Why Is Centurylink So Slow? Learn, Understand, and Fix It

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Slow and sluggish internet speeds due to CenturyLink throttling or the ISP’s performance degeneration are common issues its users face. While the ISP is a big name within the US, its performance issues remain in question, to the point where the ISP started losing customers.

CenturyLink rebranded to Lumen in 2020 to provide better services and connections, but the throttling issues persist. Fortunately, those who don’t have the option to change their ISPs for some reason can bypass CenturyLink throttling issues and speed up their internet through one of the many ways mentioned in this guide. 

Quick Fix

ISP throttling worldwide issue, whether you like it or not, it’s there. Sometimes it is the name of peak hours, bandwidth loads, extensive torrenting or streaming, or because of the net-neutrality bill. There are many ways to get around this issue, but the most effective and quick way to use the fastest VPN service.

  1. CyberGhost (9.9 ratings) is the most recommended.
  2. NordVPN (9.9 rating) has fastest severs
  3. Surfshark: offers better support for streaming and downloading.

Using the fastest VPN, you can easily change your IP and get around the ISP throttling filter.

The VPNs mentioned above offer consistent and fast connection speed. Also, they come with speed-centric and privacy-focused features that ensure an amazing browsing experience. They are ideal in helping users bypass CenturyLink throttling and can be used to speed up CenturyLink’s internet along with other methods mentioned in the article.

Is your CenturyLink connection slow- how to check?

Although CenturyLink is known to throttle its users, slow internet is not always due to throttling. Often, there are other reasons why you might be experiencing slow internet, which is why it is crucial to identify the issue before looking for solutions. The following methods can help determine if you are facing slow speeds due to throttling or if there is any other issue from your end:

  • Install a VPN: install a reputable VPN on your device and run a speed test. CenturyLink is throttling your connection if your speed is faster with a VPN. 
  • Run a speed test: Numerous speed tests are available online; run a speed test to check your internet speed. If the speed is slower than advertised on your paid plan, your connection will likely get throttled. 
  • Install Wehe app: It is a newly designed app by Northeastern University researchers. The app detects if your connection is throttled on sites like Netflix, YouTube, Skype, and Spotify.
  • Port Testing: if you are a gamer experiencing slow speeds, check your game ports by going to WhatsMyIP.org and clicking on Port Scanners. If the result shows rejected, then you are being throttled.

Try using these methods to check your slow internet speed and find out the reason behind it.

Why is CenturyLink so slow?

Problems with Centurlylink’s performance have long been an issue for its users to the point where the ISP started losing customers. The degeneration of its business, even at one point, led to CenturyLink almost getting out of the consumer landline and broadband business merely because it wasn’t profitable anymore. 

While CenturyLink users often face slow speeds due to throttling, several other reasons can also cause slow speeds. These slow speeds are often due to traffic congestion, data caps, or a faulty router. Customers may sometimes experience slow speeds due to weather problems or neighboring networks’ interference. But if all these issues are checked out and slow internet issues persist, then it is safe to assume that throttling is the main reason you are facing slow internet and contort to using ways to bypass it

Does CenturyLink throttle your connection? History

Although CenturyLink is one of the most popular ISPs in the US, it is well known for throttling users on various events. Users often face throttling issues, specifically during the holiday season, and many have taken up the issue on forums such as Reddit. They suspect that the throttling might be a way to coerce users into upgrading their bandwidth plans. Apart from that, there have been reports regarding the ISP providing slower Internet services in Minneapolis’s black and brown neighborhoods. Moreover, its throttling issues also reach up to suspected paid prioritization practices. Many users over Reddit complain of slow speeds while using YouTube, which miraculously gets better between 10:30 pm and 1 am. This suspiciously looks as if CenturyLink is purposefully throttling YouTube. 

