Ideas on how to diagnose a slow internet connection

Recently my internet has been slow, I wonder if anyone has techniques to diagnose the culprit?

The first thing to do is use critical thinking- when you say recently my internet became slow, what I hear is on X day, Y thing happened, and now my internet is slow. When specifically did your internet become slow, and what happened at that point in time? Did you update your computer that day? Was there a big storm that day or the day before? What did you download or install that day? Nailing all that down will probably give you some hints- maybe you accidentally downloaded some malware, and you need to run a scan and clean your computer. Maybe there was a storm that knocked out some internet in your area.

Failing that, your next recourse is to try every component in your pipeline. If you’re connected to WiFi on your computer, that gives you: computer > browser > router > modem > ISP that could all be the problem. You can try a different computer and different browser easily. Router, modem, and ISP may be more difficult if you don’t have a spare router lying around

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I’ll have to think about that. Two browsers are slow, nothing that I am aware of has changed. I have been meaning to upgrade my system but haven’t. Thanks for the response.

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This could be so many different things, as Joseph said, and it can be a massive pain to diagnose.

Easy stuff I do first:

  • Check if any other devices using my connection are also slow.
  • Check if a lot of apps are running for a long period of time (time to reboot anyway)
  • Did I install something new? Might want to roll it back if other things fail.
  • Reboot computer, modem, router.
  • Speed test.
  • Malware scan.

Then we start to get into the weeds.

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Seriously don’t discount the malware scan. So many computer problems can be solved with a quick install of Malwarebytes

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Meaning: Any (or better multiple) “internet speed test” ( ← just search for this) done directly in your browser (or more) … and have a look at any network monitor while doing this…

Maybe just even clear the browser cache(s)…


Yeah, that’s the thing. For now it seems to have improved with clearing the browser cache and switching to chromium (google chrome). Maybe it was a temporary thing. I did a speed test for the browser and it seems to indicate my version of firefox is pretty slow, I don’t know why this version is slow. As I said though for now it seems to be working better. I am reluctant to put Malware scanners on this computer, I am always suspicious that it makes the computer slower too.

Thanks @joseph and @Okidoki for the aid.


Could have been a temporary slowdown anywhere along the line. I used to live in an area where everyone in the neighbourhood seemed to jump on the net around the same time, and things would crawl for a while.

I don’t keep my malware scanners active all the time, that would put an extra load on my machine that The Potato doesn’t need. But I do scan at regular intervals, and under certain circumstances – I definitely scan when my internet is slow.

Glad it’s working better for now!

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If that’s the only thing where your net is slow, that’s very likely just the site you’re watching. Especially the less legitimate sites are chronically problematic.

If this is towards the end of a service period or you get otherwise close to your bandwidth cap, it could also be your ISP throttling or shaping your connection.