How to bypass ISP throttling

ISP Throttling

Have you been a victim of internet throttling?

You might not even know it. But if you have found your internet speeds suddenly reduce dramatically for no obvious reason, especially when you are using certain websites or services or at specific times of day, there is a pretty good chance that you have.

Throttling is a method that your ISP can use to make it harder for you to use sites and online services that they don’t like or to cover for their own service deficiencies.

As the name suggests, it involves reducing the connection speeds that are available to certain (or sometimes all) users.

Here at VPNCompare.co.uk, we are firm believers in net neutrality.

We believe that the best interests of internet users are served by them having the right to unrestricted and unthrottled internet access.

That’s why we have written this guide.

It includes everything you need to know about internet throttling, what it is, how to identify it, and crucially how to bypass it.

What is ISP throttling?

What is throttling

The word throttling is a highly emotive one. If you think of throttling a person, it usually means holding their neck tightly to limit the flow of oxygen or even blood.

ISP throttling, which is also sometimes referred to as bandwidth throttling, has much the same effect. It is when your Internet Service Provider (ISP) deliberately limits the connection speeds that you can achieve.

When you sign up with a broadband provider, they will tell you what speeds you can expect you get with your connection.

Most people will opt for the fastest speeds their budget allows them and while in practice, they may not always get that speed, it does usually give you a general sense of the type of speeds you can expect.

However, these are not always the speeds that you get. Most users will experience slow internet speeds at one time or another. This can be caused by various things, technical problems or broader service issues.

This is not throttling.

Throttling is when your ISP makes a conscious decision to slow your speeds.

For most users, this will be experienced either when downloading or streaming content from certain sites or when using the internet more generally at set times of the day or week.

In most countries, the premise of net neutrality exists in law or regulation. This means that ISPs are not supposed to manipulate connection speeds when you use certain services but deliver consistent speeds regardless of what content you are viewing or services you are using.

In practice, this isn’t always the case and in some countries, such as the USA, ISPs are now permitted to throttle services for commercial reasons.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality

The concept of net neutrality is very simple but it sits at the absolute epicentre of the notion of a free and open internet.

Net neutrality is the notion that all internet service providers should treat all data that is flowing through their network equally. They should not be able to have fast-lanes and slow lanes depending on what sites you are visiting or what content you are using.

Advocates of net neutrality argue that it creates a free and fair environment that encourages innovation and gives start-up online business as much of a chance of becoming a big success as established online companies.

Net neutrality has a chequered history in the USA, with a number of ISPs there campaigning vociferously against it both on the hill and in the courtrooms.

The FCC passed a sweeping net neutrality order in 2015 under the Obama administration but this was swiftly rolled back in 2017 under the leadership of Ajit Pai, the Trump administration pick for Commission chair.

It remains to be seen whether there will be another volte-face now that Joe Biden has been elected President.

In the UK, net neutrality remains protected under the European Union’s regulation on Open Internet Access. Once Brexit is completed at the end of this year, this regulation is expected to be transferred into UK law.

It remains to be seen whether there will be any attempts to reform it.

UK ISPs are all signatories to a voluntary code that is committed to preserving net neutrality. The high level of competition in the UK ISP market compared to the USA means that it is very unlikely that this will change anytime soon.

It is impossible to predict what may happen in the long run though.

Reasons why ISPs throttling internet connections

Reasons why throttling

You might be wondering at this point exactly why ISPs might want to throttle connection speeds and challenge net neutrality laws. After all, it might seem obvious that they want to be able to offer the best possible speeds to their users.

This is true up to a point, but there are a number of mostly commercial motivations behind most ISP’s decision to throttle some content, these include:

Promoting their own services

ISPs are usually large media conglomerates who offer far more services than just broadband.

For example, in the UK, BT and Virgin both offer cable TV services. By throttling users of other services, ISPs are able to encourage their broadband customers to sign up for their other media content rather than those provided by their competitors.

Cover for service deficiencies

It used to be a well-known fact that the UK’s national grid had to prepare for half-time in the football FA Cup final because there would be a huge surge in electricity demand as households across the country put their kettles on.