But CenturyLink does not only stop at throttling users. In 2018, the ISP blocked its customer’s access to the Internet to show an ad for filtering software. CenturyLink has unethical practices and exploits the power given to the ISPs after abolishing Net neutrality. Its unfair practices have led to the ISP facing severe backlash and lawsuits. The ISP was recently tangled in a class-action lawsuit brought forth by a group of customers. These customers are seeking a staggering $12 billion in damages, alleging they were overcharged for services and repairs.

With CenturyLink’s unfair and unethical practices, users must practice reliable ways to eliminate these issues. 

Why is CenturyLink Throttling your connection?

Although CenturyLink promises to provide its users with the fastest internet connection, its throttling practices cause a horrible online expense for its users. While CenturyLink’s practices may be unethical, they are legal and often due to legitimate reasons, too, such as:

  • Abolishment of Net Neutrality: the repeal of net neutrality is the fundamental reason ISPs can now throttle your internet. Since the practice is legal, they throttle connections on high bandwidth activities such as streaming or torrenting. 
  • Network congestion: Multiple users connected to the same cell tower traffic or network congestion occurs. Many users cannot get the bandwidth they are paying for during network congestion. Therefore, CenturyLink throttles users, getting more bandwidth than others to prevent this. 
  • Data caps: ISPs have limited data users can use on a certain plan. When CenturyLink detects customers utilizing more data than they paid for, they throttle their connection. It is a way to control how much network data is being used.
  • Late/no payment: when customers have not paid their internet bills, ISPs will throttle their connection. It is obvious, and when your subscription is close to expiring, you may experience a slow internet connection. Just pay your bills to fix this issue. 

These are the potential reasons for CenturyLink’s throttling. If you are looking for ways to overcome this throttling, keep reading!

Signs of CenturyLink Throttling 

Throttling is the deliberate slowing of users’ internet speeds by the ISPs. However, slow internet speeds can be due to varying reasons. Therefore, knowing the telltale signs of throttling is crucial to realize when you are a victim. When a user experiences throttling, these are the signs that occur;

  • Slow and reduced internet speed. Speed is slower than the plan you pay for. 
  • Blocked ports and websites. 
  • Slow upload and download speeds. 
  • Streaming issues, i.e., lagging videos. 
  • Websites take longer than usual to open. 
  • The user gets slow speeds during specific times of the day. 

If you are facing almost all of these signs and have checked for throttling using the methods mentioned above in the article, then you are most likely a victim of throttling. 

CenturyLink throttling policies. 

CenturyLink has a congestion management policy, which handles network congestion during peak hours (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.). The company uses techniques like spam prevention, adding network capacity, and occasionally limiting service to ensure a positive customer experience. However, peak usage can vary due to extraordinary events like pandemics or emergencies.

Moreover, CenturyLink has an Excessive Use Policy (EUP) with a 1.0 terabyte (TB) monthly data limit for residential High-Speed Internet (HSI) customers. Only a small fraction of customers exceed this limit among the millions of HSI users. The ISP promises to never “ block, prioritize, or degrade any Internet sourced or destined traffic based on application, source, destination, protocol, or port” unless the activity is not violating their security policy

How to bypass CenturyLink Throttling?

Slow internet speeds are a real headache no matter what activity you are trying to perform. Therefore, we have compiled a few trusted and tested ways to bypass CenturyLink throttling;

Use a VPN

One of the most effective ways to bypass CenturyLink’s throttling is to use a VPN. A VPN uses encryption ciphers to mask users’ activity, which can result in improved speeds and privacy. Moreover, the encryption helps maintain user anonymity and helps ensure a secure and private online experience. Apart from that, VPNs also help bypass geo-block and online censorship. Research and select a reputable VPN service that suits your requirements to optimize your online experience using CenturyLink.

Contact CenturyLink Support

To contact CenturyLink Support for throttling issues, visit their official website, locate the “Contact Us” or “Support” page, and choose your preferred contact method (phone, live chat, or email). Now, provide your account details and describe the throttling issue that you’re facing. Try to Stay patient and polite for the best possible assistance.

