How to Bypass Comcast Throttling | CyberGhost VPN

If you’re an Xfinity Internet customer and have noticed constant buffering when you’re streaming or lag when you’re gaming, it could be because Comcast is throttling your connection. 

While it can be fairly difficult to establish whether or not Comcast is throttling Netflix, for example, you can perform some tests to more or less confirm it and find your way around it. In this article, we’ll show you how to tell if Comcast is throttling your connection, why it does it, and what you can and can’t do about it.

How to Tell If Comcast Is Throttling You

mage of a couple watching TV with the man holding the remote and the woman holding a bowl of popcorn.
ISP throttling could ruin your date night.

Comcast might be throttling your connection if your internet speed constantly slows down during certain times of the day or when you’re accessing a specific app or website. This isn’t 100% conclusive, though, since other factors could affect your connection speed, which we’ll discuss later in this post. For now, follow these steps to troubleshoot your connection and check if you’re experiencing Xfinity throttling:

1. Ensure the app or website you’re accessing is online. Sometimes, issues with the website or app will cause it to load slowly. Down Detector or a similar service can help you confirm this. 

2. Restart your router and modem. Most of the time, a simple restart may be enough to solve your internet speed problems as it clears the device’s short-term memory. Check your internet speed again and see if there’s any improvement. Otherwise, go to the next step.

3. Change your DNS server. A Domain Name System (DNS) translates website addresses in text form (e.g., into IP addresses that computers can understand. In some cases, your ISP’s DNS server does this translation process slowly and inefficiently. While it doesn’t affect your overall internet speed, it can make some websites load at a snail’s pace. Switching to a different DNS server (e.g., Google, Cloudflare) may help solve this. If you see any improvement in how quickly pages and videos load after changing your DNS, then you can rule out ISP throttling.

4. Check your connection speed. You can use a free service like Speedtest to do this. Perform the test several times over a week to get a baseline of your average speed. Take note, speed testing isn’t an indicator for content-based throttling because it uses a different port from your streaming or gaming activity.

5. Connect only one device and check again. This lets you rule out possible network overcrowding or interference caused by having multiple devices connected at the same time. Connect it to the router with an Ethernet cable, if possible. Otherwise, position the device within a few feet of the router and away from obstructions like walls. Doing so will ensure you get the best possible connection.

6. Try a different device. Restart your device to see if the issue persists. If it does, connect a different device. Don’t see any improvement? Try the following step.

7. Check your ISP’s status. Contact your ISP to determine if there’s an issue with the connection in your area. If not, proceed to the next step.

8. Connect with a VPN. If you turn on the VPN and your streaming experience improves or there’s less latency when you’re gaming, then it’s a surefire sign your ISP is applying content-based throttling. Just remember that a VPN won’t improve your actual speed. If you’re getting poor results with your speed test, using a VPN isn’t going to change that. 

Still no luck? An app called Wehe can help you check whether or not Xfinity is throttling your connection to apps like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and more. You can download Wehe from its website, the Apple App Store, or the Google Play Store. Simply choose which apps you’d like to test and wait for the results. If Wehe displays Differentiation detected after a test, your ISP might be throttling your connection to that app.

Reminder: Researchers at Northeastern University, University of Massachusetts Amherst, and Stony Brook University run the Wehe project. Wehe may collect some data, including your device’s operating system and your general location, so read the project’s consent form before installing the app.

How Can I Prevent Comcast Throttling?

Picture of network icons
Here’s the good news: you’ve got options to get around ISP throttling.

The right solution will depend on the type of throttling you’re experiencing. Try the following and see which one works for you:

1. Disconnect some devices. Xfinity’s Acceptable Use Policy says it will perform “network management” on customers who take up too much bandwidth. While the policy is vague about what “network management” means, we can safely assume Xfinity is throttling its customers when it detects network congestion. 

If you live in a household that streams in UHD on different devices at the same time, it’s safe to bet Xfinity will throttle your connection at some point. Temporarily disconnect some of your devices and power cycle your modem and router, then check if your internet speed improves.

2. Connect during off-peak hours. Xfinity’s network may experience congestion during certain times of the day. This usually happens between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on weekdays as most people end their workday and go online to stream, check their social media accounts, or play a game. There’s no way to prevent this type of throttling, unfortunately. 

You can either upgrade to a plan with a faster internet speed or wait until off-peak hours before you go online. 