Well, ISPs can face similar spikes in demand.

Weekday evenings, between 4pm (once the kids get home from school) and 11pm (when people are generally off to bed) are the most common. The increase in demand over these times can put their infrastructure under pressure.

Most ISPs will choose to upgrade their infrastructure to cope with this. But a cheaper, less consumer-friendly option is to throttle user connection speeds during these peak times to help their systems manage.

Throttling does help them in this regard, but for their customers, it means slower speeds at exactly the time they want to use the service.

As a tool to block unwelcome content

Some ISPs don’t want their customers to be doing certain things online on their network. P2P downloading (torrenting) is the most common of these but there are certain other sites and types of content that are often frowned upon too such as newsgroups.

Throttling is one technique used by ISPs to try and stop people doing things online that they don’t want them to.

By slowing down your connection speeds when you are torrenting or doing other things they don’t like, the ISP hopes that you will be dissuaded from doing it.

However, such actions are a gross invasion of your online privacy and create a worrying precedent for ISPs to be able to control what their users can and cannot do when using the internet.

Heavy users

Bandwidth limits and data caps are not popular with most internet users these days since streaming and downloading can be very data intensive. This is why the majority of ISPs will offer unlimited data packages and the majority of customers choose these.

But for an ISP, unlimited data often doesn’t mean exactly that. It will usually allow for far more data than most internet users are ever likely to need, but there are always a few users that go even further.

Heavy streamers, torrenters, downloaders, and gamers will often use far more data than the average customer and for some ISPs, this can put undue strain on their infrastructure.

It is not unknown for them to address this issue by throttling the connection speeds of heavy users. By reducing speeds, an ISP can reduce the amount of data an individual user can send and receives and so reduce the strain on their infrastructure.

It is an extremely cheeky move and hugely unpopular with their users. But there are still numerous reports of this action being taken by various ISPs, although none that we are aware of in the UK yet.

Examples of ISP throttling

Throttling examples

If you are still unsure of exactly what we mean by throttling and how it might affect you as a user, here are a few high-profile examples of ISP throttling that we are aware of.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg really, and the practice is far more commonplace than it should be.

The US is by far the worst area for ISP throttling. The practice is near universal among ISPs in the USA and there are countless examples we could flag. Here are just two examples we want to highlight:

Comcast – P2P throttling

One of the first and most infamous cases of throttling was that of US-based ISP Comcast, which faced a class-action lawsuit back in 2009 over its throttling of P2P sites.

Comcast users found that the ISP was blocking certain packets related to BitTorrent downloads. An investigation by the Associated Press found that Comcast was either blocking or deliberately slowing down (throttling) BitTorrent content on its network.

Comcast initially denied the accusations but after mounting pressure, it finally admitted to engaging in “traffic management” techniques in order to keep its network as fast as possible.

The admission led to an FCC inquiry and the class action lawsuit which Comcast chose to settle for a total of US$16 million.

Cox Communications

Cox Communications is a US-based ISP with a long history of throttling. They were another ISP that was accused of throttling P2P traffic around the same time as the Comcast case.

But this is far from the only time Cox Communications have used throttling as a tool to ‘manage’ their users.

Earlier this year, Cox was found to have throttled speeds for an entire neighbourhood in Gainsville, Florida, as a result of just one heavy user.

They enforced speeds of 10mbps on the entire area of the town where the customer called Mike lived. This was despite Mike paying an extra US$50 a month to get unlimited data and be allowed to exceed Cox’s cap of 1TB per month.

He was using between 8TB and 12TB a month.

A Reddit thread on the story found that Mike was far from the only Cox customer to have experienced this.

In the rest of the world, throttling is less common. Middle Eastern countries use it to restrict access to VOIP technology, which many people there object to. But other countries, including Canada, the UK, and other European countries have also experienced it.

The best source of verifiable information about throttling is a research paper published in 2019 from academics at Northeastern University and University of Massachusetts Amherst, which is entitled ‘A Large-Scale Analysis of Deployed Traffic Differentiation Practices’.

