In a clear violation of net neutrality, even before the voting took place in late 2017, the U.S.-based wireless service provider Verizon was caught artificially slowing down user speeds when accessing certain services. This practice of throttling largely affected Netflix and YouTube content, two sites that directly compete with video streaming services Verizon itself owns and operates. The company apologized and promised to remedy the error, yet many users report nothing happened.
Throttling doesn’t have to relate to a single website. Many ISPs and wireless carriers throttle data once you reach a certain amount of downloads. Others will slow down your connection if you use services like Kodi or a VPN. There’s no reason behind these speed bumps, only that the ISP wants to control your connection to the internet. The good news is you don’t have to put up with Verizon or any other company throttling your internet. Read below for a complete guide on how to stop throttling for good!
- 1 How to Tell if You’re Being Throttled
- 2 VPNs – The Best Tool to Stop Throttling
- 3 Best VPNs to Stop Verizon Throttling
- 4 Stop Verizon Throttling – Other Methods
- 5 More Benefits of Using a VPN
- 6 Conclusion
How to Tell if You’re Being Throttled
If you’re a Verizon customer, there’s a good change your connection to the internet is already being throttled. Netflix might feel slow, YouTube a little sluggish, and your Kodi streams are never quite HD. There are dozens of potential causes for internet slowdown, however. To make sure it’s throttling that’s the issue, try the easy method below.
BattleForTheNet is a great resource that promotes internet freedoms around the world. The site has a number of tools that help you test your internet connection for censorship and throttling concerns. No complicated setups are required, just visit the throttling test site, click the button, and wait for the results.
Another less reliable method is to try any online speed test service. Watch your download speeds when accessing a site you think may be throttled. Then visit SpeedTest.net and run a quick test. If the download speeds there are vastly different than the other results, chances are you’re being throttled.
VPNs – The Best Tool to Stop Throttling
By far the best way to put a stop to throttling is to run a good VPN. Virtual private networks are powerful and easy to use, and you can run them on every device, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, even Fire TV.
How VPNs Stop Throttling
Virtual private networks provide a ton of privacy and anonymity features thanks to data encryption, a process that wraps each packet of information in a layer of unbreakable code before it leaves your device. No one can see what’s inside these packets, not even Verizon. And if they can’t tell what you’re accessing, they can’t throttle your connection based on that.
If your internet is being throttled on a more generalized basis, VPNs can help that, too. Most ISP throttling efforts are put into place based on port numbers, which are like numbered doors your internet traffic passes through. Data packets usually run through the same port, so all an ISP has to do to do is throttle connections on that port. VPNs can send traffic through different locations, allowing them to access ports Verizon and other ISPs can’t block without shutting down your internet altogether.
Getting the right VPN requires more than just picking a service based on how cool their logo looks. Privacy and censorship are very real issues, and if you don’t choose your VPN wisely, you could put your data at risk instead of protecting it.
Below are the main criteria you should use when selecting a good VPN to stop Verizon throttling. We used the same features to make our recommendations below, allowing you to find the fastest, safest, and most reliable VPN around.
- Reputation – A trustworthy VPN can keep you safe, but an unreliable one can destroy your privacy. Make sure your VPN is well-established and receives good reviews from current and past users.
- Speed – VPNs can be a little slower than an unsecured connection, even when you take throttling into account. Using a fast service is necessary to keep your speed scores high.
- Security features – Things like encryption strength, DNS leak protection, and kill switch features are crucial to keeping your connection safe.
- Logging policy – To ensure true privacy, always choose a VPN service that has a strict zero-logging policy.
A Warning about Free VPNs
Free VPNs are all over the place, and many of them promise to help defeat throttling efforts, too. It may be tempting to install one of these on your device, but the reality is they often put your privacy at risk. Because free VPNs don’t make money billing their users, they have to recover costs in other areas. Most do this by selling your data to third parties. In addition to privacy concerns, free VPNs are also notoriously slow. Even if they did defeat throttling, you still won’t have a lightning fast connection to the internet.
Best VPNs to Stop Verizon Throttling
Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to sign up for a VPN and put a stop to throttling once and for all! Below are our recommended services you can use on any device around the world. Pick your favorite and enjoy your faster connection!
1. ExpressVPN – Fastest VPN
ExpressVPN has fast speeds, strong security, and a great reputation in the VPN community. I’s also incredibly easy to use, offering custom software and apps for a wide variety of devices, Â all of which come with one-click connections and other useful privacy features. ExpressVPN uses 256-bit AES encryption on all data combined with a zero-logging policy on traffic, DNS requests, and IP addresses. You also get DNS leak protection and automatic kill switch features on every device, along with a fast network with locations in 94 different countries!
Learn more about the benefits of using ExpressVPN by checking out our full ExpressVPN review, which includes speed tests and reliability scores.
2. NordVPN – Strongest Protection
NordVPN is a stable, trustworthy, and extremely reliable VPN provider that has been in business for years. The company offers a huge network of 3,300 servers in 59 different countries for fast connections around the world. The core of NordVPN’s privacy is built around a strict zero-logging policy that covers bandwidth, traffic, time stamps, and DNS access, including an automatic kill switch, DNS leak protection, and 256-bit AES encryption on all data. You can also take advantage of unique privacy features such as double encryption, onion over VPN routing, and DDoS protection.
Get more information about NordVPN’s speeds, features, and extras by reading our full NordVPN review.
