If you’ve been a Verizon customer for any amount of time, you may have experienced what’s known as “speed throttling.” Verizon has a history of slowing down users’ internet speeds at different times and for different reasons. Unfortunately, with the loss of Net Neutrality rules, Verizon now has free reign to throttle your internet speeds at will, for almost any reason. Thankfully, you can bypass Verizon throttling easily in just a few minutes.
Verizon Throttling Explained
When Verizon “throttles” your speed, they are using various methods to reduce your available bandwidth. This means that the amount of data you can download or upload at any time is significantly reduced.
Verizon uses speed throttling for a variety of reasons. In some cases, it uses speed throttling to help ease congestion on its network. At other times, however, it will throttle individuals who are using too much data or those who are streaming from different websites that Verizon wishes to block.
In general, speed throttling can occur at any time and for almost any reason. So long as you are a Verizon customer, the company can throttle speeds. That includes not just those using Verizon cable or fiber networks, but also Verizon’s wireless services as well. And while Verizon has claimed in the past that it doesn’t engage in speed throttling, the company has been caught doing that very thing on several occasions.
If you find your speeds decreasing while using Verizon, there could be many different reasons. However, given the company’s known history with speed throttling, there’s they are intentionally slowing your speeds.
Use a VPN to Stop Verizon Speed Throttling
The best way to bypass Verizon speed throttling is to use a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN service will help hide your browsing and streaming activities from Verizon. As a result, you will effectively get around the primary methods Verizon uses to throttle internet speeds.
You may have also seen some vilification of VPNs in news media and other sources. Virtual private networks are neither illegal nor unethical to use, however. Most large companies with a national and international presence have been using VPNs for decades. VPNs allow anyone with an internet connection to connect securely and privately to a remotely located server. For businesses, that means allowing teleworkers to connect to company servers and access important documents while away from the office.
For consumer purposes, a VPN works in a very similar way. However, instead of connecting to a company server, you connect to the VPN service provider’s private servers. From there, you can access anything on the web. Once connected to the VPN server, any data passing between you and the private server are heavily encrypted and private. Neither Verizon nor any others can spy on what you’re viewing.
How VPNs Work
When you connect to the internet normally, you’re connecting directly through your ISP’s gateway services and onto the web. Verizon can see what websites you’re connecting to, can read the data packets and can tell what you’re viewing. That is certainly a privacy concern, but in most cases, this is handled automatically by software and not individuals sniffing around your private data.
When you connect to the internet using a VPN, Verizon can see that you’re connected to a remote server. However, that is all the company can see. The connection between your computer and the VPN server are encrypted in a private tunnel. All Verizon can see is how much data is passing between you and the VPN server. They cannot, however, determine what that data is.
As an additional measure of security, a VPN will also assign you a new IP address. Your IP address is like a unique address telling the rest of the internet who you are and where you are. Through a VPN, your new IP address anonymizes your identity. That way, nobody, not even Verizon, can trace any of your online activity back to you.
What VPNs Won’t Do
Will a VPN protect you from every consumer-unfriendly practice that Verizon might engage in? Unfortunately not. As stated earlier, while connected to a VPN, your browsing activities and identity are hidden, but not how much data you’re using. So if you have a limited data plan with Verizon (common if you’re using Verizon Wireless), the company can and will still throttle your speeds after you exceed your data limits.
Additionally, there are certain times of the day when Verizon throttles everyone’s speeds, regardless of your browsing habits. This is often known as the “internet rush hour,” or the time of the evening when ISPs experience a significant spike in network congestion due to a large number of people getting off or work or school and using vastly more bandwidth.
However, if your throttling is occurring primarily as you try to stream online videos, play online games, or video chat with friends and family, you can still stop Verizon throttling. In those cases, Verizon only throttles when it detects connections to certain sites and services. So long as you’re connected to a VPN, the company is forced to treat all of your data the same, effectively enforcing a sort of Net Neutrality.
Our Pick: IPVanish
There are hundreds of virtual private network services around. However, we believe your best option is a service known as IPVanish. We believe IPVanish provides the best mixture of privacy and security features, as well as some of the most updated server options among other services. IPVanish provides an easy bypass to Verizon throttling without some of the hassle, confusion, limitations, or expense you might experience with some other services on the market.
IPVanish Hides You From Verizon
When using IPVanish, you’ll be able to hide your identity and all of your internet activities from Verizon. The company offers a few solutions to help ensure your connection is strong, secure and fast. One common issue with virtual private networks is a loss of speed while connecting to the VPN servers. There are many reasons for this, including distance to the server, the added layer of protection involved, and the number of people using the service alongside you (network congestion). However, IPVanish provides hundreds of servers across the world and the U.S., helping ensure that you can find a fast, uncongested server.
Additionally, IPVanish utilizes proprietary software and technology to help secure your identity. This includes software methods that evade what is known as “deep packet inspection” often employed by ISPs like Verizon. DPI is often used to use alternative means to read data and bypass the encryption methods provided by a VPN. IPVanish is one of only a few VPN services that continually develop new methods to help avoid DPI and other methods employed by ISPs to get around VPN usage.
When you’re using a VPN, functionality is what’s ultimately the most important. While it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest VPN service around, VPNs are an example of “you get what you pay for.” Especially when talking about free VPNs, you’re likely to run into significant performance issues with most other VPN services. That includes bandwidth limits, only a few servers available for everyone, and significant privacy concerns as many VPNs actually collect and sell your data.
IPVanish offers notable advantages to those who want quality performance from every angle that matters with a VPN.
The service has over 850 VPN servers spread across the globe, ensuring you’ll always be able to find a fast, functional server. Each server is protected with the same high-level encryption standards, and each server will guarantee the best speed possible. The IPVanish software even includes smart VPN locators to help you find the best possible server for your location, multiple VPN protocols, and various features that are designed to ensure your privacy even if your internet or the VPN connection goes down.
Price is understandably important, especially for those already paying a lot of money to Verizon for quality internet. Thankfully, IPVanish provides its services at a consumer-friendly low cost. For those looking to bypass Verizon throttling, IPVanish can be purchased starting at $10 per month. However, if you know you’re going to be using the VPN service, in the long run, you can purchase a subscription in 3-month or 1-year increments, each coming with a discount. A 3-month subscription comes with a 25 percent discount (8.99/month), while a yearlong subscription is offered at a 46 percent discount, or just $6.49 per month.
To help you determine whether the service is right for you, IPVanish also provides a 7-day trial. At any time during your first 7 days using the service, you can cancel the service with a money-back guarantee, no questions asked. IPVanish will apply the refund to whichever payment method you employed. You should be able to determine rather quickly whether IPVanish suits your needs and lives up to expectation.
What is my Verizon Internet Speed
Do you know what kind of internet speed you’re getting from Verizon? There’s the speed you’re paying for, and then there’s the speed you’re actually getting. Verizon advertises certain speeds with its service packages. However, the reality is that you’re unlikely to get the advertised speed or the speed that you’re paying for. Tack on speed throttling on top of that, and you’re often looking at significantly slower speeds than you want.
You can test your internet speed using a handful of different websites and services. The most popular option is Speedtest.net. This website sends a test data package to a server near you and does a test download. It will record the time it takes to upload and download data and estimate that as your internet speed:
This is what a Speedtest.net result for me looks like while using Verizon’s 4G network. As you can see, the speeds aren’t fantastic. If I was currently getting throttled, it would cause a large reduction in my speeds and prevent effective browsing or streaming from sites like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video.
There are other internet speed testing options, however. The best are those that don’t just test for download and upload speeds, but that analyze network congestion and traffic to get a better, more accurate measure of your internet speed. Several websites and services will do this, but the best available option is the Internet Health Test. This service uses Google’s M Lab to measure network congestion and speed, offering a more accurate speed measurement:
As you can see from these results, the Internet Health Test pumped out slower speed results. Speedtest.net is visually appealing, but it tends toward a more generous and less accurate speed result. Ultimately, it’s good to test your speed using several different services, which can include Speedtest.net, Internet Health Test, Fast.com, and Google’s built-in speed tester which you can access by searching Google for “internet speed test.”
Why do we like the Internet Health Test? In 2015, they analyzed their speed test data and discovered that Verizon and several other ISPs were intentionally throttling content from several popular websites. Although Verizon has repeatedly denied it throttles data, the evidence suggests otherwise.
A “healthy” speed result for any speed test is going to be as close to the speed you’re paying for as possible. Just note that if you take your test during the “internet rush hour” (usually between 3-8 PM), expect lower speed results due to increased network congestion.
Is Verizon Throttling Always the Problem?
While you may be getting throttled, there are actually a number of potential reasons why you might find slower speeds through your wireless or wired internet connections. These can include:
- Internet Rush Hour
- Multiple devices on your network
- Enforced throttling due to exceeded data limits
- Old and outdated equipment (old router, modem, or computer)
Before declaring speed throttling the only reason for your slow speeds, it’s a good idea to check some of the other potential causes first. Make sure your router is no more than 5 years old. Additionally, check your speeds using a newer computer or mobile device. And ensure that you turn off as many internet-connected devices as possible before testing your speed. Especially for those with large families or those with a large number of smart home devices, heavy data usage across your home wireless network can significantly reduce available bandwidth.
If you do find your problem is an excessive draw on your network due to the large number of devices you regularly use in your home, you may need to consider upgrading to more bandwidth from your provider as a last resort.
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming. He loves whittling down complex ideas within these areas that make decisions easier for buyers. When he’s not reading books with his son Miles and playing video games with the family, you can find him immersed in his growing collection of Euro-style board games.