Here are two examples taken from this paper in Europe:

O2 and GiffGaff throttling YouTube and Netflix

UK readers can be reassured that throttling is not a hugely common practice in the UK. But it is certainly not unknown either.

The above research paper identified that two prominent UK ISPs, O2 and GiffGaff used throttling on both YouTube and Netflix.

The academics found that the 02 mobile phone network reduced speeds to 1.5mbps for users of the YouTube and Netflix app. Giffgaff was even worse with speeds reduced to just 1mbps for the same apps.

The paper suggests that these speed caps are in place permanently and we have not found any evidence to suggest that the practice has been stopped since this paper has been published.

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As far back as 2014, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix said “will continue to fight for the internet the world needs and deserves” concerning ISPs slowing data for their service (Source).

If you use O2 or giffgaff, we’d love to hear more about your experiences, so do contact us if you have a story to tell.

Deutsch Telecom throttling YouTube and Amazon Prime

The same research paper found that Telekom DE, more commonly known as Deutsch Telekom, was also throttling certain streaming services as well.

Its test revealed that speeds for both YouTube and Amazon Prime were limited to 1.5mbps for all users. However, Netflix and other streaming services appear to be unaffected.

How does a VPN help to evade ISP throttling?

VPN help

If you weren’t familiar with how ISP throttling works and how ISPs target their use of throttling before, you certainly are now.

So, the next question you probably have is ‘what can you do about ISP throttling’?

Well, the easiest and most effective way to evade ISP throttling is by using a VPN.

If your ISP is looking at what you are doing online and selectively blocking sites and services it doesn’t want you to use, the obvious answer is to stop your ISP from being able to see what you are doing online.

A VPN lets you do this.

When you connect your device to a VPN, it encrypts all of your internet traffic. This encryption means that your ISP is unable to see the contents of the data you are transmitting on their network.

A VPN will also reroute your data through an external server. When your data passes through this server, it is tagged with another IP Address which stops websites from being able to see exactly where you are connecting to the internet from.

But it also stops you ISP from seeing where your data is going too. It can follow your connection as far as the server, but no further.

Without being able to see the contents of your data too, your ISP is therefore unable to selectively throttle your internet speeds based on the sites you are visiting or what you are doing online.

In the overwhelming majority of cases, this means that when you use a VPN, throttling becomes a thing of the past and you can enjoy the best possible speeds your network connection allows regardless of what you are doing online and what sites you are visiting.

In a handful of cases, where ISPs are throttling you because you are using too much data, the problem may persist. But we are only aware of a handful of examples of this across the globe.

How to use a VPN to stop ISP throttling

We have explained why a VPN can help you to evade ISP throttling. The next question you probably want to ask is how to use a VPN to do this.

You might think it is going to be a highly complex and technical thing but actually, it is remarkably simple and even novice users should be able to get things set up in no more than ten minutes or so.

To help you evade ISP throttling, we have created this simple step-by-step for you to follow. It’s so easy, even your granny could do it:

  1. Sign up for a VPN – it is important to choose the best possible VPN with all the right features, we recommend ExpressVPN but keep reading and we will be recommending a list of the best providers to use below.
  2. Download the VPNs’ app onto your chosen device or devices.
  3. Log into your VPN account using the details given to you when you signed up.
  4. Connect to a VPN server – you can choose a server in a specific location if you like, but clicking the ubiquitous ‘Quick Connect’ button should suffice as it will connect you automatically to the fastest available server for your location.
  5. Use the internet. Once you are connected, you should be able to continue using the internet without fear of throttling.

If you are torrenting or undertaking another activity your ISP disapproves of, it is a good idea to ensure that the kill switch is enabled just in case your VPN connections drops out and your ISP gets wind of what you are doing.

Choosing the best VPN to stop throttling

Best VPN

The key to using a VPN to avoid ISP throttling is to sign up to the best VPN you can. But there are so many VPNs on the market these days that it can be hard to know which provider is the right one for you.

If your main reason for signing up to a VPN is to evade ISP throttling, then the good news is that there are a number of key features that we can recommend you look out for:

Connection Speeds

Speed is vitally important for you if throttling is a problem, so you should look out for a VPN that can offer the best possible connections speeds.

