Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Reader Question: Slow downloads problem

Q: Hello, my normal internet speed is 50kb/s. But Now when I download programs, It’s always very slow from 3kb/s- 9kb/s. How can I fix this problem?

~ Mitchell  slow-internet-connection

A: Mitchell,
I have to assume you really do mean to use a little “b” (“bits”; a “B” is “bytes”) which tells me that you are on a dial-up Internet connection.
I also have to assume you only get this slow down when actually downloading files.

Okay. My answer is two parts.
1) If it is at all possible, get off of dial-up. Dial-up technology was fine for the era when it was used (1985-1998) – teletype, e-mail, and text-only websites. Look to to find a ‘high speed’ (aka “Broadband”) provider in your area. Or, maybe, look at satellite. (Frankly, I would not use dial-up, except to send an SOS.) 3kbps, even 3KBps, is ridiculously slow… slow to the point of un-usability.
2) There are two factors which determine speed: your ability to receive, and the server’s ability to send. File servers are (almost) always set to use a low speed.. “low” meaning 300KB’s or so (800 x’s faster than your getting) as well as use a different protocol (FTP). If upgrading your service is simply not doable, for some reason, about the only thing you can do is use a download manager program to break up the file into several parts, and establish multiple ‘requests’ to download those parts simultaneously. (Firefox does this automatically) I have not used a download manager in over a decade, so I am unfamiliar with the current crop, and don’t have any personal recommendation, but CNet Editors give this one, Internet Download Manager, five stars.

by techpaul

Related: This article has some good tips for dial-up users: Browse the Web Faster on a Slow Internet Connection

To see what your bits-per-second are, click here,, and then click “Begin test”.

Quote of the week:The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

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There are numerous ways to post and share photos (or pictures) on the internet; however, the processes  to share your photos can be quite confusing.

If you are looking for an online service that makes photo sharing fast, fun and easy, then take a look at.. (more)”

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November 30, 2010 - Posted by | computers, Internet, performance, tech, troubleshooting | , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Recently I come across a free Linux open source internet and wan and vpn acceleration solution called Traffic Squeezer, (at)

    I found it very useful reducing my office internet traffic as well ftp load, hope you can check that.

    Besides i do agree about other users explanations too, of course you get internet speeds listed which is always bits per sec, but if you download a file you see bytes per sec. So if it is bytes (often denoted as B, then you need to multiply by 8 to get bits per sec which is denoted as b, so bps is bits per sec, Bps is Bytes per sec)


    Comment by sam | December 7, 2010 | Reply

    • sam,
      I took a quick look at the website you mentioned, and two things immediately turned me off —
      1) Most people do not have “Linux-based network devices” (much less have any clue about Layer 2 or Layer 3 traffic management) and,
      2) the English is atrocious.


      Comment by techpaul | December 7, 2010 | Reply

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