Why is Netflix So Slow? 7 Reasons and How to Troubleshoot Them

Netflix show

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After signing up for Netflix, I was excited to check out the new range of content and have some fun times. In a short while, I found it frustrating as Netflix would take hours to load. I wanted to find out what was the reason behind this, I did some research, and here’s what I discovered.

Why is Netflix so slow? Netflix could be delayed because of your internet speed. For example, there may be something using up the bandwidth, something that could interfere with the connection speeds. 

Although poor internet speeds could be the reason behind your slow Netflix connection, other factors like your network driver. DNS server and wireless interference could prevent you from enjoying your favorite shows. 

Reasons Why Netflix is Choppy or Slow

Tv shows in netflix

Why is Netflix so slow? Some of the reasons could be:

Slow Internet Speed

Security Problems

Outdated Audio and Video Drivers

Wrong Timing

Netflix Server Issues

Wrong Netflix Settings

Using the Wrong Browser

How to Fix Slow Netflix Problems

Why is Netflix so slow? Some of the reasons why Netflix could be slow are poor connection speeds, outdated drivers, old software, or using the wrong browser.

Below are some fixes that could help you resolve the problem of slow connection as a Netflix user. Note that you don’t have to try them all, you can choose one, and test out the others until you get one that works for you.

Check Your Connection

Connection Wires


For starters, you should check the connection settings if you continue to experience buffering on Netflix. For example, you should find out if your signal is secure, and that you’re working with the best speeds. Ensure that no other apps are taking up your bandwidth.

The minimum recommended speed is five megabits per seconds for constant download speeds on Netflix. You can use the internet speed test to check your download speeds. However, if your connection speed is excellent, you should try to reboot the video game console or computer. Alternatively, you could reset the home network. 

To reset your home network, you need to unplug the wireless router and the modem from power for a minute. Plug the network devices again, and wait for the indicator lights to go back to normal. You can try watching something on Netflix to find out if the issue is solved.

Sometimes you may be experiencing wireless interference. Try moving the router to a new location. For example, you could move it to the center if it’s at the corner to get a better signal. Check to see that the router is away from devices like microwave ovens or cordless phones.

You may need to disable your VPN if you’ve been using it to watch videos on Netflix. Sometimes a VPN could slow down your connection speed to Netflix, resulting in a lagging issue. Disable the VPN, and reload Netflix to see if the problem goes away. 

Netflix could also be slow if you’re using applications like iCloud, Dropbox, and OneDrive on your PC to upload and download files. The bandwidth hogging apps could be slowing down your Netflix. You can resolve this issue by pressing the ctrl, shift, and esc buttons to open the task manager. 

End these tasks on the Task Manager to close these apps. If the issue persists, you may need to change the DNS server in the PC. 

The Domain Name System is what translates the domain names to an IP address, something that allows the browser to load internet resources. Google Public DNS gives you increased security and a speed boost. Change the DNS server in the PC to the Google one to resolve the Netflix slow issue.

You can do this by pressing the Windows logo and R on your PC to open the RUN dialog. Type control and click on enter to go to the Control Panel. Make sure that you’re in the category view, and select view network status and tasks. 

Click Change adapter settings in the pop-up window. Right-click the current network, and choose properties at the end. View the properties by double-clicking on the Internet Protocol Version 4. Click on obtain an IP address automatically.

Enter 8.8.8.8. as the Google Public DNS address for the other DNS server. Enter 8.8.4.4 and click on ok to save these changes.  Reboot your PC, and try watching a show on Netflix.

Update the Drivers

You need to update your Windows’ drivers to resolve the slow connection speeds. However, if you’re not tech savvy, you may not know what drivers to install. Remember you don’t want to risk downloading the wrong drivers. 

Specific software allows you to update your network drivers automatically. Alternatively, you can update the drivers manually. All you need is to go to the manufacturer’s site and look for the latest drivers for your network tool. Make sure that you select the driver that is compatible with your Windows version and device model.

Clear the Internet Files

Your PC can over time get temporary internet files, which can interfere with video streaming. Clear these files on the browser. You can do this on a Mac by opening Safari, choosing preferences, privacy, and removing website data.

If you’re using Chrome, choose settings, and scroll to advanced settings. Click on clear browsing data to clear internet files.

Check the Settings of Your Netflix

Netflix adjusts its settings depending on the type of connection you have. If you have an active and fast connection, you can enjoy 4K or ultra HD quality movies. A slow connection will get you blurred images. 