Network Congestion

If you’re dealing with Network congestion on CenturyLink, schedule your activities during off-peak hours. Avoid performing high bandwidth tasks during the internet rush between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. Moreover, optimize your home network, disconnect unused devices, and ensure your modem and router are up to date.

Upgrade Your Plan

If you’re constantly experiencing slow internet, it’s time for a plan upgrade. Upgraded plans often come with higher bandwidth allowances, which can help alleviate congestion-related issues. Explore plan options on CenturyLink’s website or contact their customer support for proper guidance. 

Try using the following methods to overcome CenturyLink throttling and slow speed issues. 

How does a VPN help bypass CenturyLink Throttling?

A VPN is the best-known method to help bypass ISP throttling issues and attain fast speeds on the internet. A VPN works by hiding your data traffic and changing your IP address and location by rerouting your data through remote servers. The encryption and masked IP address help bypass ISP throttling issues as the ISPs remain unaware of your online activities. However, for ISPs that tend to block VPNs, a reliable VPN comes with an obfuscation feature that disguises data traffic into ordinary HTTPS traffic used by banks. The ISPs are, therefore, unable to block the VPN connection. 

Can I use a proxy to bypass CenturyLink throttling?

A proxy is a simple method that can help bypass CenturyLink’s throttling issues. Since proxies route your connection through third-party servers, which mask your IP address and hide port numbers and traffic destination, they help evade all the throttling problems. 

However, they are not reliable since they don’t encrypt data traffic. Therefore, ISPs that use deep-packet inspection to throttle and learn about your online behavior can throttle your connection based on it. If you need a reliable online experience, it is best to use a reliable VPN. 

VPNs that can help bypass CenturyLink Throttling?

Since ISP throttling issues are somewhat complex, using the right VPN is crucial for optimum browsing speeds. After trying and testing several brands, we have compiled this list of the fastest VPNs that provide fast speeds and security. 


NordVPN is one of the best VPNs that can help bypass CenturyLink throttling. With its extensive network of servers worldwide and advanced encryption protocols, NordVPN effectively hides your internet activities from your ISP. This means you can enjoy faster and more consistent internet speeds, free from throttling. NordVPN’s dedication to privacy and security ensures that your online activities remain confidential, while its user-friendly interface makes it accessible for both beginners and experienced users. Some features that help evade throttling and ensure fast speeds are its obfuscated servers and the proprietary NordLynx VPN protocol. 


ExpressVPN stands out as the most secure VPN for effectively bypassing CenturyLink throttling. The VPN provides robust security features such as military-grade encryption, a strict no-logs policy, and advanced leak protection to ensure your online activities remain private. Apart from that, ExpressVPN offers its proprietary Lighway VPN protocol, which provides robust encryption and promises lightning-fast speeds. It also has several other features that help bypass online training issues, such as obfuscated servers and private DNS

CyberGhost VPN 

CyberGhost VPN is a reliable choice for evading throttling and getting fast speeds on the internet. With its extensive server network and specialized streaming servers, CyberGhostVPN provides a seamless online experience, bypassing CenturyLink’s speed limitations. CyberGhost VPN provides privacy and security with robust encryption protocols and a strict no-logs policy, ensuring your online activities remain private.

Surfshark VPN 

Surfshark VPN is a reliable choice for effectively bypassing CenturyLink’s throttling measures. With a global network of servers optimized for high-speed servers, Surfshark ensures you can enjoy uninterrupted and fast internet access. The VPN’s strong emphasis on user privacy and security is evident through its robust encryption protocols, strict no-logs policy, and additional features like obfuscated serves and a private DNS, which helps ensure a secure online browsing experience. Whether streaming, browsing, or torrenting, Surfshark VPN provides a reliable solution for bypassing CenturyLink throttling while maintaining your online security and privacy.

How to choose a reliable VPN for CenturyLink?