But just as important as the speed itself is the consistency of speeds. Look for a provider that can offer consistently fast connections across its entire server network.

No User Logs

If you need to a VPN to stop your ISP throttling your P2P downloads, there is always a risk that your ISP or others could come after you to find out what you have been doing online.

You should therefore try to choose a VPN that offers the best possible no user logs guarantee and keep no records of what its users are doing online.

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Scott Gilbertson of Wired says “Most VPN providers claim they keep no logs, but this is rarely verified. You're stuck taking companies at their word.” (Source).

Encryption

Your VPNs encryption is essential to prevent your ISP from being able to see what you are doing online and so throttle certain activities.

Look for a VPN with the best possible encryption – 256-bit AES encryption is widely considered to be unbreakable and is the minimum you should accept.

Kill Switch

As we have already mentioned above, a kill switch is a useful feature to ensure that if your VPN connections drops out, your internet connection is also cut to prevent your ISP from accidentally seeing what you are up to online.

Servers

If you are avoiding ISP throttling, you probably don’t need hundreds of servers dotted all over the world. But make sure your chosen VPN provider has enough servers in the locations you do need them.

Best VPNs to avoid ISP throttling

Using these key criteria as our main benchmarks, we have assessed all of the top VPN providers to see which offer the best all-round service to help you avoid ISP throttling.

The results are now in and we can exclusively reveal that the best VPNs to avoid ISP throttling are:

1. ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN apps on multiple types of devices

Pros
  • Strong encryption
  • Verified no user logs policy
  • Fast and consistent speeds
Cons
  • A little pricy

ExpressVPN has been our Editor’s pick of the best VPNs on the market for a long time and with good reason. It offers everything you need to bypass ISP throttling and do anything else you might want a VPN for as well.

ExpressVPN has a rock-solid no user logs guarantee that has been independently verified by PriceWaterhouseCooper (PWC) in a comprehensive independent privacy audit. This means with ExpressVPN, your privacy online is guaranteed.

It also offers robust 256-bit AES encryption as standard for all users alongside a wide range of additional security features including a kill switch to ensure your ISP can never accidentally get wind of what you are doing online.

There is an extensive server network available for all ExpressVPN users with more than 3,000 servers and counting. All of these servers offer consistently fast speeds and repeated tests have shown that ExpressVPN’s connection speeds are among the fastest of any VPN.

There are dedicated ExpressVPN apps available for Android, Apple iOS, Windows, Mac OS, Amazon Fire TV / Stick, Linux and some select routers. There are also web-browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Safari and all subscribers are permitted to connect up to five devices simultaneously.

ExpressVPN is not the cheapest VPN on the market, but it does have a generous 30-day money back guarantee which allows you to try their service for a month before committing to buy. And if you sign up now, you can save 49% thanks to an exclusive offer for VPNCompare readers.

Read our full review of ExpressVPN to find out more.

2. CyberGhost VPN

Cyberghost Website

Pros
  • Extremely user-friendly
  • Great apps
  • 45-day money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Limited features

If you are new to VPNs and want a user-friendly provider without having to compromise on service quality, then CyberGhost VPN could be the provider for you.

This VPN has made some serious improvements over the past couple of years and is now one of the best around. It’s biggest selling point is an app that is available on almost every device and which is one of the cleanest and simplest of any VPN.

It makes using a VPN even simpler than it usually is, which is a considerable achievement. This usability doesn’t come at the expense of their service offerings either.

CyberGhost VPN comes with 256-bit AES encryption as standard and a no user logs guarantee you can trust. It is not jam-packed with security features but all the key ones are there including that essential kill switch.

Connection speeds are pretty fast across the entire CyberGhost server network. At 6,700 servers +, this is a substantial network and one that they continue to develop.

Prices are pretty reasonable too and there is also an unbeatable 45-day money back guarantee on offer as well.

Read our full review of CyberGhost VPN to find out more.

