.
Other than that, Ivacy comes packed with security features like 256-Bit Encryption, No Logs Policy, Smart Purpose Selection and a ton of other amazing features. Due to these features, it’s also considered as one of the best torrenting VPN 2020.
Best of all, Ivacy costs only $2.25/mo, offers 5 simultaneous connections and is covered by a full 30-days money-back guarantee.
To know more about this popular VPN service, check out our Ivacy review.
How to Bypass Data Throttling on Android without Root?
Android users tend to resort to solutions like device rooting in order to avoid running a throttled connection. However, rooting is a risky procedure and it can leave your device vulnerable to software bugs and malware infections.
Unless you know exactly what you’re doing and are a tech hobbyist, I would strongly recommend against rooting your phone. The beauty of VPN services is that they can be used to bypass throttling on Android devices without the need for rooting.
Just follow the data throttling hack for Android below:
- Choose a VPN from the listed providers above.
- Purchase a subscription or download a free VPN.
- Install the app on your device.
- Start the app and choose a desired server location.
- Experience the Internet with minimal throttling.
This way, you can keep your stock Android intact and get the job done much more simply as well!
See also: Best VPN App for Android
How to Bypass Data Throttling on iPhone?
iPhone users are just as likely to face issues regarding sluggish speed and connection drops due to ISP throttling. To get rid of these problems affecting your speed, an iPhone VPN can be immensely helpful as in the case of Android.
Here’s how to successfully bypass throttling by ISP on iPhone in simple steps:
- Choose from one of the best VPN services (mentioned above)
- Make an account on VPN provider’s website
- Download and install the VPN app on your device
- Upon successful installation, launch VPN, choose from overseas VPN servers and hit connect!
- After connecting to VPN, perform Speedtest to check improvement in connection speed
See also: Best VPN App for iPhone
T Mobile Throttling Bypass Solution
Many users have reported concerns about T mobile throttling their connection. If you think you are one of those, here’s how to bypass T Mobile throttling in simple steps:
- Navigate to Settings > Wireless & Network in your Android phone.
- Tap on Mobile Networks.
- Tap on Access Point Names > T Mobile APN.
- Scroll down to find APN Type and Tap on it to add the word “dun” at the end.
Finally, go back and restart your phone. After booting up, you should be able to avoid T Mobile throttling issues. This trick also works as T mobile high-speed data hack in 2020.
Note: The above trick was performed on Android mobile phones and tablets. However, you can perform the same steps on iPhone and iPad by editing APN from settings.
How to Bypass Internet Throttling on Windows?
To check whether your connection is throttled by your ISP on Windows, you can try stress testing your connection by running multiple bandwidth-intensive programs at the same time.
For instance, run YouTube videos, Netflix, Skype, Internet download manager, and any other app you can think of. Then, perform a Speedtest and check the connection speed.
Next, download and install one of the above-mentioned VPN services, and once more perform a speed test. If you get better performance with a VPN, there’s a definite probability that you are running a throttled connection.
How to Bypass Straight Talk Data Throttle?
Straight Talk imposes bandwidth throttling after the data consumption of users exceeds 2.5 GB. This occurs even if the user has purchased a 10 GB plan: the speeds simply drop down once 2.5 GB of the allotted bandwidth has been used.
Since a VPN effectively turns you invisible to the eyes of the service provider, you can utilize one to avoid bandwidth limits on Straight Talk.
How to avoid ISP throttling while torrenting?
You will need to get a VPN first. Get one from the list above or any other of your choice, connect to a server and then launch your BitTorrent client for downloading. This would mask your IP address, allowing you to bypass throttling when torrenting.
Is ISP Throttling Legal?
Unfortunately, with net neutrality laws now repealed, ISPs can legally throttle your Internet connection.
Can ISP Throttle through VPN?
Yes. If the VPN is not secure enough or is prone to leaks, then ISPs can throttle your connection even through a VPN.
How can I bypass AT&T throttling?
Previously, AT&T was in the limelight due to internet throttling issues. The organization throttled the internet data of their subscribers those who were using unlimited internet package at that time.
Therefore, you are left with no option other than VPN to combat the notorious acts of AT&T in the right way.
What should I do to overcome Comcast’s throttling Netflix barrier?
To avoid throttling, Comcast VPN comes in handy in this situation. With a VPN, you can use a fake IP address so your Comcast admins won’t be able to throttle your connection.
How do I get around Verizon throttling?
You can use a VPN to deal with Verizon’s throttling antics. When you are connected to a VPN server of your choice, Verizon will be unable to trace your online tasks including video streaming as well.
ISP throttling is an unfair practice that many popular internet providers are engaging in. Thankfully, users in 2020 can utilize VPNs to bypass data throttling in quite a simple manner.
For this purpose, PureVPN is our suggested VPN service due to 2,000+ servers, affordability, and highly functional privacy-oriented features that are particularly suited for bypassing throttling.