ISP throttling is a more common issue and requires immediate attention if you want to enjoy good network speeds. The Net Neutrality laws have given ISPs leeway to meddle with their bandwidth allocation.
If you are experiencing that, then you might be a victim of bandwidth throttling. However, fret not, as you can use a VPN to easily bypass throttling.
This post will tell you about the 3 best VPN providers to bypass ISP throttling, starting with ExpressVPN – our #1 recommendation to free you from the shackles of bandwidth limit restrictions and data caps.
ISP Throttling Explained
ISP throttling is 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.
Streaming video-on-demand services or using gaming in high definition utilizes a lot of bandwidth. So, to keep things moving, the ISP throttles or slows internet service to allow users to keep at least accessing the sites they need to, even if the experience is slower. This is called content-based internet throttling.
Why Do ISPs Throttle your Bandwidth?
There are multiple reasons for ISP to throttle your bandwidth. The most common reasons to throttle your internet speed and limit your data transmission speeds include:
1. Tackling network congestion: Heavy internet usage will slow down the internet speeds of other people in the same area. To neutralize this problem, ISP may throttle the connection of anyone using high amounts of bandwidth.
2. Usage regulation: If your internet connection has a data cap and used a certain amount of bandwidth, your connection can become deprioritized. As a result, your connection could be the first to get throttled in periods of congestion on the network, or your speeds might stay reduced until the next cycle starts. You may even lose your internet contract.
3. Deprioritization of certain services: Internet service providers are permitted to limit access to streaming platforms as part of their efforts to manage everyone’s connections. They can the websites you visit, and more. 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 to help you check your connection speeds.
If you see a pattern of huge variations in the measured speed when the tool connects to different servers, then this indicates throttling.
A speed drop of more than 25-30% is abnormal and is caused by deliberate bandwidth 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.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 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.
Luckily, you can bypass bandwidth limits with a VPN. Using a VPN, you don’t have to worry about going over your data usage limit. ISPs use various techniques to throttle internet speed, but using a VPN is an efficient way to bypass it.
3 Best VPNs to Bypass ISP Throttling
I have conducted an in-depth analysis of the best VPN providers that you can use to bypass internet throttling and achieve maximum internet speed:
1. All-rounder VPN with Blazing-fast Speeds – ExpressVPN
ExpressVPN is the best VPN to bypass ISP throttling and get super-fast speeds. Its server network consists of 3000+ servers in 94 countries that enable the internet users to bypass any form of geo-restrictions and obtain unlimited, uninterrupted, and unlimited access to various streaming, dating, shopping, and trading websites.
Its throttling prevention capabilities make it among one of the best VPN services for streaming. Thanks to its fantastic unblocking capabilities, users can easily enjoy Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, HBO Max, and much more using this VPN.
It is also known for offering best-in-class security and online privacy to internet users due to its strict no-logs policy, AES-256-Bit encryption, DNS leak protection, and trusted server network technology that completely hides the fact that you are even using a VPN by disguising your VPN traffic.
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 (Save 49% and get 3 extra months FREE with 12-month plan), and its premium subscription comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
To learn more about this provider, check out our ExpressVPN review.
- Unblocks geo-restricted content like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and more
- Offers great speeds
- Provides robust security on the network
- Comes with 3000+ servers in 94 countries
- Offers five multi-logins only
2. Budget-friendly VPN with Streaming-Optimized Servers – Surfshark
Surfshark is the most budget-friendly VPN to overcome bandwidth throttling. Its server network consists of 3200+ servers in 65 countries.
The whole network is capable of constantly delivering a good connection speed to not only defeat ISP throttling but also allow you to stream your favorite streaming services in Ultra-HD video playback quality like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Hulu, Disney Plus, and more.
Its privacy-enhancing features such as WhiteLister, internet kill switch, and MultiHop make it easy for you to stop throttling. Its essential features include a no-logs policy, P2P-friendly servers, secure DNS, open-source code, and military-grade AES-256-bit encryption.
You can use Surfshark to stop ISP throttling onWindows 10, Mac OS, iOS, Android, and more. In addition, you can use Surfshark on unlimited devices simultaneously with a single Surfshark account.
The service is available for just $2.30/mo (82% Off on 2 Years + 2 Months Free Plan) with a 30-day money-back guarantee, and you can also avail of a Surfshark free trial to try this service risk-free.
