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The odds are good that you pay more attention to your download speed than your upload speed. Every time you use a web server, you need a good upload speed, especially when it comes to gaming that uses files and videos. Now is a great time to find out why your upload speed is so slow and what you can do about it.
What is a Good Upload Speed?
Your upload speed is important because it tells you how quickly your PC sends data. It applies to how quickly you send data to another player in an online game and how fast you can share data from your game. You don’t need to play online games to need a good speed, either. Do you use cloud storage to free up hard drive space? A slow upload speed can seriously increase the time it takes to load your data to the cloud.
A good upload speed is 25 Mbps. This is fast enough for gamers and people who work from home. Many people have an upload speed of just 5 to 10 Mbps and find that it works well. You may want a faster speed if you send a lot of data, such as projects.
This can include games that require a faster speed and if you need to send projects and large files to your clients. The speed you obtain can depend on the type of internet connection you have, too. DSL tops out around 1.5 Mbps, while cable connections can reach speeds as high as 50 Mbps. People who do not play online games or like streaming can usually get by with a slower upload speed.
Best Speeds for Different Activities
The best upload speed for your home will depend on what you want to do. If you use video apps such as Skype and Zoom to chat with people in real time, you need a speed of up to 3 Mbps. Do you love sharing videos on Facebook Live or often host live chats on Instagram?
Videos you film in 4K need a speed of up to 15 Mbps, while HD videos require 3 Mbps or more. When it comes to gaming, the best way to avoid buffering and glitches are with an upload speed of around 6 Mbps. You will also need a minimum upload speed of 10 Mbps for most work activities.
How Can I Check My Upload Speed?
When you sign up for an internet plan, you pick an ISP and sign a contract. The contract states your upload and download speeds. One big problem is that your ISP can reduce your speeds without telling you.
Doing a speed test is the best way to see if the ISP delivers on the promises made in your contract. Searching for speed tests on Google gives you quick access to a free test that takes only seconds to run. Before you run the test, make sure you do a few things:
- Shut down any apps or programs you usually run. Do not run a speed test while you try to download or upload any files. You can also restart your PC before running the test.
- Turn off a VPN if you use one. These networks require a lot of PC resources and can slow down your speed.
- Use an ethernet cable to check your connection instead of using Wi-Fi. Your Wi-Fi can have a lot of traffic or congestion that reduces your upload speed. Using the cable lets you compare the speed you get to the one your ISP guaranteed.
Once you pick a test, you just need to click on the button and wait for your results. Most of the tests we tried finished in as little as 30 seconds, but some will take a little longer. You will see both your upload and download speeds on the screen.
The test will also tell you if your speeds are normal or abnormal, which means that they are lower or faster than others. Though you can run an internet speed test whenever you want, consider trying it when your network has less traffic. It’s helpful to try at different points during the day to compare your speeds, too.
8 Reasons & Fixes for Slow Upload Speeds
While you need to know what a good upload speed is and how to check your speed, there’s no guarantee that it will help you figure out why your upload speed is so slow. We found a handful of reasons why your speeds are less than expected and fixes that go along with those causes.
1. Old Router
An old router works fine for most people, but it doesn’t work nearly as well for gamers and people who spend a lot of time online. The brands behind these devices claim to last 3 to 5 years. Your router is one of the most important devices in your internet setup.
It takes the signal from your modem and ensures that other devices can use it without relying on cables, though you do have the option of running ethernet cables from the router to your devices. Using an outdated router is one reason your upload speed is lower than you would like.
Getting a new router is the best way to fix this problem. Many of the newer routers use Wi-Fi 6, which is the most recent version. As soon as you hook up the router, you should notice a big increase in your speeds.
Always contact your ISP before you spend money on a new router. There is a chance that the company might block you from using a new router unless you buy one from them or the router you buy isn’t compatible with the provider. Your ISP may even require that you rent a router instead of buying one.
2. Weak Wi-Fi Signal
Your router produces a Wi-Fi signal that attempts to reach as many parts of your home as possible. When you’re closer to the router, you get faster speeds, but moving further away makes it natural for those speeds to slow down.
There are a few solutions to this problem such as moving all of your devices closer to the router or using an ethernet cable. You can even use one of these cables when you need a fast upload speed for a few minutes but can get by with a lower speed most of the time.
Using a signal booster is another way to boost your speed and improve your Wi-Fi signal. These devices are compact and fit in any outlet, but they can take up both spaces in a standard wall outlet. When the booster picks up on the signal from your router, it amplifies it.
Not only can the booster send a signal to rooms near the back of your home, but they can boost the signal to your second floor, too. You can even set up a few boosters that bounce the Wi-Fi signal all around your home.
3. Faulty Browser
Your web browser is the app that you use to surf the web. Many people use Chrome or Firefox, but there are other popular options. When your upload speed is too low, you might have problems sending data to the server that controls your email.
