Nothing's more frustrating than a slow internet connection. Sadly, there's often not much that can be done about it. A page that's slow to load usually indicates something wrong with its server, not yours, and experts say that at times of heavy virus activity – with malicious programs leaping from one machine to another – the whole internet can feel like it's crashing down.
Nonetheless, while you obviously can't fix the whole internet, there are a few things you can do on your end to keep your connection going as fast as possible:
This is a no-brainer, but any time I turn on my Wi-Fi finder, I'm always stunned by how many people leave their routers unsecured. If your network isn't protected, you're losing precious bandwidth to any wandering wi-fi poacher. So before you do anything else, lock up your network with a password.
The firewall is one of your best defenses against malicious programs. Yes, it can slow web browsing, but it's essential to have one up. However, you only need one. Often users unknowingly run both Windows firewall and their anti-virus program's firewall (such as Norton's). So, turn off one of those firewalls, and enjoy the speed boost.
When you surf the web, each page you visit is stored as a temporary file on your computer. Over time, these accumulate and take up disk space. If your computer is running out of disk space, this can cause browsing speed to slow down. So it's a good idea to clear out these files regularly.
If you're using Internet Explorer, simply go to Internet Options, and choose Delete Browsing History. A window will pop up. Check the box asking if you want to delete stored files, and your IE will be good as new.
If you have Firefox, go under Tools, and select Clear Private Data, then check off all the things you want deleted.
Wireless users should try to keep their computer near the access point, with few physical obstacles in the way, such as walls and doors. Devices such as microwaves and cordless phones that emit certain kinds of signals can also interfere with a wireless connection, so make sure they're not in the same room as your router and PC.
Internet Explorer is the default browser on Windows, so it's the default option of most Windows users. While recent upgrades have made it one of the more secure web-surfing programs, its many features make it also one of the more resource-hungry. If you really need speed you might want to consider switching to Firefox or Google's Chrome, which tend to do better in speed tests. Alternatively, you can remove some of the bells and whistles - the Yahoo Search Bar, among other things - that are such memory hogs.
To remove Internet Explorer add-ons, go to Tools, Internet Options, the Programs tab, and choose Manage add-ons. This opens a tool where you can see – and remove – all the extras that have been added it IE.
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