One thing you may not know is that Netflix has a secret menu that enables you to adjust the quality of your video stream. Forget about the account setting that has auto, low, medium, or high settings. Netflix has some hidden menus that allow you to diagnose any potential issues. 

For example, to get to the control panel of your video, select ctrl, alt, shift, and S at once. The menu allows you to adjust the content delivery network and the bitrate. If you choose two bitrates, the video will stream between bitrate and the CDN. Although the highest bitrate enables you to flow quickly, you may need to switch to a lower bitrate if you’re watching a TV show while downloading a file. 

Pressing ctrl, alt, shift, and D gives you statistics about the video you’re watching. You can view the buffering speed, framerate, bitrate, and other stats. You can see the CDN your video is streaming from, not to forget to open the page in the background. Making these changes allow you to see the video’s quality change in real time. 

You can also get a lot of information by pressing ctrl, alt, shift, and L when watching your video. Through this page, you can see if you’ve paused the video, added a subtitle, or changed the volume. The menu will come in handy if you’re looking for help on how to troubleshoot common Netflix issues from a customer service rep. 

What’s more, you can adjust audio-video synchronization by pressing alt, shift, left, and click. Nevertheless, this option doesn’t work for OS X users,

Forego Quality for Speed

Although watching a low-def., a fuzzy video may not be your cup of tea; you can opt to adjust the video’s quality to load your content quickly. For example, if you’re using Ultra HD, you can switch to HD on Netflix playback menu. 

You can go to the menu by logging into your Netflix account. Choose the account icon in the right corner, and click on account from the down menu. Go to My Profile, and select playback settings.

The screen has a different quality option that ranges from the auto, low, medium, and high depending on your internet connection. You’ll notice that Netflix has Auto by default. The option gives you the best video quality for your current speeds. Fortunately, you can switch to your desired setting if you’d rather sacrifice quality for speed. 

You can access full control over Netflix video quality settings through the bitrate window. All you need is to press the ctrl, shift, option, and S to open this window. The menu has three columns, but you should go to the video bitrate column to adjust the quality of your video,

Experiment with various settings and see what impact you get on the video. Note that this may take time to change between quality and speed. You can also restore the default settings, by using the above shortcut and clicking on Reset.

Clear the Data and Cache on Your Browser

Ensure that you clear the data and cache of the Netflix app as the Netflix data may be corrupted. Sign out of Netflix if you’re using the app, and sign back in to find out if the issue is resolved. 

Upgrade Your Wi-Fi

Wifi Router

You may want to get some items to boost your network connection speeds if you’re experienced inconsistent or slow network frequently. For example, a powerline adapter which goes into a socket uses the power wires to improve your connection. 

Look for an adapter optimized for audio and video. You can further boost your speeds by placing the adapter near your streaming device. Also, a new router may come in handy to strengthen your network. 

Wi-Fi extenders also work as they pull in a wireless signal and connect to close devices through Ethernet for that extra boost. Powerline adapters have no latency in the connection, which gives them an edge over the extenders. Note that range or signal limitation could affect extenders.

Changed to a Wired Connection

Wifi Router wires


Although Wi-Fi is still an excellent source, it could be slower than connecting it through the Ethernet cable. Connecting your device to the internet gets you the extra speed to watch your favorite shows without buffering.

Use a VPN 

VPN

While using a VPN may interfere with your connection speed, you could try using it when streaming Netflix. The content provider has thousands of servers across the globe. Some servers are overworked, which may slow down your viewing experience. 

Using a VPN allows you to select an alternative server that is less crowded to experience a smooth streaming session. Nonetheless, you need to remember that the server location can have the opposite effect on your streaming experience. Go back to Netflix and see if the problem is resolved. However, if it’s slower than before, close the VPN, and reconnect.

Run a Security Scan on Your PC

Man running a security in his laptop

Suspicious malware could be the reason for persistent buffering on Netflix. You need to run a full system scan via your antivirus application. While this may help resolve the issue, it may not be as effective if your system has been hacked and is beyond the antivirus defenses.

Alternatively, you can run an on-demand scan using Malwarebytes Anti-Malware for Mac and Windows or use Microsoft Safety Scanner for Windows.

Final Thoughts

Why is Netflix so slow? The above reasons could be behind your buffering problems. Although the company has some deals with major internet providers to offer a direct connection to customers, you may need to figure out what could be behind your slow connection speeds. 


Using the above tips can help you make things better. If the problem persists, you may need to contact the Netflix customer service team.

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