“Download speed” is what many ISPs alongside users seem to focus on the most. This is understandable as almost everything we do on the net involves downloading, from streaming on Netflix or YouTube to going through your Instagram feed, reading articles online, visiting sites, and much more; these everyday actions consist mainly of downloading.
However, our upload speed is just as important too. This plays a role when we upload documents or files to our cloud storage, upload pictures to our social media pages, and make Zoom calls.
So, if you find yourself asking, “why is my upload speed so slow?” This article is for you.
What is my Upload Speed?
Simply put, upload speed is how quickly you can move data from your device to the internet. This data ranges from uploading files like videos, pictures, documents.
It also plays a role in online gaming, conference video calls, and VOIP calling.
In a nutshell, every internet activity that sees you sending data involves upload speed.
Why is my Upload Speed Slow?
Outdated router firmware or drivers, your ISPs, device firewalls, data cap, are a few reasons for slow upload speed.
These factors are often within our control, so you can troubleshoot and resolve them. Before we document others, visit this site to see your current upload speed.
1. Outdated Router Firmware or Drivers
Firmware is another name for software that is present on your router. Look at it like your router’s operating system. The firmware is responsible for your devices interacting with your router, amongst other uses. They are usually built to be faster than your usual software. If your router uses outdated firmware or an outdated driver, this could make upload speed slow.
2. Internet Service Providers (ISP)
Your ISP could be responsible for the slow upload speed. This is out of your control and can be solved by contacting them or waiting it out. It is suggested that ADSL users should upgrade to fiber connections. This might not always be the case, but it’s best to at least check it out.
3. Overloaded Router
There is a limited number of devices your router can connect to. When many devices connected to your router are downloading and uploading simultaneously, an upload speed deficiency is likely.
4. Devices firewall
Our firewalls often get overzealous and block some high data transfer. This security measure is used to secure your device from sending critical info, files or data to the wrong sites.
If this is the case, you should whitelist the site you are accessing after ensuring it is a trustable site. You can troubleshoot this by uploading files to another website and checking if the problem persists.
5. Viruses and Malware
This isn’t common; it is still a cause. The possibility of a virus being on your router is slim; however, it’s possible the virus is on your PC.
Viruses on PC slow your upload speed by running background apps or activities, which puts weight on your computer resources and slows the upload speed. One obvious symptom of virus presence is overheating.
6. Outdated routers
An outdated router could be the culprit. Suppose your router isn’t built for a particular internet speed or can’t carry over a specific number of devices.
In such cases, you may be a victim of slow internet speed. New routers are built to carry more gadgets and reach a substantial amount of upload speed; consider replacing your router.
Related Read: 13 Ways To Improve Internet Speed
7. Out of range
Many buildings have Wi-Fi death spots; nil Wi-Fi coverage areas. These zones exist due to obstructions from household objects like mirrors, walls, microwaves, etc.
If you are in these zones, you’ll likely experience upload speed shortage. Also, if you are far from your router range, you would experience slow upload speed too.
8. Background data
Your device may be carrying out background activities like an OS update which in turn saps your internet resources, often resulting in slow update speed.
9. Data cap
This isn’t common these days, but if you’ve used up your data limit for a specific period, then both your download and upload speed would be affected. Reach out to your ISPs or go for higher data caps; unlimited would be better.
10. Company internet restrictions
Suppose you experienced a slow upload speed while using your official work computer. In that case, there’s the possibility that your company has restrictions on the amount of data that can be transferred on their network.
You could reach out to the IT department for more guidance here.
How to Increase Upload Speed
1. Disconnect VPN services
Contrary to popular opinion, VPN often slows down our internet connection. VPN services route your internet connection through different servers worldwide in the bit to encrypt your connection.
These activities could slow down your upload speed. Try getting rid of your VPN services, be it a browser extension or a system app.
Check if the problem persists. If your activity would require a VPN, search for VPN services with a good track record.
2. Upgrade Router’s Firmware and Drivers
Like we discovered above, your router’s firmware and drivers could be the culprit. Router manufacturers often roll out periodic updates, try to stay in the loop.
The process to update a router’s firmware may vary; however, these steps are the most common.
- Go to http://192.168.1.1 or http://192.168.1.1/ and login to your router admin panel. You can find your login details on your router’s body or in its kit. Alternatively, Google your router’s default username and password.
- Click on the Administration menu (you should check for the Advanced or Management menu if you can’t find Administration).
- Locate and click on Firmware upgrade.
- If it demands you upload a firmware package, visit your router’s site or Google search for the model’s firmware package.
- Unzip the file and navigate back to the Firmware upload page. Click on Choose File or Browse.
- Navigate through your file explorer, select the firmware package, and then install and follow all on screen instructions.
- When done, reboot your router and check if the problem persists.
3. Switch to 5GHz
Suppose your router is loaded with multiple devices that demand a lot of data connection. In that case, you should cut down the no. of devices and switch to the 5 GHz band, however, you would need a dual-band router or tri-band router for that.
The 5GHz in dual and tri-band routers reduces clutter allowing for optimal network quality. This can be done from your router’s admin panel or, better still, contact your manufacturers.
4. Switch to a Wired Connection
Even if your router or ISP assures you of a faster upload speed, connecting over Wi-Fi could seem counterproductive.
Due to distance and obstructions, your Wi-Fi is likely to give a fraction of the full internet speed your router can provide; the remedy is to switch to a wired connection.
The wired connection is often a bit inconvenient, making a Wi-Fi connection the only option.
If working with a wired connection won’t disrupt your workflow, it is better to go with it as wired connections are known to resolve slow upload speed.