To learn more about this provider, check out our Surfshark review.
- Cheap VPN service
- Unblocks geo-restricted content like Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Netflix, Hotstar, etc
- Offers reliable speeds and optimized servers
- Allows secure torrenting
- Offers unlimited multi-logins
- Comes with 3200+ servers in 65 countries
- Inconsistent customer chat support
3. Robust VPN Service with Obfuscation Technology – NordVPN
NordVPN is the most secure VPN for bypassing ISP throttling. 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.
This VPN is free from IP and DNS leaks, and PwC Switzerland has carefully audited its no logs policy 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.
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 Disney Plus, DAZN, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime, ITV, UKTV, and many more at 4K Ultra-HD quality.
It is available for just $3.49/mo (Save 70% on 2 Years Plan + Extra Subscription) and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. To learn more about this provider, check out our NordVPN review.
- Unblocks Netflix, Hotstar Hulu, YouTube TV, Amazon Prime, and more
- Provides top-notch security features, including AES 256-bit encryption, no logs, obfuscated servers, and more
- Offers Six multi-logins
- Comes with 5100+ servers in 60 countries
- Not all servers are super-speedy
- Desktop app comes with a few glitches
How Do VPNs Help Bypass ISP Throttling?
A VPN is a private network that allows internet 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.
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.
Bypass ISP Throttling on iPhone And Android
A VPN is the most effective option to bypass ISP throttling on your smartphone. It bypasses any restrictions that your internet service provider puts on your speeds and offers a stable internet connection.
Follow the steps below of a step-by-step guide:
- Select a premium VPN service for your smartphone (ExpressVPN is the best VPN to stop throttling).
- Install a VPN app on your iOS or Android smartphone.
- Connect to any server you prefer.
- Enjoy super-fast speeds on streaming, browsing, and torrenting.
The most effective way to stop throttling while torrenting is to hide your online activity using a VPN. Out of all the VPNs, ExpressVPN is fully capable of concealing your online activities from your ISP so that you can avoid bandwidth throttling and download torrents with ease.
You can bypass AT&T throttling by using a VPN. Follow these steps for this:
- Sign up for a VPN provider (ExpressVPN is our #1 recommendation for bypassing bandwidth throttling).
- Install the ExpressVPN application on your device.
- Log in to the application using ExpressVPN’s account details.
- Locate and connect to your desired server.
- Once the VPN connection is established, you can bypass AT&T throttling.
Although you can use a proxy server to avoid ISP throttling, it’s not guaranteed that it will stop the throttling. Your ISP might still be able to see your online activities. This is why you should always opt for a VPN service when it comes to ISP throttling.
Yes, a VPN will stop ISP throttling by masking your online activities. This way, your internet service provider won’t know what you’re doing online and would be unable to throttle your internet.
Yes, VPNs are legal in most countries of the world. However, you shouldn’t use a VPN for performing illegal activities, like accessing copyrighted content.
No, ISP throttling is not illegal. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) declared that no ISP should discriminate what type of content needs to be throttled in 2011. However, for the last 10 years, it isn’t technically permitted in the US to prohibit particular types of content.
However, for users who believe in Net Neutrality, it isn’t easy to prove that your ISP is throttling different types of data on purpose.
If your ISP throttles your speeds, there is no way for you to prove that as it won’t be reflected in the internet speed scores.
You can try using a reliable free VPN like Windscribe to bypass ISP throttling. Even though a proxy server can also be used, a VPN is the best solution to avoid throttling as it offers better security.
A VPN can help you bypass ISP throttling since it doesn’t let your ISP identify where your traffic is generating from. However, one should always use premium VPN services like ExpressVPN to avoid bandwidth throttling.
Here are a few steps to improve your internet speed:
- Upgrade to a faster internet connection.
- Invest in a VPN service.
- Turn off your Wi-Fi router and turn it on again.
- Move closer to the internet router.
- Adjust the antennas of your router.
To summarize, if you’re experiencing throttling from your internet service provider, such as AT&T, you can only bypass ISP throttling and bandwidth limits with a VPN.
By redirecting your network traffic through VPN servers, you can stop your internet service provider (ISP) from monitoring websites you visit and setting bandwidth limit restrictions.
For this purpose, ExpressVPN is our recommended VPN. If you hurry up, you can avail of ExpressVPN’s limited time “12 months + 3 months free” subscription, which comes with a 30-day refund window as well.