Slow Internet at Night & How to Fix It

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No one likes slow internet at any time of the day. Yet, something about slow internet at night brings about a whole new level of frustration. If you’re reading this as your Disney+ movie buffers, we’ve been there, too. Luckily, we’ve got a few quick and easy solutions to get you binging again. 

We break down the most common problem with using the internet at night and what you can do to remedy it. However, if the solutions below don’t help increase your speed, it might be time to call your internet service provider (ISP) for an upgrade.

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Let’s Break it Down

Problem: Slow Internet at Night

On nights when you want to unwind and enjoy a movie with loved ones, a lot can still go wrong. There may be no-shows to the party. The pizza delivery guy might run late. You may even forget your Disney+ password. Yet, none of these come close to ruining a good movie night quite like slow internet does.

If you’ve ever noticed your internet slows down at night, this isn’t a coincidence at all. It’s a problem all internet subscribers experience at one point or another – if not daily.

Cause: Network Congestion

The main cause for slow internet during the night is network congestion. More specifically, network congestion is when a majority of internet users on a provider’s network are online at the same time. This is commonly referred to as internet rush hour, primetime, or “peak hours.”

Network congestion at night is typically between 7 to 11 p.m. This is the time most people get off work or school, schedule events, or kick back on the weekend.

Whether users are scrolling through social media or hosting a movie night like the above example, nightfall means more devices connected to the internet at once. The problem with this is that each internet network has a finite amount of bandwidth it can support. When all users try to access the internet at the same time, it almost always results in slower speeds, lags, and buffering. 

Sometimes, providers will attempt to mitigate network congestion by throttling subscriber speeds, placing data caps on plans, or temporarily disconnecting sections of their network. If this is the case for you, consider trying one of our recommendations to help boost your internet speed regardless.

Solution(s)

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Unfortunately, you can’t control how many people attempt to use the internet when you do. However, you can use these tips to help boost your internet connection when it counts the most.

  • Disconnect devices not in use. As you connect more devices to your network, you run the risk of using up all your subscribed bandwidth and overloading your internet equipment. Try disconnecting unused devices to maximize your internet performance.

  • Reconsider your equipment location. Similar to a lamp, a router and modem both need space of their own to perform at their best. So, try placing your equipment in the center of your home, on the highest level or furniture perch available.

  • Create a password for your home network. Without a password, anyone near your home can access your internet, which leaves you vulnerable to cyber attacks, malware, and neighborhood moochers using up your bandwidth. Instead, protect the speeds you pay for.

  • Invest in WiFi extenders. Sometimes, it’s not your provider slowing your speeds down. Instead, it may be your home layout. Using WiFi extenders helps eliminate dead spots and reduce buffering and lag when you access the internet.

  • Upgrade your internet service. When all else fails, it may be time to listen to your lifestyle needs. Upgrade your internet plan to include a larger bandwidth to enjoy faster speeds and help mitigate the negative effects of network congestion.

Slow Internet FAQs

Why is my internet slow at night?

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There are a number of reasons for slow internet, however, the most common are network congestion, home layout, and data caps. This is especially true at night time when people typically wind down for the day and access the internet at the same time.

Ask your provider what options are available to boost your internet speed or consider trying a few quick solutions listed above to see if that resolves your poor connection.

Why do internet providers throttle speed?

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There are two main reasons why internet providers throttle speeds.

First, speed throttling is used to help mitigate network congestion and ensure all subscribers are able to access the internet during peak hours of use.

Second, speed throttling is used when a subscriber exceeds their monthly data cap. Rather than completely disconnect someone’s service, an ISP will attempt to throttle speed and therefore data usage until the customer’s next billing cycle.

Do VPNs slow down your internet?

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In most cases, VPNs slow down internet. However, if you invest in a premium VPN that hides your IP from internet service providers or hackers, you can avoid speed throttling, which in turn ends up improving your internet performance. 

Besides network congestion, what else slows down internet?

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Reasons for slow internet vary from household to household. Yet, common causes for poor internet include too many devices connected at once, equipment placement, and home layout. Explore our Resources Center to learn more about what slows down internet.

Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
Written By
Paula Novo
Paula began her career in the telecom space, writing on all things tech for 3+ years. With a degree in Advertising from The University of Texas at Austin, Paula’s passion for connecting with consumers is unparalleled. Beyond that, Paula is considered a Jane-of-all-trades who loves DIY projects, attempts to cook Thai food, and photographs brands in her spare time.