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Why is my upload speed so slow?

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  • 5 min read

Internet speeds are getting faster by the day, but they’re not as accessible. While most ISPs advertise their internet connections by the download speed, more often than not the upload speed doesn’t really match up to the advertised numbers. That said, it should be relatively high depending on your connection. 

However, connection speeds do drop significantly from time to time. In this article, we’re taking a look at why you might be facing low upload speeds and how to fix the problem.

What causes low upload speeds?

There are a lot of things that can affect internet speeds on a network. Some common reasons include the following:

  • Limited bandwidth availability or data caps. 
  • Too many devices on a network. 
  • Active VPN or Proxy.
  • Firewall disruption.
  • Router issues.
  • Speed restrictions. 
  • Background programs use too much bandwidth. 
  • Issues with your ISP. 

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How to fix this?

Here are seven fixes you can try out. 

Restart the router

One of the first things you should do in these situations is restarting your router. Restarting internet devices can fix seemingly random issues that cause connectivity problems, including this one. Just turn off your router (and modem) and wait for at least 30 seconds before turning it back on again. 

Reduce the number of devices on your network

Next up, check to see how many devices are on your network. Having a congested network can limit the bandwidth available for each individual device and cause problems like slow speeds and unstable connections. 

Weak signals

Another possible cause of the issue is the presence of a weak WiFi signal on the router if you’re using it as a range extender or the presence of too many clients on one access point which can overload the router. You can either reposition the router to have better signal strength or try disconnecting a few devices. 

Check for a firmware upgrade

Check to see if there are any new firmware upgrades or updates for your router and if there are, install them right away before trying again. More often than not, router manufacturers will publish frequent updates for their devices that can fix any reoccurring glitches.

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Malware presence

Most malware either connect to a C2 (Command and Control) centre or send data back to a hardcoded server. If you don’t see any background applications hogging up your bandwidth, it could very well be malware using your internet connection to steal data from your PC and send it back to a threat actor. Try running a quick scan on your PC to ensure there are no active malware and that you’re protected. 

Here’s how you can run a full scan on your PC using Windows Security.

Step 1: Press the Windows key and search for Windows Security. Click the corresponding search result. 

What is Gstatic? A quick guide

Step 2: Click Virus & threat protection. 

What is Gstatic? A quick guide

Step 3: Click Scan options. 

What is Gstatic? A quick guide

Step 4: Select Full scan and click Scan now to start scanning your PC for malware. 

What is Gstatic? A quick guide

If the scan doesn’t indicate any malware infection, chances are either your router or your ISP is the bottleneck. Otherwise, clean up your system and try again. 

Factory reset the router

Most routers have a reset button at the back which will reset the router to its default settings. If you’ve misconfigured some settings on your router or have been impacted by a bug or virus, resetting your router can fix these issues. Do remember that you’ll have to reconfigure the router with the credentials given by your ISP. 

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Check for ISP outages

A rather popular reason why your speeds might fall sharply or your internet might not even work at all is an ISP outage. Contact your ISP to check if there’s an issue from there end and to get an estimate on how long it’ll take for services to resume as usual.

Get a better plan

If nothing else works and you’ve established the fact that your router and network aren’t the bottlenecks, it’s time to get in touch with your ISP and get a faster data plan for your network. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: