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

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Browsing the web with a slow connection speed is more like a headache. If you’re a CenturyLink user, you would be pretty used to this issue called CenturyLink Throttling. The broadband provider cannot keep pace with the user requirements and thus throttles the network to regulate the internet traffic.

For CenturyLink, this might be feasible, but from users’ perspective, this is intolerable, and they couldn’t tell the problems they had to face due to throttling. But some VPNs can help to gain the average speed. 

Quick Tip

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. This article delves deep into CenturyLink throttling and how to bypass it. So, let’s get started.

Why Is CenturyLink Slow?

Despite promising the fastest internet connection, CenturyLink is one of the most popular ISPs that throttle users’ connections. 

Many people have complained that they cannot get the advertised broadband speeds that CenturyLink promised. There are several reasons for it. Below is an insight into the reasons why CenturyLink throttles your connection:

Net Neutrality

The repeal of Net Neutrality is the most fundamental reason for CenturyLink’s throttling. The broadband providers act as a gatekeeper to monitor your activities, and if they notice anything against their policy, they start throttling your connection. It usually happens when you’re streaming on Netflix or YouTube, consuming more bandwidth than other users. 

Data Caps

If your data cap is near or you exceed your download limit, CenturyLink limits the high speed you are using. As a result, you experience throttling and slow internet speed. It means that when you use a certain amount of data monthly to ease congestion or because of paid prioritization, ISPs like CenturyLink impose data caps that slow down your connection speed.

Bandwidth Plan

The broadband providers have mentioned in their terms of service that they believe in fair usage. It means that every user should get equal bandwidth each month. When they observe that some users are using excessive bandwidth and, as a result, other users aren’t getting enough bandwidth; they throttle the internet connection. They do so to maintain equality, and all users get equal bandwidth.

Network Congestion 

During peak hours, the network became crowded with more users and congested the network. Thus, the ISP starts throttling the bandwidth to regulate the traffic and decongest the network. The ISP throttles your connection when you’re involved in activities that take up much of your bandwidth, like torrenting. 

Other than this, CenturyLink also throttles your connection because you haven’t paid your monthly bill, you’re frequently playing online games, and to optimize the network traffic. For all reasons, you’d experience a slow and sluggish internet connection that ruins your browsing experience. Hence you should look for a permanent solution to eliminate throttling.

How to Tell If CenturyLink is Throttling Your Connection?

If you’re suspicious that CenturyLink is throttling your connection, it is better to confirm it so that you can look for ways to prevent it. You can run a speed test and internet health test to ensure you’re being throttled

Run a Speed Test

Use tools like speedtest.net or testmy.net to check your internet speed and maximum bandwidth. Simply go to any of these tools and tap on the Go button. 

It might take a few minutes to analyze the network speed. Note down the test speeds and bandwidth and compare them with the speed and bandwidth the data plan promises to provide. 

For a clearer picture, repeat the tests at different times of the day. If there’s a significant variation in your speed, it is a clear sign that you’re being throttled. 

Internet Health Test

Another method to check if CenturyLink is throttling you is to conduct an internet health test. This test checks your speed to popular access points and identifies any unusual slowdowns. Primarily, you can detect if your ISP is throttling your connection on Netflix or not by using this tool. 

Open the tool and hit on the Go button. The test result will show you both download and upload speed. Note down the speed and repeat the tests. If you see inconsistent speeds, then you’re being throttled. 

Port Testing

This might irritate you if you’re a gamer and experiencing a sluggish connection. It can be because CenturyLink is throttling your connection. To clear your doubts, 

If you’re using these ports and suddenly it shows Rejected status, it means that your ISP is throttling your connection.

With these methods, you can check whether CenturyLink is throttling your connection. Choose any of the ways, and you’ll get accurate results every time.

Signs For CenturyLink Throttling Your Connection?

If you want to enjoy a fast and unrestricted internet connection, you should look for other ways to prevent CenturyLink from throttling your connection. Here are some of the measures you should adopt to have maximum internet speeds:

  • Closely monitor your internet speed. Make it a habit of conducting a speed test at different times of the day. The speed test result will give you a clear idea about your internet speed daily. 
  • By conducting a speed test, you will also know about bandwidth. If it is low, then it is a sign of throttling.
  • Check if your connection is being throttled on any specific website like Netflix or YouTube. For this purpose, you can even perform an internet health test, and if the test results show slow speed, it means your connection is being throttled on Netflix.
  • Join open communities like Quora or Reddit, or ask your friends or surrounding people if they’re also experiencing slow internet speeds. If they’re also complaining about the same issue, it is evident that CenturyLink is throttling your connection.
  • Switch your data plan that offers unlimited bandwidth and consistent connection speed. 