Have you ever clicked on a favorite website before and found that it took way too long to load? This often indicates a problem with your browser that reduces your upload speed.
Checking to see if the browser has a problem is easy. Open your cell phone and try using its browser to load the same page. If you can view the page using a different browser, you know it’s an issue with your computer browser.
However, a page that still won’t load tells you there’s a problem with that site. Shutting down the browser is another option. Close the browser and wait a few minutes before you open it again. You may also want to shut down your PC and restart it before using the browser.
4. Outdated Drivers
Every accessory and piece of hardware you use with your computer has some type of driver. You can set up your PC to search for driver updates regularly. When it finds a new update, it will download a copy and install it for you.
There’s a good chance that your upload speed is slow because you keep using the same outdated drivers. Updating those drivers can help you get online faster and ensure you hit the upload speed you want.
Head to Google and search for driver updates with the name of your hardware or device. Stick to the files you find on the official brand websites to avoid grabbing any malware.
You can also use the admin panel on your PC to search for driver updates. Don’t forget to look for router updates, too. While you may need to invest in a new router to get the speed you like, updating the driver on your old router can also help and is much cheaper.
5. Low Bandwidth
Another reason you don’t get the high speed you want is due to low bandwidth from your ISP. No matter what ISP you choose, the chances are good that they limit bandwidth speeds. Some even set this limit to 20 Mbps or less.
This may not seem like an issue until you need to send an email with a large file attached to it or you want to play an online game with its server. Run a speed test and compare it to the speed you should get.
You can then reach out to your provider and tell them you have a lower speed than you should. If you’re lucky, the company will schedule an appointment with one of their techs.
The tech will look for issues that affect your speed such as a faulty connector on the street or in your home. Not all ISPs will take this step though. Some will ask you to pay extra for a service call or recommend that you upgrade to a plan that costs more.
6. Crowded Router
Many people do not realize that their routers have quite a few temporary files stored on them. Every time you do anything online, you create some data that your router stores for future use.
Those files can take up so much space that your router slows down and limits both your upload and download speeds. Resetting your router can help you clear out some of those files and speed it up.
Most models have a reset button, which you’ll see either on the back or one side. This button sits below the surface of the plastic case and is hard to reach, but you can use a bent paperclip to press it.
You usually need to press this button for five seconds or longer. With a soft reset, you just need to unplug the router and wait a few minutes before you plug in all the cables and turn them on again. A hard reset using the reset button will wipe all of the clutter off the router.
7. Using Too Many Devices
Shared connections often come with a lot of problems. You might remember how long it took to download files in college, where tons of other students used the same connection. Every device in your home uses the same internet connection. Many people don’t have any problems because they only use a few devices simultaneously.
If you stream a Netflix show on your smart TV at the same time that you upload a file to the cloud on your computer, you don’t need to worry about slow speeds. When other people in your home use their devices to upload and download files, the chances are that none of you will get the speeds you want or need.
Reducing the number of devices on your network is the best way to fix the problem. You might decide to skip playing a game to let someone else watch the latest Hulu show or your whole family might pick a show to watch together and turn off all of their other devices.
If you need to use multiple devices simultaneously, talk with your ISP about different internet plans and packages. Upgrading to a better plan is your best option.
8. You Have Malware
Malware can also be one of the reasons why your upload speed is slow. It’s easier to pick up malware online than ever because scammers make emails and websites look trustworthy. You might click on a link in an email from your bank and visit a site that looks like the real one.
Even if you don’t log into your account, simply visiting the website can lead to a virus moving through your system. Other forms of malware include adware and spyware.
Internet problems are a big sign of malware. You probably know you need to worry when you see a bunch of pop-up ads on your screen, but you may not realize that malware can also slow down your upload speed as it uses your internet for nefarious purposes.
Always scan your system to look for malware and follow the instructions to get rid of it. You should also install anti-virus software to check for future viruses.
Why is Uploading Slower Than Downloading?
One of the big things you might notice is that your uploading speed is much slower than your download speed. While you can stream a movie almost instantly, moving big files to the cloud can take hours to back them up.
This often happens because your ISP set faster download speeds and gives priority to downloads. They know that their customers want to download data faster than they upload data. It’s worth noting that both your upload and download speeds are usually 90% or less of the ISP’s advertised speeds.
Download speeds are always faster than upload speeds. A good download speed allows you to use streaming apps that help you keep up with the hottest shows and watch your favorite movies as well as play online games.
You need a download speed of up to 5 Mbps for most basic tasks like checking your email and searching online. You want a higher speed of around 100 Mbps for streaming and gaming.
With so many reasons why your upload speed is so slow, it’s hard to tell which problem affects you or if you have a few issues. Look over these reasons for slow upload speeds and try a few different fixes to improve your speed. A good upload speed of 25 Mbps will help you do anything you want to do online.