ISP throttling is a more common issue and requires immediate attention if you want to enjoy good network speeds. Unfortunately, even though throttling has many symptoms, it usually only has one cause: an ISP meddling with your bandwidth allocation.
If you are experiencing any of the following, you might be a victim of throttling:
- Continual buffering when streaming videos.
- Speed test results show slower speed than your official allowed speeds.
- Some internet-dependent activities working significantly slower than others.
If any of those is true for you, then fret not, as you can easily bypass throttling with a VPN.
This post will tell you about the 5 best VPN providers to bypass bandwidth throttling, starting with ExpressVPN – our #1 recommendation to free you from the shackles of bandwidth throttling.
How to Bypass throttling with VPN? [Step By Step]
The trick to bypass data cap and throttling is to turn yourself invisible in the eyes of your internet service provider and hide your internet traffic. Throttling is only possible when the ISP can see your traffic, so they can separate it into different sections 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.
What is bandwidth throttling?
Bandwidth throttling is originated when your ISP deliberately slows down your internet connection. You may experience it if you have reached your data cap for the month or you haven’t paid for your super-fast broadband. More often than not, your ISP will slow your internet speeds regardless of your contract status.
If you imagine the traffic passing through an ISP’s server like the traffic passing along a freeway, it makes sense that the more traffic there is, the slower it moves.
Streaming various video-on-demand services or using gaming in high definition utilizes a lot of bandwidth. So, to keep things moving, ISPs may throttle or slow internet service to allow users to keep at least accessing the sites they need to, even if the experience is slower.
Why do ISPs throttle your bandwidth?
The most common reasons your ISP throttles your internet connection and limits your data transmission speeds include:
Tackling network congestion: Heavy internet usage will slow down the internet speeds of other people in the same area. To neutralize this problem, ISPs may throttle the connection of anyone using high amounts of bandwidth. As a result, you may experience slower speeds for a little while, especially if you’ve been engaging in bandwidth-heavy activities, but this usually occurs only during short “rush hour” periods.
Usage regulation: If your internet connection has a data cap and used a certain amount of bandwidth, your connection can become deprioritized. Even “unlimited” plans often have unofficial data caps. As a result, your connection could be the first to get throttled in periods of network congestion, or your speeds might stay reduced until the next cycle starts.
Deprioritization of certain services: ISPs are permitted to limit access to streaming services as part of their efforts to manage everyone’s connections. But you shouldn’t be denied parts of the internet for arbitrary reasons totally unrelated to you.
How do I know if I’m being throttled?
You can determine if your internet is being throttled using the Internet Health Test. This tool was 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 connected to certain servers, but this drops to 20 Mbps when connected to some other services. A speed drop of more than 25-30% is abnormal and is caused by deliberate throttling on the part of your Internet Service Provider.
If you want to double-check that you are indeed being throttled, you can use Netflix’s fast.com. Since many ISPs specifically throttle speeds on streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube, 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 is another indication that your Internet service provider is throttling Netflix and probably other services as well.
Wehe’s an app for mobile users that 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 point towards the possibility of throttling, then there’s a good chance your ISP is involved in throttling your connection.
Best VPN to Bypass Bandwidth Throttling: An In-Depth Analysis
I have conducted an in-depth analysis of the best VPN providers that you can use to bypass ISP throttling and enjoy unrestricted, unlimited, and blazing fast internet speeds.
1. Best VPN to Bypass ISP Throttling – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to bypass ISP throttling. The provider has been the most popular choice among the VPN community for offering best-in-class security, privacy, unblocking, and data protection services.
Its server network consists of 3000+ servers in 94 countries that enable the users to bypass any form of geo-restriction and obtain unlimited, uninterrupted, and unlimited access to various streaming services, dating, shopping, and trading websites.
ExpressVPN offers consistently fast speeds for 4K Ultra-HD video streaming and lightning-fast torrent downloading. With this VPN, users can experience considerable improvements in their internet speed if they are on a throttled network connection. Its throttling prevention capabilities make it among one of the best VPN services for streaming and Netflix.
It is also known for offering best-in-class security and online privacy to its users due to its strict zero-log policy, AES-256-Bit encryption, private DNS, and trusted server network technology that completely hides the fact that you are even using a VPN.