3. NordVPN

NordVPN website

Pros
  • No user log policy that is guaranteed
  • Fast connection speeds
  • Extensive security features
Cons
  • One recent security blip

NordVPN is a high profile VPN that you may have seen sponsoring football teams and YouTubers. But don’t let this detract from the service they offer which really is exceptionally good.

NordVPN offers 256-bit AES encryption as standard in addition to one of the most comprehensive sets of security features we have seen with any provider. This includes things like double-hop servers, Tor-over-VPN servers and the all-important kill switch.

NordVPN has another rock-solid no user logs claim and they have also had theirs independently verified by PWC. This means you can completely trust NordVPN to keep your data private from your ISP.

There is a huge range of user-friendly apps including for Android, iOS, Windows, Mac OS and the Amazon Fire TV Stick devices.

NordVPN has also recently adopted the new, faster, and more secure WireGuard protocol also means they can offer some of the quickest and most secure VPN connections of any provider.

You can access an extensive server network consisting of more than 5,500 servers and much of this infrastructure has been recently upgraded, which means it is consistently fast.

If that wasn’t enough, you can have up to six simultaneous connections and NordVPN prices are among the lowest around. There is a 30-day money back guarantee which gives you plenty of time to test the service before you buy too.

Read our full review of NordVPN to find out more.

4. Surfshark

Surfshark Website screengrab

Pros
  • Great download speeds
  • Works well with streaming services
  • Low prices
Cons
  • Relatively young service
  • No full independent audit

Surfshark is the newest VPN on this list, but they have really hit the ground running by establishing a high-quality VPN that exceeds the expectations of one so young.

Surfshark has a great range of apps that are well designed, easy to use, and available on all the major devices. You can also connect an unlimited number of devices simultaneously with just one account.

It boasts unbreakable 256-bit AES encryption which is great but its logging policy is a little looser than we would like to see and it retains more data than is ideal.

The server network is impressive in such a youthful VPN with 3,200+ servers available and our tests found that connection speeds were consistent and pretty fast across them all.

There are a lot of additional features if you want to personalise things and while Surfshark has some areas for improvement, it undoubtedly offers terrific value for money.

Read our full Surfshark review here.

5. IPVanish

IPVanish website

Pros
  • Great apps
  • Strong encryption
  • Unlimited simultaneous connections
Cons
  • Recent privacy blip

There was a time when IPVanish was right up there with the very best VPNs around. Its service waned a little over the past couple of years but it is back to its very best now.

After a blip in 2018, the IPVanish no user logs policy is now fully reaffirmed and IPVanish insists that it does not store any usage data or connection information. This VPN has always offered robust 256-bit AES encryption as standard to all its users alongside some excellent additional security features.

IPVanish has always had an exceptional range of apps and this remains the case with great apps available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, and Apple iOS as well as the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Linux, and a wide variety of other devices.

IPVanish users can now connect as many devices as they want simultaneously, which is excellent if you have a big family or want to share your subscription with friends. There are 1,600+ servers to choose from and connection speeds are consistently good.

IPVanish has recently added a 30-day money back guarantee alongside some very competitive prices to make a very compelling all-round package.

Read our full review of IPVanish to find out more.

Can I use a Free VPN instead?

Free VPN

If you are put off by the prospect of paying a few pounds a month for a high-quality premium VPN service such as the ones we have highlighted above, there are free VPNs out there you can use instead.

But there is any number of reasons why we would not recommend you use these.

Firstly, throttling is usually an issue that comes with data-intense activities like streaming and downloading. But the majority of free VPNs don’t have the capacity for such activities anyway and place strict data and bandwidth restrictions on their service that makes them useless for this purpose.

Then there are the security and privacy risks. Numerous free VPNs have been found to install malware, spyware, or adware onto your device. Most offer weak encryption, while some have no encryption at all.

Then we move on to the no user logs guarantees which are worthless with free VPNs.

VPNs cost money to operate and if they don’t charge a fee, they have to generate money some other way. Most will choose to do this by selling your data to the highest bidder.

Throw in the connections between many free VPNs and companies based in Communist China on top of all of this and it is abundantly clear that free VPNs simply aren’t worth bothering with.

