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How to Speed up Your Downloads

Waiting for downloads to finish is no fun. After all, if you’ve decided you want to save or install something you find online, you probably want to use or play it straight away. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to speed up downloads – but also several pitfalls you should avoid in your quest to achieve it. Here, we look at how to download large files faster no matter how slow your bandwidth is.
Speed up downloads on very slow broadband connections
There’s no easy cure for a limited web connection – and we know many readers are stuck on speeds of less than 2Mbps.
Your first priority is to ensure nothing else is interfering with your bandwidth. This means switching off your email, closing instant messaging programs and making sure no other webpages are active.
If you’ve got a fairly fast broadband connection, you don’t need to be quite so strict about switching off services. Other web-based activities will make a difference to how long the download takes, but simple web surfing will have a negligible effect. However, we don’t recommend trying to watch a YouTube clip while you wait for iPlayer to download a programme you want to watch as this will devote lots of your bandwidth buffering the video.
Check what other devices are using your web connection
If you find your downloads take much longer than expected, other devices and software are probably using the web connection too. If you’ve got an iOS or Android device, you can use the free Fing app (www.snipca.com/10068) to identify anything that’s on your network. To use it, just start Fing and it will automatically search for all connected devices. Click an entry in the ‘Device list’ to see what’s it’s connected to. If you’ve used Fing before, click Refresh to make it re-scan ...

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... usually better to wait until you’re able to connect to your home broadband so you don’t go over your phone’s download limits. Unlimited data tariffs are usually subject to a fair-use policy, so read the fine print of your contract.
You can boost your connection speed by changing which server your phone or tablet uses to connect to the internet.
Google’s own DNS (domain name server) is faster than the server your ISP uses, so switch to this instead. You’ll need a DNS-changing app such as Set DNS (www.snipca.com/10085). Once installed, you can use Set DNS to override the connection on Wi-Fi and choose the faster Google DNS or OpenDNS instead. To use the free version of Set DNS (£2.28) you need to root the phone. However, there’s also a paid-for version of Set DNS that lets you override the DNS settings for your Android phone or tablet without needing to root it.

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