CenturyLink’s slow internet is a common problem that many users experience. Slow internet can be frustrating, especially when streaming videos, playing games online, or working. There are many factors that can contribute to slow internet, including a distant router, interference from other electronics, and outdated software.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some common reasons why your CenturyLink internet is slow and provide step-by-step solutions to get you back on track. So, if you’ve ever found yourself asking, “Why is my CenturyLink internet so slow?“, you’re in the right place.
How To Fix A Slow CenturyLink Internet Connection
If you are experiencing slow internet speeds with CenturyLink, there are several steps you can take to troubleshoot the issue. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you speed up your CenturyLink connection and fix your slow internet permanently.
1. Basic checks
Before diving deep into troubleshooting, performing some basic checks is usually a good idea. These can often identify the issue or even resolve it without further steps.
- Speed Test: Start by measuring your current internet speed. Use a tool such as SpeedTest. Run the test and compare the results with the speed promised by CenturyLink in your plan. If there’s a significant difference, it indicates there might be an issue.
- Check Data Cap: Some internet plans come with a data cap, meaning after you’ve used a certain amount of data, your speed might be lowered or “throttled.” Log into your CenturyLink account and check if you’ve reached or exceeded your monthly data allowance.
- Device Check: Test your internet speed/connection on a different device. If the speed seems fine on one device but slow on another, the issue might be with the device itself and not the internet connection.
- Router Lights: Quickly check your CenturyLink router lights. If there are any red lights, they usually mean that there is an issue.
2. Restart Your Router
Restarting your router is one of the simplest yet most effective solutions to many internet-related issues. It’s akin to giving your internet connection a fresh start.
Here is how to properly restart your CenturyLink router:
- Unplug the power cord from your router.
- Wait for about 60 seconds. This brief pause allows the device to reset and clear any minor glitches.
- Plug the power cord back into the router.
- Wait for all the lights on the router to stabilize. This usually indicates that the router has successfully restarted and re-established a connection.
- Check your internet speed again to see if there’s any improvement.
3. Disconnect Other Devices
By reducing the number of devices using the internet, you can determine if one of them was causing a significant drain on your bandwidth. I recommend disconnecting every single device from the network except the one you are testing your CenturyLink internet speed on. That includes any smart devices, TVs, Xbox, PlayStation, mobile phones, PCs, etc.
- Identify all devices currently connected to your Wi-Fi.
- Temporarily disconnect or turn off Wi-Fi on these devices. This ensures that no other device is hogging the bandwidth.
- With only your primary device connected, run another speed test to see if there’s any improvement.
4. Use Ethernet
Ethernet cables provide a direct, wired connection between your device and your modem, which can result in faster and more reliable internet speeds.
- Locate an Ethernet cable. They’re readily available at most electronics stores if you don’t have one.
- Connect one end of the Ethernet cable to your router and the other end to your computer or laptop.
- Ensure your device recognizes the wired connection. You might see a notification or a change in the network icon.
- Run a speed test with the wired connection.
Using an Ethernet cable directly links your device and the router, often resulting in a more stable and faster connection than Wi-Fi. It’s an excellent way to determine whether the issue lies with the Wi-Fi signal or the internet connection.
5. Close Background Apps
When experiencing slow internet speeds with CenturyLink, one possible issue could be background apps running on the device. Closing these apps can help free up resources and improve internet speed.
- On your device, check for any applications or processes running in the background. This can include cloud syncing services, software updates, or streaming apps.
- Close or pause any apps or processes that might be using the internet.
- If you’re on a computer, you can often check background processes using the Task Manager (Windows) or Activity Monitor (Mac).
- After ensuring no unnecessary apps are running, perform another speed test.
It’s surprising how many apps can be running behind the scenes, potentially affecting your CenturyLink internet speed.
6. Check for Ongoing Downloads
Large downloads, especially those that happen automatically like system updates, or file syncing(OneDrive, Google Drive) can significantly eat into your bandwidth, causing the rest of the network to slow down.
- On your device, ensure there are no ongoing large file downloads or software updates. This includes movie downloads, game updates, or system patches.
- If you find any active downloads, pause or stop them temporarily.
- Once paused, check if there’s an improvement in the internet speed.
7. Disable Firewalls and Antivirus Software Temporarily
If your CenturyLink internet connection is still slow, one of the reasons may be the firewall or antivirus software installed on the computer. These programs can sometimes interfere with the internet connection and cause slow speeds because they are constantly scanning every single file before it gets downloaded on your device.
In this case, disabling the firewall or antivirus software temporarily may help.
- Locate your device’s firewall settings. On many computers, this can be found in the system or security settings.
- Temporarily disable the firewall. Make sure to note how to re-enable it later.
- Additionally, if you have antivirus software running, consider pausing it temporarily. Most antivirus programs have a “disable” or “pause” option in their settings or system tray icon.
- After disabling, run a speed test to check for any improvements.
8. Update Network Adapter Driver
If the network adapter driver is outdated or corrupt, it can cause slow internet speeds. Keeping them updated ensures optimal performance.
Here are the steps to update the network adapter driver:
- Press the Windows key + X and select “Device Manager” from the list of options.
- Expand the “Network adapters” category.
- Right-click on the network adapter and select “Update driver“.
- Select “Search automatically for updated driver software” and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update.
If the automatic update does not work, you can download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website and install it manually.
Regularly checking for driver updates can help maintain a smooth and efficient CenturyLink internet experience.
9. Modify DNS Settings
Switching DNS servers can sometimes bypass regional internet congestion or slow local DNS servers, leading to faster browsing speeds.
DNS is responsible for translating domain names into IP addresses, allowing computers to access websites. By default, CenturyLink uses its own DNS servers. However, using third-party DNS servers can sometimes lead to faster internet speeds.
Here are some steps to modify DNS settings for your CenturyLink connection on Windows:
- Open the Control Panel on your computer.
- Click on Network and Sharing Center.
- Click on Change adapter settings.
- Right-click on the network adapter that is connected to your CenturyLink internet connection and select Properties.
- Select Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and click on Properties.
- Select Use the following DNS server addresses and enter the preferred and alternate DNS server addresses.
- Click OK to save the changes.
Here are some steps to modify DNS settings for your CenturyLink connection on Mac:
- Go to “System Preferences” > “Network.“
- Select your connection, click “Advanced,” then the “DNS” tab.
- Add the new DNS addresses.
Here are some popular third-party DNS servers that can be used by CenturyLink internet users:
|DNS Server||Preferred Address||Alternate Address|
|Google Public DNS||184.108.40.206||220.127.116.11|
If you need a more comprehensive list, you can check out our guide on the best DNS servers for CenturyLink.
10. Disable or Switch your VPN
If you are still experiencing slow internet speeds with CenturyLink, one thing to consider is disabling or swapping any VPN services you may be using. While VPNs and other tools can be helpful for privacy and security, they can also slow down your internet connection.
Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to disable your VPN tools:
- Identify the VPN or network tool you use, whether it’s a program on your computer or a setup on your router.
- Once you have identified the tool, look for a way to disable it. This may be a switch or button within the program or app, or a setting within your router’s configuration page.
- Once you have disabled the tool, test your internet connection to see if it has improved.
- If disabling the tool improves your internet speeds, you may want to consider using it only when necessary, or using NordVPN, which is hands down the fastest VPN on the market.
If errors don’t seem to go away, we recommend you switch to a different VPN provider.
We suggest NordVPN since it’s hands down the best VPN on the market right now.
11. Update CenturyLink’s Router Firmware
Firmware is the software embedded in your router that powers its functionalities. Keeping it updated can resolve potential issues and improve performance.
Here are some simple steps to update your CenturyLink router’s firmware:
- Check the manufacturer’s website for any available firmware updates for your specific router model.
