How to troubleshoot a slow Internet connection

Slow internet browsing can be very frustrating. It's possible that there is something specific to your location and equipment that is causing the slow down.

Check your speed

To figure out whether the lag time you're experiencing is too much:

  1. Connect a computer to the modem with an Ethernet cable
  1. Disconnect and power down all devices that access the Internet like other computers, gaming systems, Netflix or other movie streaming devices, DVRs, other routers, switches, VoIP phones, mobile phones and wireless printers.
  2. Next, run a speed test and use the table below to figure out if you're getting the speed you should.

Note: Your speed can be affected by changes in network traffic and usage, which will usually vary across days and the time of day. To get the most accurate reading, run the speed test more than once, including different times of the day and different days of the week.

  1. Write down the date, time and your results each time you run a test.
  2. Compare your results against the table below. Are your speeds lower than or at/above the Target Download Speed?
Your Connection Speed Target Download Speed (Wired)
1.5 Mbps 1.2 Mbps
3 Mbps 2.4 Mbps
5 Mbps 4 Mbps
7 Mbps 5.6 Mbps
12 Mbps 9.6 Mbps
20 Mbps 16 Mbps
40 Mbps 32 Mbps

If your speed test result was at or above the Target Download Speed, then you're receiving your subscribed speed. For example, if you've purchased a CenturyLink Internet package with 1.5 Mbps speed, your Target Download Speed shouldn't be lower than 1.2 Mbps.

To find out if faster speeds are available where you live:

  • Go to our high-speed Internet services page.
  • Select the Get Internet Now button for what speeds are available in your area.
  • If faster speeds are not available, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Notify Me button. We will email you when a faster speed is available where you live.

If the speed test shows your speed is slower than the Target Download Speed for your connection, you need to run a second test and check your modem speed.

  • Open up a web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc.).
  • Type* in the address bar, and hit Enter.
  • Select Modem Status and locate the rate (downstream/download or upstream/upload). If you don't see Modem Status, troubleshoot as if your speed test is less than 100%.

Still less than the Target Download Speed?

Lastly, bad wiring can cause slow connections. To figure out if the problem is inside or outside your house, test your service at the Network Interface Device (NID).

Still haven't found the problem?

If your modem, filters and cables are installed correctly, it's possible your web browser isn't working superiorly, your wireless connection is partially blocked, a virus has found its way onto your computer and/or equipment is malfunctioning.

If none of these things resonate with you, a PC Health Check* might reveal some useful information. There is no cost to run a health check on your computer. The service is secure and takes about 7 minutes to complete. While the service is running, you can chat with an agent at any time by opening the LogMeInRescue window. When the health check is finished, you'll get a list of recommendations for what you can do next.

If you'd prefer to simply ask someone some questions, chat with us. We're here to help.

Did you know?

  • The way a website is built or the equipment the website owner uses has a direct affect on the speed with which you experience a particular website or web page. 

  • Also, the amount of traffic on the internet can cause the speed of your service to vary. This is similar to a freeway you drive your car on. You may have a very fast car, but if the traffic on the freeway is slow, it is going to affect how fast your car can go. It has the same affect on your browsing experience.

*Availability varies.