Selecting a reliable VPN to enhance your CenturyLink internet experience requires careful consideration of various factors:

  1. Server Network: Look for a VPN with a large and diverse server network. A broad server presence ensures better chances of finding a fast and stable connection to bypass CenturyLink throttling.
  2. Speed and Performance: Prioritise VPNs that offer consistently high speeds. Faster connections help mitigate the impact of throttling and ensure smooth browsing and streaming.
  3. Security Features: Ensure the VPN has robust security measures, including AES-256 encryption, a kill switch, and DNS leak protection. These features safeguard your data and online privacy.
  4. No-Logs Policy: Opt for VPNs with strict no-logs policies. This means your online activities won’t be recorded, enhancing your privacy.
  5. Compatibility: Check if the VPN is compatible with your devices and operating systems, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and routers.

Choosing a reliable VPN for CenturyLink involves considering server network, speed, security, compatibility, ease of use, customer support, and more. Assess your requirements and priorities to make an informed decision that enhances your online experience and helps you bypass CenturyLink throttling effectively.

Can I use a free VPN to bypass CenturyLink Throttling?

Using a free VPN to bypass CenturyLink throttling may not be the most effective solution. Free VPNs often have limitations such as slower speeds, data caps, and a lack of advanced security features. Some free VPNs may compromise privacy by logging data or displaying ads. To ensure a more reliable and secure experience when bypassing CenturyLink throttling, it is best to use a reputable paid VPN service that offers better performance and more robust privacy protections.

CenturyLink Throttling YouTube- How to get rid of the issue?

CenturyLink throttling when streaming YouTube videos can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to mitigate this issue:

  • Reach out to CenturyLink’s customer support to complain about the issue. Sometimes, the problem can be resolved by discussing it with your ISP.
  • Consider using a reputable VPN service. A VPN can help bypass CenturyLink’s throttling by encrypting your internet traffic, making it harder for your ISP to detect and limit your YouTube streaming.
  • Lower the video quality settings on YouTube. Streaming at a lower resolution requires less bandwidth and can help prevent buffering issues.
  • Keep an eye on your data usage. CenturyLink may enforce throttling when you exceed specific data caps. Consider unlimited data plans if available.
  • Clear your browser’s cache and cookies regularly. This can help improve the overall performance of streaming websites.

By taking these steps, you can address CenturyLink throttling issues when streaming YouTube and enjoy a smoother online video experience.

How to bypass CenturyLink Throttling Netflix?

Apart from YouTube, many users online have also complained of CenturyLink throttling Netflix. If you are experiencing the same speed drop, it’s best to check for throttling through this tool to be more certain. If you are inconsistent, you can be sure that CenturyLink is throttling your connection. Make sure to repeat the process three to four times a day. If you are getting similar results, best bypass this issue using a Netflix VPN. The best VPN for Netflix has specific features to evade throttling issues and helps provide a reliable online streaming experience.  

Can I get rid of CenturyLink Throttling during Torrenting?

Torrenting over CenturyLink guarantees slow internet speeds. That is primary because treating or any other P2P activity consumes high bandwidth and even results in network congestion. Therefore, to ensure every user gets the same speeds, ISPs have filters to detect P2P activity, which they put in place to throttle torrenting. As a result, users get slow speeds, but if you want to bypass that, you can always use a reliable VPN for torrenting. All you need to do is:

  • Download a good torrenting VPN.
  • Pause all ongoing torrents. 
  • Connect to the closest P2P servers. 
  • Resume Download 

The VPN will ensure you get super-fast speeds within a few minutes. But make sure you use a reliable VPN that is compatible with torrenting. It must provide P2P optimized servers, robust encryption, torrenting IP protection, a kill switch, and a strict no-logs policy. 

Why is CenturyLink so bad for gaming?

CenturyLink is often criticized for being bad for gaming due to several factors. One of the primary reasons is its inconsistent and relatively low internet speeds compared to other providers. This inconsistency can lead to lag, latency, and slow download speeds, all detrimental to a smooth gaming experience. Additionally, CenturyLink practices network prioritization, which is not optimized for gaming traffic and results in a lack of dedicated resources for gamers. All these factors make the ISP unreliable for avid gamers seeking low-latency, high-speed connections for online gameplay.