ExpressVPN supports 5 simultaneous connections on a single subscription. Also, this provider is easily configurable on various popular devices such as Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Firestick, Roku, Chromebook, and more.
You can subscribe to ExpressVPN for $6.67/mo , and its premium subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about this provider, check out our ExpressVPN review.
2. Budget-friendly VPN to Bypass ISP Throttling – Surfshark
Surfshark is the most budget-friendly VPN to bypass ISP throttling. Launched in 2018, Surfshark has quickly gained the reputation of being one of the most budget-friendly VPN due to various economical subscription plans such as $2.49/mo.
Surfshark’s server network consists of 3200+ servers in 65 countries. Its whole network is capable of constantly delivering an average speed of 93 Mbps on a 100 Mbps internet connection to not only bypass ISP throttling but also allow you to stream your favorite streaming services such as Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more in Ultra-HD video playback quality.
Its privacy-enhancing features such as WhiteLister, internet kill switch, and MultiHop make it easy for you to bypass throttling. Its essential features include a no-log policy, P2P-friendly servers, secure DNS, open-source code, and military-grade AES-256-bit encryption.
You can use Surfshark to stop ISP throttling on Windows 10, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and more. In addition, you can use Surfshark on unlimited devices simultaneously with a single Surfshark account.
To learn more about this provider, check out our Surfshark review.
3. Secure VPN for Bypassing ISP Throttling – NordVPN
NordVPN is the most secure VPN to bypass ISP throttling. In addition, the provider offers scarce security and encryption features for the ultimate security, privacy, and data protection over the internet.
Based in Panama, a highly secured place, and operating in the market since 2012. The users of NordVPN can access 5200+ servers in 60 countries.
Although this provider focuses more on online security and privacy, its users can easily bypass any form of online censorship with its server network. As a result, you can easily unblock popular streaming services such as Hotstar, DAZN, YouTube TV US, ITV, UKTV, and many more at 4K Ultra-HD quality.
This VPN is free from IP address and DNS leaks, and PwC Switzerland has carefully audited it to ensure that all processes are secure and safe. NordVPN also offers you many important features for extra privacy, such as Onion Over VPN, DoubleVPN, and Kill Switch.
With a single NordVPN subscription, you can safeguard 6 devices simultaneously. Furthermore, the service is easily compatible with major popular devices such as Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, Roku, router, and more.
It is available for just $3.30/mo (VPN Awareness Month - 2 year plan at 72% off + 3 months FREE) and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. To learn more about this provider, check out our NordVPN review.
4. Fastest VPN to Bypass ISP Throttling – IPVanish
IPVanish is the fastest VPN to bypass ISP throttling. Our testing consistently delivered an average speed of 96 Mbps on a 100 Mbps internet connection.
It offers 1900+ servers in 75+ locations. These servers are fully capable of granting unlimited, uninterrupted, and blazing–fast access to various geo-restricted content such as streaming services, shopping websites, dating websites, and even banking websites abroad.
Even though IPVanish’s headquarters are located in the United States, its strict zero-log policy and AES-256-Bit encryption guarantee complete online security, privacy, and data protection, it also offers additional features such as ransomware protection, online backup, and file-sharing controls.
You can purchase IPVanish for only $3.75/mo , and the premium service comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Moreover, with a single IPVanish subscription, you can protect unlimited devices simultaneously. Meaning, you can set IPVanish on your Mac, Windows, Firestick, Android, iOS, Smart TV, Roku, Linux, PS4, and more simultaneously.
For more information on this service, please read our IPVanish review.
5. User-friendly VPN to Bypass ISP Throttling – CyberGhost
CyberGhost is a user-friendly VPN to bypass ISP throttling. In addition, the provider offers multiple custom-build VPN connection modes for streaming, torrenting, and online gaming to ensure the most optimized user-friendly experience.
CyberGhost offers 7000+ servers in 90 countries. The servers are categorized in multiple modes to ensure the most optimized solution to bandwidth throttling.
CyberGhost’s headquarters is located in Romania – a country in a safe jurisdiction and without any influence from the 5-eye, 9-eyes, and 14-eyes alliance. The service also uses military-grade AES-256-Bit encryption and keeps zero records of user’s internet activity, courtesy of a strict zero-log policy.