5. Switch/Update Browsers
Your browser may be the cause of slow upload speed. Try accessing the current site on a different browser. If this resolves the issue, you should update your browser. Also, you can uninstall and download a new browser version.
Consider clearing the cookie and cache files on your browser too. Go to your browser’s Settings and locate the Clear Cache or Clear History button. Removing these files wouldn’t only boost your upload speed but offer an improved overall browsing experience.
6. Use Other Sites
For example, if your goal was to upload a file to a file-sharing site, you should consider using another alternative; there are several options available. Most times, the website you are accessing could be overworked or low on resources (bandwidth), slowing your update speed.
If the task can’t be performed on another site, you’ll have to wait it out.
7. Update Java
Java is an integral part of web browsers but not all support it though. However, updating your device’s Java could be helpful in increasing the upload speed. Usually, it should auto update but sometimes, you will need to get your hands dirty.
Steps to Update Java –
- Click the Windows search box and type Java into it. Next, click on Configure Java.
- From the pop-up Java Control Panel window, click on the Update tab.
- Customize the settings there, including Check for updates automatically, and configure Windows to alert you before downloading. You can use the Advanced tab to configure how often the update should run.
- Click on Update Now to search and download any new update.
- Give Java administrative permission when asked. Finally, follow all on screen instructions to complete the update.
- Go to the Apple menu to open System Preference or launch it with its icon from the Dock.
- Click on the Java icon often at the bottom row of the System Preferences window.
- From the Java Control Panel that pops up, click on the Update tab.
- Customize your preferred settings there and proceed with the update.
8. Close Background Data
Background data could have you wondering, “why is my upload speed so slow?” What happens here is, your system is using your internet connection for other activities or apps.
It could be updating your device’s OS, checking for updates on other apps, getting notifications from social media accounts or something else. The remedy is to restrict background data.
Windows, for example, has a way to make your connection “metered.” There are apps for this too.
9. Disconnect Unused Devices
The more the devices, the more the workload on your internet router. The reason why your upload speed is slow may be due to the unused devices sapping your internet data.
From your bud leaving his PS5 connected while out with someone sleeping off with Netflix streaming @4K, these are typical examples of unused devices that could be draining your data.
Most routers have apps that display all devices connected to them. You can also visit your router’s admin panel to see connected devices.
Locate these devices and turn them off; if possible, kick them off via the admin app or restrict the number of devices that can connect simultaneously.
10. Wi-Fi Mesh or Extenders
If you can’t lay your hands on a Wi-Fi with broader coverage, go for a Wi-Fi Mesh system. A mesh Wi-Fi or Whole Home Wi-Fi system comprises your main router and other nodes distributed around the house or building for full Wi-Fi coverage.
You can also consider getting a Wi-Fi extender or booster. The Wi-Fi extender receives your Wi-Fi signal from your router and amplifies it further. If you already have a wifi extender, read our guide on how to increase the speed of a wifi extender.
The Mesh system or Wi-Fi extenders are best if you can’t go the wired way.
11. Modify DNS settings
If none of the solutions above helped you resolve your slow upload speed, you should consider modifying your computer’s DNS settings.
DNS, which stands for Domain Name System, does affect the rate of uploading queries on the net. The steps below updated our DNS to the free google DNS.
- Open the Run box with the Win key + R shortcut key. Type in Control and hit Enter.
- Click on View network status and tasks under the Network sharing centre option.
- Select the Change adapter settings from the left pane.
- Locate your network connection, right-click on it and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
- Locate and click on Internet Protocol Version 4, then click the Properties button beneath the options.
- From the pop-up box, select the Use the following DNS server address option
– In Preferred DNS server: 8*8*8*
– In Alternate DNS server: 8*8*4*4
- Click Ok to confirm settings at the bottom of the box.
12. Reset Your Router
Sometimes, resetting your router might get the job done. Search for the reset button on your router, then press and hold down for a few seconds.
When back on, carry out the usual configurations by visiting the router admin page and filling in the required info. You can also reach out to your ISP or the manufacturers for steps.
13. Check for System Updates
Updates don’t only customize the system interface but also fixes bugs and improves the system or apps. Ensure all apps or operating systems are up-to-date and get rid of obsolete apps.
Your system drivers, especially network drivers, should be up to date. Visit your computer’s manufacturer’s website and locate the driver’s section; most sites automatically identify your system and display recommended drivers updates.
Many factors could be causing slow upload speed, from your ISP, outdated routers, virus/malware, firewall and many others. While a few of these causes can’t be fixed by you, others can be troubleshot and rectified. Thank you for stopping by; share with us what worked for you.
Q. What is a good upload speed?
The Federal Communications Commission considers 3Mbps as broadband. Although the FCC has faced bi-partisan congressional pressure to increase the threshold, the 3Mbps seems to be doing just fine.
Skype, for example, requires at least 100Kbps for calling and 512Kbps for group video calls. Also, Zoom has 600Kbps as its minimum limit for 1:1 video while 3.8Mbps for HD group video call.
These are the minimum requirements, and “minimum” isn’t always good. From our research, 5Mbps is a good upload speed if you won’t be doing much with your internet. However, HD streamers and online gamers should go for 25Mbps and above.
Q. Is 4 Mbps upload speed good?
Yes and No. It falls to what you need your upload speed for. Making occasional low-resolution video calls with few others may work well with 4Mbps, but for streaming high-resolution videos, uploading large files, and playing online games, 4Mbps may be of little or no good. You’ll likely experience annoying lagging.