Optimize your Internet connection

By making changes to a few small things, like your browser settings, modem settings, and wireless equipment, you can improve your connection speed and surf the Internet faster.

First, start with a speed test to see if your connection is lagging. Read "How to troubleshoot a slow Internet connection" for step-by-step instructions on how to do this.

Check your DSL filters

They're the most likely reason you're experiencing problems. Filters are required for DSL service. They keep the signal clear and strong. If they're installed wrong, damaged or missing, your signal will be compromised. For more information, read "Internet & Phone Working Together with Filters." If you need filters, chat with us to order more, or you can purchase them from most electronics stores.

Remove electronic interference and physical barriers

This suggestion is particularly important if you're using a wireless connection. Microwaves, cell phones, baby monitors, large furniture and much more can slow down a wireless signal. To improve your speed, be aware of possible sources of interference in your home and make the necessary changes. Read "Improve the performance of your wireless connection" to learn what you need to do.

Manage your browser

Delete your browser's temporary files (e.g., history, cache, cookies)

These exist so your browser doesn't have to keep downloading the same content over and over again, but they take up hard disk space, storing graphics and data for sites that you may never visit again. How to clear your temporary files (or cache) varies from browser to browser. However, many browsers have a Tools menu, and you can find a button to delete temporary files under Options. If this isn't true for your browser, go to its Help section for guidance.

Tip: Browsers typically give you the option to delete your passwords and web form data. You don't need to delete this information, unless you want to. If you do delete it, you'll need to re-enter your passwords and form data the first time you visit web pages.

Turn off your browser's plug-ins, add-ons and extensions

If you've ever used JavaScript, Flash, QuickTime, Adobe Reader, Adblock Plus, Silverlight, Windows Media Player, Real Audio Player, WinAmp or Firebug, you've used a plug-in, add-on and/or extension. These little gems make browsers more fun and productive, allowing you to customize your experience to suit your particular needs, but they also can be bandwidth intensive. If you don't need them, disable them and improve your surfing speed.

Did you know?

  • While disabling JavaScript almost certainly will speed up your browsing, some sites (e.g., Twitter, YouTube) won't work without it so... there are trade-offs. However, some providers (e.g., Gmail) use lots of JavaScript but also let you open their sites in "basic HTML" mode.
  • Sometimes when you install a program, it can change your browser settings -- adding extensions, changing your home page, picking a new default search engine -- without you knowing it. Then, later, you notice your browser acting odd and wonder why. If you think you might be experiencing this, try resetting your browser settings.
  • Browsers interact with your operating system and ISP in different ways. Some can handle plug-ins, add-ins and extensions better than others. It can be useful to install different browsers to see what works best on your computer. Popular browsers include: Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Apple's Safari. (Note: Be sure to download the right browser for your operating system.)
  • Make sure your plug-ins, add-ons and extensions are up to date. To do this search the web for how-to instructions. For instance, "I need to update my Mozilla plugins."

Turn off software programs running in the background

If you're having speed issues, trim down what you have running on your computer to the bare essentials. Web browsers require a surprising amount of computing power to operate. Having additional programs open forces your computer to think about more things and can slow it down.

Tip: On a Windows machine, pressing and holding CTRL-ALT-Delete opens the Task Manager and shows you what's running. On Mac, use Command - Option - Escape.

Run a virus scan checking for malicious software

Viruses, worms, Trojan horses or other unwanted invaders can slow your computer down (and damage your system). If you need help getting a virus off your computer, read "Keep your computer healthy with PC diagnostic and security scans."

Upgrade or change the configuration of your equipment

If you have a blazing fast connection speed but your equipment is old, you will never go as fast as you could with new technology. New computers and routers have better processing speeds than old ones. For instance, an old router may only be able to transmit at 10 Mbps, even though the port could handle 100 Mbps. Sometimes you can get more out of a router/modem by upgrading its firmware. Go to the manufacturer's website for download recommendations. If you have a CenturyLink-supported modem, visit the CenturyLink Internet Help site to find the latest firmware updates.

Did you know?

  • Reconfiguring your equipment can improve your connection speed. For instance, if you're using wireless, connecting directly to your modem via an Ethernet cable can significantly improve your speed. Also, sometimes routers can slow you down. Try connecting your computer directly to the modem (bypassing the router) to see if that improves your speed. If it does, you know the router may need to be upgraded.
  • Restarting (power cycling) your modem can improve your connection speed. To do this, unplug your modem's power cord for at least 20 seconds and then plug it back in again. Wait 2 minutes for the modem to finish its restart. Test your Internet connection.
  • Sometimes a little computer maintenance does a world of a good. Defragging your computer (Windows | Mac) better organizes the data on your computer so it can be processed faster. Usually, this task can be automated and scheduled for a convenient time.

For further assistance, chat with us. We're here to help!