You’ve spent the money on a brand new computer, or have upgraded your old one. You’ve got the internet router with all of the bells and whistles, and even paid extra for the faster internet service from your utilities provider. Then you try to download a movie you purchased and you can feel your hair graying while you wait for it to finish. What could possibly be causing that slow download speed? The average broadband internet connections that most people enjoy these days should be able to download data at a rate of several megabits each second. For most tasks that should lead to downloading that happens almost instantly. Any slowdowns whatsoever, especially when you’re paying top dollar for your internet can be beyond frustrating. Luckily there is usually something that can be done about it. Here are the top five causes of slow computer download speeds.

One of the most prevalent reasons why your internet speed could be slowing down is the presence of malicious software inside your system. Any virus, malware or spyware eats up system resources, slowing the whole computer’s processing speed way down. And depending on the type of software it may actually upload data reporting your activity to the internet, further clogging your connection. Make sure you install an updated version of the best antivirus software you can buy and run a full scan. If any malicious software exists the scan will uncover it and help you remove it from your system.

Another issue that frequently arises is degradation of your actual internet service. This occurs when your service provider has issues with bandwith stretched too thin. Whatever ISP you work with has a specific amount of bandwith spread across all of their users. If they are experiencing a huge spike in traffic, due to a large percentage of their users downloading at the same time or watching some sort of live streaming video the congestion could slow down service for everyone. Even if usage is normal an ISP can have technical issues in one area of their network that force them to move users in that area to another section of the network. In either case, there’s nothing you can do about it until the ISP handles the issue. You can try calling customer service, but your best bet is to wait a bit and try again later.

Issues with your wireless connection could also slow your download speed. Whether you are at home running off a wireless router or sitting in a coffee shop using their WiFi, you are only receiving the maximum speed that router can provide. Changes in signal strength will lower that max speed and impair your experience. Take a look at the signal meter on your desktop to discover if that is an issue. If you are at home, either move closer to the wireless router or try resetting it to see if you can establish a clearer connection. If you are elsewhere you’ll probably just have to deal with what you have.

One easy problem to fix is if you are trying to do too much at the same time. Most internet connections download and upload at a different rate. You’ll often find ISPs provide a much faster download rate than upload rate. So if you are trying to do both things at once, you’ll slow the download rate to near the upload rate. Let any uploads finish before you continue.

Finally, check your computer to see if you have too many programs in action at the same time. Your computer has a limited amount of RAM, and the more programs you run at once the slower the processing speed. If you have any sort of program running in the background such as a security update, virus scan, or large number of standard programs, try stopping them before downloading. You may have a cutting edge program you pulled off of, but it won’t be able to access enough memory to run efficiently with all of those other things going on. Simplify, and it should run much faster.