Why Is My PC Download Speed So Slow?

By Matt Koble

There are times when downloading a file that your download speed seems inadequate. Unfortunately, pinpointing the exact reason for the slowdown can be a bit tricky, because there are many culprits. It could be hardware, type of connection or connection speed. It could even be the speed of the computer or network with which you are connecting.

Poor Internet Connection

One of the most common causes of a slow download rate is a poor Internet connection. If you're using dial-up or a poor-quality broadband connection, you will experience slow download speeds. It is usually easy to tell if this is the case because the Internet, overall, will be slow. If you have what should be a high-speed connection but things move slow, consider contacting your Internet service provider and ask them if they have any idea why your service is so sub-par.

Shared Internet Connection

Many people use shared networks to connect to the Internet. These connections, often shared with members of the same household, tend to slow down when everyone is using the connection at the same time. For example, if you're trying to download something at the same time somebody else in your house is on another computer, you won't experience the same speed you would if they weren't on the Internet. This is also an issue with cable Internet. Subscribers in a given area share a really good connection, but during high-traffic times, that connection can be reduced to a crawl.

Poor Hardware

The hardware you use to connect to the Internet plays a big role in speed. A good modem and router that support at least 802.11G will help ensure you get the speed for which you pay. Also, your network adapter card, which allows your computer to get wireless Internet, will play a part in connection speed. With poor hardware, you may experience slow downloads because of hardware inefficiency. Make sure you purchase hardware with a wireless range good enough to support your needs.

Upload Speed

If you are uploading things to the Internet as you download, it will greatly affect the speed of your download.

Source Problems

Sometimes the problem can be out of your hands. Sometimes the source of a file you are downloading experiences a slowdown. If the server the files are on is under a lot of strain or the user you're getting the files from is having connection problems, you will experience slow download speeds. The only way around this problem is to find another source from which to download the file.