- Download the firmware update file to your computer.
- Open a web browser on your PC and enter the router’s IP address, typically “192.168.1.1” or “192.168.0.1“ in the address field.
- Enter your login credentials to access the router’s settings page. If you haven’t changed them, the default username and password are often “admin/admin” or “admin/password“. Again, refer to the manual if unsure.
- Navigate to the “Firmware Update” or “System Update” section.
- Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the firmware update process.
- After updating, restart your router and test your internet speed.
Always ensure you’re updating firmware from the official source, typically provided by the router’s manufacturer, to avoid any potential issues.
12. Check for Local Outage/Maintenance
Sometimes, the issue might be beyond your control if CenturyLink is experiencing outages or performing maintenance in your area.
- Here’s how to check:
- Visit CenturyLink’s official website and navigate to their “Outage” or “Service Status” section.
- Enter your location or account details to see if there are any reported outages or ongoing maintenance activities.
- Alternatively, consider checking community forums or social media platforms where users might report outages.
- You might need to wait until CenturyLink resolves the issue if there’s a reported outage. They usually provide an estimated time for resolution.
If there is a local outage or maintenance, you cannot do much except wait for CenturyLink to fix the issue. However, if there is no local outage or maintenance, proceed with the next steps to fix your slow CenturyLink internet connection.
13. Try 5 GHz Band
The 5 GHz band is faster and experiences less noise and interference from other devices like microwaves or Bluetooth devices. It also allows for faster data transfer and uses less battery life on mobile devices.
Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to switch to the 5 GHz band:
- Access your router’s web interface (as mentioned in the firmware update step).
- Navigate to the Wi-Fi settings section.
- Look for options to select or prioritize the 5 GHz band.
- Save changes and reconnect your devices to the new network.
- Once connected to the 5 GHz band, restart your device as well as your router, and run a speed test to see if there’s an improvement.
It’s important to note that the 5 GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4 GHz band, so you may experience weaker signal strength if you’re far away from your router. In this case, switching back to the 2.4 GHz band may be the better option.
Overall, trying the 5 GHz band is a simple and easy way to improve your CenturyLink internet speed.
14. Contact CenturyLink Customer Support
If you’ve exhausted the troubleshooting steps and still aren’t getting the speeds you expect, it’s time to reach out to customer support at CenturyLink.
- Gather Information:
- Before calling, gather relevant information. This includes your account number, the results of any speed tests you’ve run, and a summary of the troubleshooting steps you’ve taken.
- Contact Methods:
- Phone: CenturyLink usually has a dedicated helpline for internet-related issues. Check your bill or their official website for the number.
- Live Chat: Many service providers, including CenturyLink, offer live chat support on their website. It’s a quick way to get in touch and discuss your issue.
- Social Media: Some users find success in reaching out via platforms like Twitter. CenturyLink’s customer support team often monitors and responds to queries there.
- Be Patient and Clear:
- Remember, the support team is there to help. Clearly explain your issue, provide any relevant information, and follow their instructions.
Reaching out to customer support can provide insights into potential area-wide issues, offer solutions tailored to your specific situation, or even result in CenturyLink technician visits to assess and resolve problems in person.
I remember a time when I faced a similar issue with my internet connection. Everything seemed fine on my end, but the speeds just weren’t up to par. After troubleshooting for 4-5 hours, I decided to reach out to my internet provider. To my surprise, they informed me of a technical issue on their end that was affecting several customers in my area. They were already working on it, and within a few hours, my internet was back to its usual speedy self(12 Mbps at the time).
Sometimes, the issue might be beyond our control, and a simple call to customer support can save hours of troubleshooting.
BUT, usually, the opposite happens. A few troubleshooting steps can save you hours of back and forth with the ISP’s customer support. Choose wisely.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you faced slow internet issues with CenturyLink before? What steps worked for you? Share your experiences, tips, or questions in the comments below and let’s help each other.