If you are facing any such tell-tale signs of CenturyLink throttling, it is best to run tests to be sure. With that, you can quite easily get past throttling issues through one of the secure VPNs or any other method that seems suitable to you. 

How Does a VPN Bypass CenturyLink Throttling? 

Using a VPN is the best available solution to prevent CenturyLink throttling. A VPN is the perfect anonymity tool that protects your activities from your ISP in two key ways:

  1. The VPN provider hides your IP address by replacing it with the IP address provided by the VPN server. It will appear that you’re browsing the web from the location where the VPN server is present. Thus, you can bypass the ISP filters and enjoy an anonymous and more private browsing experience. 
  2. It encrypts your entire data traffic into deep packets that pass through an encrypted tunnel and is converted to unreadable and scrambled form. In this way, a VPN prevents your ISP from seeing the websites you visit. When the ISP can’t view the sites you visit, they no longer select your activities to throttle. 

With a plethora of VPN providers available in the market, not all are worthy of use. Make sure that you choose a reliable and secure VPN for bypassing CenturyLink throttling. While you select a VPN for throttling, do consider the following criteria:

  • Fast speeds
  • Extensive server network
  • Solid encryption and protocols (should maintain fast speed and security)
  • Privacy and security-boosting features
  • No-log policy
  • Supports streaming and torrenting

Considering the criteria mentioned above, we’ve compiled the best four VPNs for bypassing CenturyLink throttling. So, here let’s get started with them:

CyberGhost VPN

The last best VPN that helps to prevent CenturyLink throttling is CyberGhost VPN which offers fast enough speeds, an extensive server network, and unlimited bandwidth to the users. It uses secure AES-256-bit encryption and robust protocols like OpenVPN and WireGuard that guarantee fast connection speed throughout your browsing experience. 

Also, it offers some extra supported features like the NoSpy servers and specialized servers for streaming, torrenting, and gaming, ensuring that speed will never be an issue with CyberGhost VPN. Moreover, the VPN also protects against VPN leaks, uses a kill switch feature, obfuscated mode, and a split tunneling feature for extra security. The VPN provider follows a no-log policy but does keep some anonymous data. However, no incident reveals that CyberGhost VPN leaks users’ data; thus, it is safe and trustworthy to use. 

CyberGhost VPN has 7000+ servers in 91 countries; all servers offer fast speed, guaranteeing a hassle-free streaming and torrenting experience. 


NordVPN is an ideal choice to consider when it comes to bypassing CenturyLink throttling. The VPN comes with unlimited bandwidth and more than 5000 servers in 60 countries that ensure that the servers are close, which helps in fast connection. NordVPN’s fast speeds are also because of the NordLynx and OpenVPN protocols. 

The VPN provider uses military-grade solid encryption to safeguard your data from your ISP. It also protects against VPN leaks and offers a kill switch, dedicated IP address, obfuscated servers, and multi-factor authentication feature that further strengthens your online security. NordVPN belongs to the safe jurisdiction of Panama, and also it follows a strict no-log policy with a verified log audit report that proves that it is a private and secure VPN to use. 

You can unblock the blocked content on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Disney Plus, and more. The speeds are fast enough to stream HD-quality videos on Netflix and other streaming services. Moreover, it also allows users to download torrents and play online games. 


ExpressVPN is another best choice to consider that helps in bypassing CenturyLink throttling. The VPN consists of more than 3000 servers in 94 countries. All these servers promise fast and consistent connection speed with no connection lags and buffering. It also uses its own proprietary Lightway protocol designed to boost the speed and thus makes ExpressVPN an excellent VPN to bypass throttling. 

The VPN provider has a strict no-log policy and has undergone a log audit process. Thus, it is a private and secure VPN to use, and you don’t have to worry about your activities getting exposed. To further protect your activities from ISP surveillance, ExpressVPN uses AES-256-bit encryption and a wide range of impressive security-enhancing features such as DNS leak and IP leak protection, a kill switch, RAM-only servers, and zero-knowledge DNS.

The VPN provides unlimited bandwidth, which allows users to unblock Netflix without any connectivity issue. It also comes with a split tunneling feature that allows downloading torrents safely. 