3. Change your router’s QoS settings. This refers to Quality of Service settings, which allows you to prioritize certain types of traffic (e.g., streaming) over others. If you’re using an Xfinity router, the company might have configured it to put bandwidth-heavy applications at a lower priority, which could explain slowdowns when you’re gaming or streaming. You could contact Xfinity to change it or buy a different router that lets you edit the QoS settings.

4. Use a VPN. This can help with content-based throttling, where your ISP slows down your connection when you access a specific website or app. If it can’t detect what you’re doing, it won’t automatically limit your bandwidth when you connect to specific websites and online services.

You can use CyberGhost VPN to encrypt your traffic, which blocks Comcast from seeing your online activity. We have apps for most major devices and streaming-optimized servers for most major platforms. We also regularly maintain our global server network and we’re upgrading to 10-Gbps servers, starting in popular locations. 

Why Does Xfinity Throttle Your Internet?

Comcast says it doesn’t practice throttling. Rather, it applies what it calls “reasonable network management” to prevent the following:

1. Spreading spam and viruses – This can happen if Comcast thinks your connection is spreading spam to a lot of people (e.g. when you’re trying to email a lot of people at the same time). A virus that triggers spam messages can also raise a red flag.

2. Security attacks – If your device is infected by malware and becomes a part of a botnet, a cybercriminal could use your device to launch a DDoS attack.

3. Network congestion – If Comcast detects that you’re using up too much bandwidth (e.g. when you’re downloading large files), then it could throttle your connection. While it doesn’t mention this practice, Comcast could also use content-based throttling to slow down your connection when you try to connect to specific websites or services.

Among the three, network congestion is the most likely reason why Xfinity will throttle your connection. Remember, though, that Xfinity’s parent company Comcast also has a history of throttling to stifle competition or try to milk more money out of its customers. Since the FCC repealed net neutrality in 2018 (with Comcast’s support) under the guise of “restored internet freedom,” content-based throttling is no longer illegal.

What Is Internet Throttling?

This is when your ISP deliberately limits your internet speed. We can divide throttling into two types: content- and speed-based. 

Content-based throttling is when your ISP slows down your connection to a particular app or website. For example, you’re likely experiencing content-based throttling if videos on Netflix constantly buffer but not on other websites and services and you see no issues with your speed test results.

On the other hand, speed-based throttling happens when your ISP limits your network’s bandwidth during peak hours or when you take up too much bandwidth. ISPs argue that this helps ensure all their customers will have an equally good internet experience. Without this, only a few will get fast connection speeds and everyone else will have to deal with videos and web pages that take forever to load.

It shouldn’t be this way, though.

Is Internet Throttling Necessary?

Speed-based throttling is a poor excuse for ISPs to save money. What throttling does is penalize customers for using the bandwidth they pay for. If ISPs are keen on getting as many customers as possible, shouldn’t they support it with an infrastructure that can provide the bandwidth they agreed to deliver?

Content-based throttling goes against the principle of net neutrality, which says ISPs shouldn’t discriminate between various types of traffic that pass through their networks. This practice is especially lousy if an ISP owns any online services that will benefit from this type of discrimination (e.g., Comcast owns Peacock). Other streaming services could be at a disadvantage if Comcast decides to prioritize Peacock’s traffic. It’s not a far-fetched idea since Comcast previously tried to charge Netflix’s backend provider to continue streaming shows over Comcast’s network.

What’s more, is that Comcast has a long history of practices that go against net neutrality. Back in 2007, for example, it was caught blocking the traffic of its customers who were using BitTorrent. It initially denied this before coming clean eventually. 

Bandwidth throttling was made illegal in the US with the Open Internet Order but was eventually repealed. Throttling remains illegal in the EU except for “compliance with legal obligations, integrity of the network, congestion management in exceptional and temporary situations.”

This brings us to another entity that often benefits from throttling: governments. They can and have used this tool to prevent the spread of information during times of political unrest, even elections. The good news, though, is that since governments typically throttle or block traffic to specific websites and social media platforms, a VPN can help citizens get around this type of content-based throttling and web filtering. 

Why Does Comcast Throttle My Internet?

Picture of a frustrated woman in front of her laptop
Comcast says it practices “network management,” not throttling.

It doesn’t, at least according to Xfinity Internet’s broadband disclosures. Instead, it practices “network management.” The company says it does this “to deliver the best possible broadband internet experience to all of its customers.” Comcast’s network management measures include “lowering the priority” of those who take up too much bandwidth — which sounds a lot like throttling — and blocking threats like spam and malware. 