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Andrew Orlowski of TheRegister says “Many popular free VPN apps are sketchy Chinese operations” (Source).

Especially when the top quality VPNs we have recommended in this guide will only cost you a couple of dollars or pounds a month at the most.

How to tell if your network is being throttled

How to tell throttling

One of the questions we get asked most regularly about ISP throttling is how to find out if you are falling victim to it or not. While the symptoms of throttling (reduced speeds) are obvious, throttling is not the only thing that can cause this problem.

The first thing to suggest is to keep an eye on your connection speeds when you are doing different things. If you find speeds slowing when you are streaming or downloading but not at other times, this could indicate throttling.

If your speeds are slower than they should be all the time, this is probably a technical issue and you should consult with your ISP.

It is possible that you might be a victim of throttling for overuse or even because someone else in your neighbourhood is overusing, but the chances are slim.

If you do identify a problem when streaming on a certain site or when downloading P2P files, there is a good chance that you are a victim of ISP throttling.

To check for sure, log into the site where you are experiencing the slow speeds and run a speed check using one of the many reputable online speed test sites there are out there.

Next, connect to a VPN and do the same thing. If your ISP is throttling your speeds, you should see noticeably faster speeds when you are connected to your VPN compared to when you aren’t.

Armed with the evidence, you can then challenge your ISP if you so wish. Good luck with that though because we haven’t heard of any recent cases where ISPs have changed their policy without a full-on legal case being launched.

Far easier, is to sign up for one of the VPNs we have recommended above and make sure you are connected to one of their servers whenever you want to use the affected sites or download BitTorrent files.

Deep Packet Inspection

Deep Packet Inspection

ISPs are well aware that a growing number of their users are using VPNs to hide their online activity. Needless to say, they are not big fans of the idea and some are adopting a specific technique to try and identify and bypass it.

This technique is known as Deep Packet Inspection and it is a method that is popular with censorious authoritarian regimes but is now being deployed in the free world too.

When you send data over the internet, it is delivered in what are known as packets. These packets are marked with specific data that can allow them to be identified as coming from a VPN.

Don’t worry – Deep Packet Inspection cannot see the contents of your data if you are using a VPN. This remains encrypted. But they can sometimes identify that you are using a VPN.

Deep Packet Inspection is a resource-heavy task as it involves examining thousands of packets individually. But it can be effective and could, in theory, be used by an ISP to throttle any user that was connecting to a VPN, regardless of what they were doing online.

The good news is that the top VPNs, such as the ones we have recommended in this guide, are one step ahead. They are very used to being targeted by Deep Packet Inspection in places like Communist China and Iran.

They have already developed a number of different techniques to evade Deep Packet Inspection and keep your data anonymous.

Different VPNs have different strategies and none of them are shouting from the rooftops about how they do it since they don’t want ISPs (and authoritarian regimes) finding out.

A simple way of finding out if your VPN is able to protect you from Deep Packet Inspection from your ISP is to research whether they work inside China.

If they do, you can be pretty sure they will keep you safe from your ISPs Deep Packet Inspection. If they can’t, they might still be able to help, but you would be better off doing a little more research by checking out our reviews.

The risks of rooting

If you have an Android device and are looking up ways to avoid ISP throttling on it, you might well find some recommendations that suggest rooting your device.

If you are not familiar with the term rooting, it refers to a process which allows you to gain privileged control (root access) over aspects of your Android Operating System that most users cannot access.

If you have a rooted Android device, it is possible to alter and replace system applications and settings, run specialised apps that otherwise require administrator-level permissions, and perform other operations that are inaccessible to most normal Android users.

This can allow you to make changes that enable you to evade ISP throttling.

However, unless you have a high level of technical proficiency and know exactly what you are doing, rooting is something we would caution against.

The process of rooting an Android phone is not simple and mistakes are easy to make. Rooting can also leave your Android device more susceptible to certain bugs and malware programmes.

It is not necessary to do something this technically complex in order to evade ISP throttling. Downloading and signing up for a VPN is simple, affordable, and effective.

It can enable you to get around throttling in just a few minutes and is effectively foolproof.