Surfshark VPN

Surfshark VPN is another impressive VPN used to prevent CenturyLink throttling. It uses OpenVPN and WireGuard protocols that help in speedy connection. It has a decent server network comprising over 3200 servers in 65 countries to maintain fast speeds. The VPN provider uses strong encryption to safeguard your internet traffic from the eyes of your service providers. 

It also protects against IP and DNS leaks and uses an obfuscation mode that makes your traffic look like regular traffic and thus helps bypass the ISP filters. Some other impressive features that Surfshark VPN offers include an automatic kill switch, split tunneling mode, and SOCKS5, which further enhance your digital privacy and security.

The VPN providers belong to the safe jurisdiction of the British Virgin Island, free from data retention laws. Moreover, it follows a strict no-log policy and has audited its log policy, proving that it is a private VPN and won’t reveal your activities to your ISP. With Surfshark VPN, you can also stream and torrent unlimitedly without worrying about speeds and security. 

All these VPNs prove to give off excellent performance to bypass CenturyLink throttling. Choose wisely and if you’re a CenturyLink user, get rid of slow internet speed right away. 

Can a Proxy Help in Bypassing CenturyLink Throttling?

Besides using a VPN, another simple and easy way to bypass CenturyLink throttling is using a proxy service. Various proxy services are available that act as a middleman and route some of your computers’ connections through a third-party server. Since each proxy server has a different IP address, they allow you to browse the web more anonymously and privately. Moreover, they also hide the port numbers and destination of the traffic, thus hiding your activities from the ISP. 

However, the major drawback of using a proxy service is that they don’t encrypt the data traffic. The ISPs use different methods like deep inspection packets to throttle and learn about your online behavior. 

As proxies won’t provide top-notch security and online protection to the users, they should be avoided. It’s recommended to stick to a VPN to prevent throttling.  

How to Bypass CenturyLink Throttling With a VPN?

To bypass CenturyLink throttling with a VPN is relatively easy. All you need to do is select a VPN and install it onto your device. Setting up a VPN on your device takes less than five minutes. Below are the steps for setting up a VPN onto your device:

  1. Choose a VPN from our recommendation, as mentioned above and subscribe to it. 
  2. Sign up for a new account.
  3. Install and download the VPN app onto your device. 
  4. Once you get with the installation process, log in to your VPN account. 
  5. Select a server of your choice. 
  6. Tap to connect and wait till the connection is established. Now try to stream a video that was buffering before.

 If it is running smoothly, it means that your VPN has successfully bypassed CenturyLink’s throttling.

How to Bypass CenturyLink Throttling During Torrenting

One prime reason for throttling is torrenting and sharing P2P files. Torrenting consumes a lot of bandwidth and even results in network congestion. When the ISP filters detect such activity, they start throttling your connection. As a result, your torrent downloading experience is slowed down, but once again, VPNs prove to be handy here. 

With a VPN compatible with torrenting, you can bypass CenturyLink throttling. All you need to do is: 

  1. Download the best VPN for torrenting. 
  2. Pause all active torrents.
  3. Go back and connect to the VPN server of your choice and Tap to connect. 
  4. Resume your torrent downloads. 

Within a few minutes, your torrent file will get downloaded. Make sure that you don’t use any random VPN for torrenting. Your VPN should offer P2P-optimized servers, Torrent IP leak protection, fast speeds, and torrent-friendly features like a kill switch for the best effective results.

How to Bypass CenturyLink Throttling During Netflix?

CenturyLink users are not at all happy with CenturyLink throttling their connection on Netflix. Users on Redditt were seen as highly disappointed with the slow streaming speeds. If you’re also experiencing the same issue, it’s recommended first to test the connection speeds of the Netflix video servers. 

For this purpose, you can use this tool and run a speed test. If the displayed test speed varies from what CenturyLink promises, your connection is probably being throttled on Netflix. To be more sure, repeat the test twice or thrice for a few days. If you get inconsistent speed, it’s confirmed that CenturyLink is throttling your connection while you stream Netflix. 

To enjoy fast connection speed while you’re streaming on Netflix, start using the best VPN for Netflix. The best VPN for Netflix guarantees an unthrottled connection. You can also conduct a speed to clear your doubts about throttling. 


Like any other ISP, CenturyLink also throttles users’ connections and ruins their overall browsing experience. There are various reasons why CenturyLink throttles your connection. No matter the reason, it is constantly frustrating from a user’s point of view. If you have doubts about CenturyLink throttling, you should run a speed or internet health test. Once you’re sure about throttling, subscribe to any VPN mentioned above and enjoy fast speeds over the web. 

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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