Xfinity’s policy also makes vague references to the “tools and techniques” it uses to improve everyone’s broadband experience. According to the policy, this helps customers avoid “network congestion and other risks and degradations of service.” Because of how it’s worded, the clause can give the company a way to throttle customers’ bandwidth or connections to any online services it chooses without informing them.

How Does CyberGhost VPN Help You Bypass Xfinity Throttling?

CyberGhost VPN’s 256-bit AES encryption is a privacy measure but, aside from ensuring no one can snoop on your online traffic, it has the added benefit of helping you get around content-based throttling. Our encryption prevents Xfinity from seeing which websites and online services you’re trying to access (e.g., Netflix). You can then avoid Xfinity’s Netflix throttling measures if it decides to implement them as long as you’re connected to a CyberGhost VPN server. 

Other Than Throttling, What Else Can Cause Slow Internet?

While all ISPs throttle bandwidth to different degrees (despite what Comcast says), having a slow internet connection doesn’t necessarily mean your ISP is throttling your bandwidth. Other reasons include:

1. Issues with your ISP. Sometimes, Xfinity experiences network problems or scheduled downtimes, which may slow down your internet connection. To check if your area is affected, visit the ISP’s outage map. You may also contact Xfinity and ask when you can expect its service to return to normal.

2. Issues with the app or website you’re accessing. This usually happens when a platform experiences a network outage. An example would be the Facebook outage in 2021 where the platform and its other properties like Messenger and Instagram went offline worldwide for several hours. The only solution here is to wait until the app or website goes back online.

3. Device issues. Older routers and modems typically can’t deliver your expected internet speed if you’re on a higher-speed plan. Routers and modems, like any other device, can also develop hardware issues or break. Buy a new one from a third-party seller or lease one from Comcast to help fix the issue.

This also applies to your older phones and computers. Some likely don’t have the processing power to load complex web pages or videos in HD or higher, while others may have components (e.g., an old network adapter) that can’t support your network’s maximum internet speed anymore. Unfortunately, your only solution in this case is to upgrade your device or component.

Get the Most Out of Your Xfinity Plan with CyberGhost VPN

While Comcast is careful to avoid calling its practice of slowing down its customers’ connections throttling, the reality is it happens, particularly to prevent network congestion. Content-based throttling is a little more difficult to detect, but using a VPN is the easiest way to get around it.

You can try CyberGhost VPN and avoid content-based throttling on Xfinity. Just turn on the VPN — it will automatically connect you to the nearest server and you’re good to go. You’ll be able to get the most out of your internet plan and access your favorite websites and streaming services without limits. We support all major devices and have streaming-optimized servers for popular platforms, including Netflix.


How to bypass Xfinity Mobile throttling?

A VPN can help you bypass content-based throttling. This will encrypt your traffic so Xfinity Mobile can’t detect your online activity and automatically slow down your connection. You can use CyberGhost VPN to get around your ISP’s content-based throttling.
Unfortunately, a VPN won’t work with speed-based throttling. Your only resort would be to wait it out or upgrade to a faster plan.

How can you tell if your cable company is throttling you?

Test your connection to a service like Netflix with and without CyberGhost VPN. If you consistently get better speeds with the VPN, then it would suggest that your ISP (which may also be your cable company in Comcast’s case) is throttling your connection.
A tool called Wehe can also help you check if Comcast is throttling services like Netflix. It collects some data from your device, though, so it’s best avoided if you prefer not to share information like your phone’s operating system and your general location.

Does Comcast throttle VPNs?

Some customers have reported experiencing Comcast throttling with a VPN. While it’s unlikely that Comcast is throttling their connections because of a VPN, it can still throttle their bandwidth during peak hours between 7 P.M. and 11 P.M. on weekdays.
In general, a VPN can help improve your internet speed if you’re experiencing content-based throttling. This is when your ISP slows down your connection if you’re accessing a particular app or website. CyberGhost’s military-grade encryption can help mask your online activity, which blocks your ISP from seeing what you’re doing online so it won’t throttle your connection.

Am I being throttled right now?

It’s possible your ISP is throttling you if your connection speed decreases significantly during peak hours or if you only experience slow internet speeds on certain apps or websites. The quickest way to check is to compare your connection speed with and without a VPN. You’ll typically notice an improvement in your connection with a VPN if your ISP practices content-based throttling.

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