Final Words 

CenturyLink is known for providing internet service to millions of users; however, the service is also famous for data throttling and slow speed. Throttling is used to manage congestion or enforce policies. However, there are strategies to circumvent CenturyLink’s throttling. Using a VPN is the most effective way to bypass CenturyLink’s throttling. Ultimately, being informed about your consumer rights and exploring alternative Internet service providers in your area can contribute to a more satisfying and unrestricted online experience.

FAQ’s About CenturyLink Throttling

Yes, CenturyLink may have data usage limits depending on your specific plan. Many CenturyLink plans have a monthly data cap, typically measured in terabytes (TB). Exceeding this limit can result in additional charges or a temporary reduction in internet speeds. Be sure to review your plan details to understand any data usage limitations.

CenturyLink internet speeds can vary for several reasons. Factors like your chosen internet plan, the quality of your modem and router, network congestion during peak hours, and your physical distance from the nearest CenturyLink infrastructure can all impact your internet speed.

To check if your CenturyLink internet is being throttled, monitor your internet speeds using online speed testing tools like Ookla’s Speed Test or Fast.com. Compare these results to your subscribed plan’s advertised speeds. It could indicate throttling if you consistently experience significantly slower speeds than what you’re paying for.

CenturyLink’s internet speed can vary depending on your chosen plan and location. They offer a range of plans with varying download and upload speeds. Generally, CenturyLink offers internet plans with speeds ranging from 15 Mbps to 940 Mbps

Kenneth G Aranda

4 thoughts on “Why Is Centurylink So Slow? Learn, Understand, and Fix It”

  1. Thanks for the write-up.

    I’ve noticed this too, and it’s incredibly frustrating. I work from home as a software engineer, and I’m frequently uploading to and download from GitHub.

    With an 80Mbps download speed, I can only achieve a maximum of 500 KB/s when downloading from GitHub. When downloading from Steam, I can download at up to 10 MB/s.

    Of course, GitHub is capable of transferring much faster than that. It’s one of the largest and most robust infrastructures in the world. When downloading from GitHub on my VPS, I usually get around 14 MB/s.

    I’ve noticed this selective throttling on dozens of other websites too. One of them is my own private VPS. It has a 1 Gpbs link and usually has an upload throughput of 300Mbps to 700Mbps, depending on usage of other VMs on the host. I can only download from it at the same 500 KB/s, though.

    I wish more people understood how Net Neutrality was actually protecting them, and how the repeal is already affecting them. No matter what speed you pay for, you can only utilize it if the service/website/etc. that’s sending you the content has paid the ISP ransom.

  2. Centurylink is the absolute worst of providers we have used (in an industry that already has very low customer satisfaction) . We had WoW in Michigan and were tired of some of there policies but we never experienced throttling like this. Data caps weren’t a thing either for the providers in our area in MI. Also the Centurylink technicians that have serviced us, told us they are a terrible company to work for and that the problems we have had are the usual customer experience. I never heard of them before I moved to the mountain west, so I am surprised you say they are a large company. I wish I still had not heard of them honestly.

  3. CenturyLink would rather throw your speed then upgrade their internet service. The reason they gave me which they denied throttling it at first was that I was utilizing too much bandwidth. but yet this little download speed they give me is all I can get in this area and they still charge me twice as much as someone across the street with cable internet getting 40 times the download speed. and no not every ISP throttles your internet CenturyLink just happens to be the biggest offender because of their limited bandwidth capabilities in rural areas and such. Which is not my fault. I say if you’re going to give me less internet charge me less money that’s only fair.

    • That’s a pretty interesting findings… most of the time, they came up with excuses like this one. but throttling shouldn’t be hammered against “using much bandwidth” they should provide the promised data and speed which you paid for.

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