If you like messing about with phones and understand what you are ding, rooting may be an option to evade ISP throttling. But for most people, it’s much too big of a risk and a VPN is a far better option.

Avoid throttling while torrenting

As we have mentioned several times in this guide, one activity which a number of ISPs tend to try and throttle is torrenting. Torrenting is the downloading and sharing of BitTorrent files.

This is a common and popular way of sharing files and documents. But it has become inexorably linked with copyright violations in more recent years and a lot of significant ISPs have come under pressure from big copyright holders (such as Hollywood movie studios and major music labels) to try and prevent it.

Some ISPs have done so and throttling BitTorrent sites and downloads is a popular method for them to use.

However, as with throttling for other reasons, a VPN can help you to get around this issue and torrent as many files as you want without having to worry about ISP throttling.

It is a major reason for using a VPN when downloading BitTorrent files. But it is not the only one by any means.

Copyright holders have come down hard on torrenting and people who torrent files in recent years. There have been a number of people who have faced big fines and even more serious criminal actions as a result of torrenting certain content.

This is why almost every torrenter and every website that mentions BitTorrent will recommend that you use a VPN whenever you are downloading or sharing BitTorrent files.

VPNs stop your ISP and anyone else from seeing what you are torrenting, or even that you are downloading BitTorrent files in the first place. They also ensure there is no record of what you are torrenting or when you are doing it.

This extra level of security is well worth having as it should be able to prevent you from falling victim to one of these lawsuits or facing a big fine as a result of a file you have downloaded.

It will also help to prevent your ISP from throttling your connection when you are downloading it to, using a VPN really is a win-win situation for BitTorrent fans.

Other benefits of using a VPN

Benefits of VPN

As you have probably gathered, VPNs are the ideal solution to ISP throttling and offer a cheap, easy, and effective way to eliminate the issue of throttling once and for all.

But this is not the only benefit of using a VPN. There are plenty of other reasons to sign up for one of the VPNs we have recommended in this guide. Here are just a few of them:

Online Security

A VPN encrypts everything you do online to ensure your personal and financial details are safe and your data is protected from hackers and mass government surveillance.

Online Privacy

VPNs stop your ISP and your government from seeing and logging what you are doing online. If you choose one with a no user logs guarantee, you can be sure that no-one apart from yourself knows what you are getting up to online.

Online Streaming

As well as torrenting, VPNs can help to enhance your streaming experience too.

With a VPN, you can log into your favourite streaming service from overseas, allowing you to keep up with your favourite shows on holiday or a work trip.

They can also unblock overseas streaming services too meaning if something you want to watch isn’t on your Netflix, you can just log into another country’s service to check it out.

Access censored content

If you are unfortunate enough to live in a country where the government likes to censor online content, a VPN offers a simple, effective, and affordable way to circumvent this and enjoy your rightful access to a free and open internet.

Summary

Summary

ISP throttling is a growing problem. It is already a big deal in the USA, but the practice is growing and it poses a risk to the free and open internet we all cherish.

Fortunately, there are ways to evade it and in this guide, we have explained why using a VPN is the best option.

We have explained exactly what ISP throttling is and how it can affect you. We have given some examples and also shown you how to check to see whether or not you are a victim of ISP throttling right now.

If you are, we have explained how a VPN can help and crucially recommended the top 5 VPNs you can use to evade ISP throttling today.

We have given you some extra tips on things like Deep packet Inspections and Rooting to ensure you know everything there is to know about throttling and are able to make an informed decision about how you want to address the problem.

If you’re looking for a VPN, we recommend ExpressVPN but there are fours other suitable choices listed earlier in this guide and the choice is yours.

We will be keeping this article regularly updated with the latest news and developments but if you have any comments or questions about any aspect of this guide, please do leave a comment or otherwise drop us a line.

Author: David Spencer

Cyber-security & Technology Reporter, David, monitors everything going on in the privacy world. Fighting for a less restricted internet as a member of the VPNCompare team for over 5 years.

Away from writing, he enjoys reading and politics. He is currently learning Mandarin too... slowly.

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