Imagine watching a movie online and all of a sudden, right in the middle of the climax scene, the video starts buffering. Sound a little too familiar? Yes, we’ve all had to deal with sluggish internet speeds in our life.
“Buffering,” in simple words refers to the phenomenon when a video or audio clip pauses mid way. The system put that particular task on hold until there’s enough data downloaded that allows the video stream or music to continue playing without a lag.
Of course, some amount of buffering is acceptable and bearable as well. However, if the buffering continues throughout the video stream, it can be the most frustrating thing you’ve ever experience before.
You usually experience lags at the start of a video, but it can also happen when streaming music, opening web pages, or even while using apps on a mobile phone. And it’s extremely time-consuming.
Before you go ahead and berate the internet service providers for providing you with a poor service, there a few hacks and tweaks that you can do at your end to ensure a smooth streaming for your movies and videos.
Here are 5 hacks that you can give a try to get rid of buffering:
Close Other Programs and Applications
If your computer or laptop is running too many programs or performing tons of other tasks at the same time, it may not have the space to stream your video flawlessly. Even if there are other applications running in the background, minimized or simply doing nothing, they’re still consuming system resources.
For instance, an application may continuously ping your internet to download data or updates in the background without you even noticing it. You’re most likely to encounter such a situation with browsers where multiple tabs are open. Just FYI, video games also tend to drain your system resources, but a little too quietly.
So, if you’re facing buffering issues, see if you can resolve them by closing unneeded software. But, be mindful as this can turn out to be tricky if you’re not exactly aware of which apps are running in the background while they’re not even open.
As frustrating as it is, as soon as your computer reboots, all the programs that you’ve shut, start right back up. Perhaps what you can do is use a cleanup app that shuts down all kinds of hidden resources that are draining your system.
You can put such apps on Sleep Mode and turn them back on when you need them. This way, your PC resources are only dedicated to apps that you want to use. It ensures that your computer runs optimally.
Reduce Video Quality
This is something that you may not go for, but trust us, at least this way you might just be able to watch a movie in one sitting. The larger the video file, the longer you can expect to wait for it to transmit to your computer or smartphone.
This is why, if you were to reduce the file size, you won’t have to wait as long. Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming sites give you the option of watching a video at a lower resolution.
It is actually a good idea to lower down the video quality if you’re watching it on a smaller screen, like your phone since it’s not that easy to tell the difference between a 720p and 1080p HD video up close.
Clean Your Browser Settings
Hold your horses, don’t just go blaming your internet connection for the buffering! In fact, the problem might just be with your computer, and web browser. Browsers tend to retain cookies and local cache for all the sites you visit. So, when you visit a site again, it loads content instead of downloading it again. So what’s the problem? It overloads your browser with both temporary and cached data and ruins your browsing experience.
So, a simple and quick fix to get rid of video buffering problems is to just clean your browser. This includes wiping browser history and clearing all saved cookies. A clean browser acts faster and makes your experience seamless.
Try an Ethernet Connection
Considering the evolution of Wi-Fi technology, we can agree that it’s extremely convenient to use Wi-Fi, no matter where you are. However, if you are more concerned about your internet speeds, then there is no match with wire connections.
If you have subscribed to a high internet package, but you’re still experiencing buffering, you might want to consider getting a networking cable. An Ethernet cable will offer you a reliable experience.
Test Your VPN
A lot of us use VPNs today. VPN do protect your data, but they slow down your internet speeds. Each data pack has to encrypted and further decrypted at remote servers. You might notice this whenever your video buffers, but in general VPN affects all activities.
If you’re using a VPN, make sure to test it first and update your setting. VPNs that are rather outdated, utilize a single-socket connection, which usually jams up and causes heavy performance losses. Hence, take your time to evaluate a VPN’s performance and check if it isn’t slowing your system down.
If nothing works, then as a last resort you need to consider changing your ISP. High-speed internet service providers such as Windstream Kinetic ensure that you can stream online HD videos without ever encountering buffering problems. Do your homework and choose the one that best suits your needs!