How to Get Faster Uploads

By Fraser Sherman

Sometimes there's a simple reason your computer uploads slow to a crawl. If you're sending someone a high-quality photo or any kind of large file, it's going to take longer than a simple email. There are other possible reasons that aren't so obvious, although not all of them will be fixable on your end.

Refresh Your Router

The router on your network connects your computer to the Internet. If your router is out-of-date, that can slow down the computer's performance. Fortunately, you can update it without buying a new one. To do this, you update the firmware -- the router's built-in programs. Find the router model and version number on the back, go the manufacturer's website and see if there are upgrades available. Open the router's configuration page -- the paperwork that came with the router should tell you how -- and direct it to make the changes.

Network Issues

If you're only one of several computers on the same network, other activity on the network will affect your speed. A different user playing games, streaming video or uploading batches of photos on the same network can slow you down to a crawl even if you're just doing regular browsing. One solution is to set rules for computer use -- when your family can play games online, say -- or to obtain more bandwidth. Another is to invest in a program that limits how much bandwidth each computer can tap; examples include Netlimiter, SoftPerfect Bandwidth Manager and Netbalancer.

Frozen Firewall

Your firewall is supposed to let you access the Web freely while keeping out hackers, viruses and other threats. Usually, the more restrictive the firewall settings, the slower your connection becomes. If the settings are too tight, the firewall may block you from uploading at all. Open up your firewall program and check the security settings. If it's higher than "medium," reset it to that level or to the "default" setting, then test your connection to see if that speeds things up.

ISPs and Speed

Your Internet service provider has its own speed limits, independent of anything you do at home. If the ISP has problems in your region, your upload speed may pick up once they're fixed. You can also pay more to get faster service. If you're at the maximum speed your provider offers and you're not satisfied, switching companies -- if there's a competitor in your neighborhood -- may be your only option. There are several websites that offer easy one-click access for testing your connection speeds (see Resources).