3. CyberGhost – Reliable Security
CyberGhost delivers a superb mixture of speed and privacy, making it a great VPN to stay safe online while unblocking websites and defeating throttling efforts from Verizon and other ISPs. It starts with 256-bit AES encryption on all data and includes a thorough zero-logging policy on traffic, time stamps, and IP address. DNS leak protection and an automatic kill switch ensure your identity stays hidden no matter what. You also get access to over 1,200 servers in 60 countries for fast worldwide connections!
Find out more about CyberGhost’s incredible speed and security features by checking out our CyberGhost review.
4. PureVPN – Privacy and More
PureVPN is an incredibly useful VPN service that offers a wide variety of features that go above and beyond. Have you ever wanted virus protection on your device? How about malware shields, app blocking, and DNS-level website filters? With PureVPN you get access to all of these and more, including 256-bit encryption, a zero-logging policy on all traffic, DNS leak protection, and an automatic kill switch. PureVPN provides great speeds with a large network of 750 servers across 140 countries, ensuring you can connect and defeat throttling anywhere in the world.
Stop Verizon Throttling – Other Methods
VPNs are great all-purpose tools that can usually defeat throttling efforts in an instant. For more stubborn ISPs, though, you’ll want to deploy stronger measures to keep your connection fast and secure. Below are some of the most common alternatives to stop throttling.
VPN Configuration Settings
By default, most VPNs will immediately put a stop to throttling efforts by Verizon or any other company. Encryption is often all that’s needed to give you free access to the internet. If that’s not enough, you can usually change some of your VPN’s settings to try a more aggressive method.
Open your VPN’s configurations page and look for an option to change security protocol settings. Inside, check for ways to alter the default port, toggle extra encryption protocols, or switch encryption types altogether. Below are a few common changes you might be able to make that often help stop throttling.
- Use UDP or TCP port 1194, the official OpenVPN port
- Enable SSH connections on any port
- Activate SSL encryption on any port
- Switch to UDP or TCP port 80
- Try a high port, like 41185
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) tunnels are an extremely reliable method for defeating ISP throttling efforts. If you’ve ever seen a site with a green padlock icon in your browser’s URL bar, that means it was secured with HTTPS, or HTTP secure. This protocol uses SSL for basic encryption, and you can do the same for all of your internet traffic, making it anonymous and difficult to track.
Stunnel is the most popular piece of software for setting up and using SSL tunnels. It takes a little research to do properly, but once it’s complete you’ll be able to bypass throttling in an instant. You can also choose a VPN service that offers SSL tunnels by default, such as NordVPN.
Shadowsocks (SOCKS5 Proxy)
Shadowsocks uses the SOCKS5 protocol (Socket Secure 5) which transfers data packets between clients and servers using a proxy server. It’s simple but effective, designed to break through censorship barriers by keeping traffic completely obscured. This also helps defeat throttling, since knowing the destination of a packet of data is often how ISPs decide when to apply speed caps. The website above will walk you through the process of renting and setting up a shadowsocks server to use on your home network.
Stop Verizon Throttling on a Smartphone
Verizon doesn’t stop its throttling efforts on data connections. The company applies caps and bandwidth limits on many of its cell phone services, too. Unfortunately for us users, this is almost impossible to bypass with any measure of reliability. Current workaround are complex and difficult to implement, requiring deep knowledge of Android architecture, phone rooting, and ROM cracking.
VPNs can’t stop 3G or 4G data throttling, nor can any of the methods above. If possible, try switching to a standard internet connection via Wi-Fi and downloading your content for offline access.
More Benefits of Using a VPN
VPNs do more than just put a stop to Verizon throttling. They can help you access censored content, bypass government firewalls, even let you stream movies from other countries! Below are just a few of the best reasons to use a VPN.
If you can’t access Netflix in your area, or if you want to try streaming videos from other regions, VPNs can help. The services let you change your IP address to a non-local one, fooling streaming sites like Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and YouTube into thinking you’re located in another area. Reload the page and suddenly tons of new TV shows and movies are ready to stream!
Hide Your Kodi Streams
Kodi is a wonderful piece of media center software that allows you to stream content from around the world, all for free. Some add-ons for Kodi are known to access illegal content, however, which means governments and ISPs are more likely to monitor your streams if you use Kodi, even for legitimate reasons.
Using a VPN while streaming with Kodi helps keep you safe. Encryption prevents ISPs from checking your data, stopping throttling attempts before they even start. You can also access all of Kodi’s add-ons with complete privacy. If you want to use Kodi even just once, make sure you’re running a VPN in the background.
Connecting your smartphone on a public Wi-Fi network is just asking for trouble. Open hotspots are dangerous territory, featuring everything from hackers to shady ISPs that record and sell private data. Smartphones carry an incredible amount of information about our identity, making them a prime target for data thieves. By running a VPN on your cell phone, you can keep communications secure and download speeds nice and fast, even at coffee shops and restaurants.
Secure Your Fire TV
Running a VPN on Fire TV is a great way to secure data leaving your streaming device. You might think you’re safe from throttling or privacy concerns when using a Fire Stick, but ISPs monitor TV streaming devices just like smartphones and PCs. VPNs put a stop to these problems right away, allowing you to watch movies in complete privacy.
Ready to put a stop to Verizon’s inconvenient throttling practices? The company constantly changes its methods to keep artificial slowdown in place without alerting users, but with the right tools you can bypass these bottlenecks without any effort. Stay safe and stay speedy with a good VPN on your site!