It can be used to secure up to 7 devices simultaneously. In addition, the security and encryption features ensure privacy, and the wide server network allows users to bypass throttling with remarkable efficiency.
The service is available for $2.25/mo and comes with a 45-day money-back guarantee. CyberGhost is a decent VPN solution to bandwidth throttling and best-in-class streaming, torrenting, and online gaming.
To learn more about this provider, check out our CyberGhost review.
How do 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 AES-256-Bit encryption and keeping your real identity masked from the eyes of your ISP. However, 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 track of. So, even if they wanted to throttle your internet connections, they’d be basically shooting in the dark.
What your ISP doesn’t know, they can’t control.
The Unfairness of Bandwidth Throttling
ISPs often throttle connections without having any justifiable reason to do so. For instance, they may throttle your connection if you are streaming some other service instead of using their own streaming services or content libraries. Some ISPs even demand services like Netflix to pay if they want their customers to access their content without throttling.
The lack of regulation and enough competition among ISPs enables this unfair throttling practice. In addition, there is no authority watching over these companies to stop them from throttling and charging their customers extra.
How to bypass data throttling on Android without root?
Android users tend to resort to solutions like device rooting 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 strongly recommend against rooting your phone. However, the beauty of VPN services is that they can be used to bypass throttling on Android devices without the need for rooting.
Instead of rooting, just follow the data throttling hack for Android below:
- Then, subscribe to a VPN (ExpressVPN recommended).
- Install the app on your device.
- Start the app and choose the desired server location.
- Experience the Internet with zero throttling.
This way, you can keep your stock Android intact and get the job done much more simply as well.
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. An iPhone VPN can be beneficial to get rid of these problems affecting your speed, as in Android.
Here’s how to successfully bypass throttling by ISP on iPhone in simple steps:
- Subscribe for a VPN (ExpressVPN recommended)
- 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 the VPN, perform Speedtest to confirm zero throttling.
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:
Here are the steps for bypassing T-Mobile throttling on Android devices:
- 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.
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 ISP throttles your connection on Windows, you can try stress testing your connection by running multiple bandwidth-intensive programs simultaneously.
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 perform a speed test once more. If you get better performance with a VPN, there’s a definite probability that you are running a throttled connection.
How to bypass the straight talk data cap?
Straight Talk imposes bandwidth throttling after the data consumption of users exceeds 2.5 GB. Therefore, even if the user has purchased a 10 GB plan, the speeds drop down once 2.5 GB of the allotted bandwidth has been used.
Since a VPN effectively turns you invisible to the eyes of your ISP, you can utilize one to avoid data caps on Straight Talk.
The most effective way to bypass throttling while torrenting is to hide your online activity using a VPN. All of our recommended VPNs in this guide are fully capable of concealing your online activities from your ISP so that you can avoid bandwidth throttling and download torrents with ease.
Unfortunately, with net neutrality laws now repealed, ISPs can legally throttle your internet connection.
Yes. If the VPN is not secure enough or is prone to leaks, then ISPs can throttle your connection even through a VPN.
Here’s how you can bypass AT&T throttling:
- Sign up for a VPN provider (ExpressVPN is our #1 recommendation for bypassing bandwidth throttling).
- Download and install the ExpressVPN application on your device.
- Log in to the application using ExpressVPN’s account details.
- Locate and connect to your desired server.
- That’s it. Once the VPN connection is established, you can now bypass AT&T throttling.
To avoid throttling, Comcast VPN comes in handy in this situation. With this VPN provider, you can use a fake IP address and conceal your actual identity and IP address, so your Comcast ISP won’t be able to throttle your connection while you are streaming, download torrents or play online games.
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 activities, including streaming, online gaming, browsing, or even downloading torrents.
To summarize, if you’re experiencing bandwidth throttling from your internet service provider, such as AT&T, you can only bypass throttling with VPN.
By redirecting your network traffic through VPN servers, you can stop your ISP from monitoring your activities and setting bandwidth restrictions.
For this purpose, ExpressVPN is our recommended VPN service due to lightning-fast 3000+ servers in 94 countries that offer best-in-class security, privacy, data protection, and unblocking capabilities.
If you hurry up, you can avail of ExpressVPN’s limited time “12 months + 3 months free” subscription, which comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.