6 Ways to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

6 Ways to Make Your Internet Connection Faster

It’s hard to remember how we were so patient with dial-up.

In this day and age, it is hard for most people to imagine what it would be like without Internet, and it takes a lot of patience to deal with a slow Internet connection. Having a below-average connection speed can affect download and upload time, streaming quality, cause buffering, and much more. If you are tired of taking an unnecessary amount of time out of your day in order to load what you want to surf, or you just want to preemptively avoid having slow connections, then here are some tips and tricks that will surely speed up your Internet connection!

 

1) Find the Best Wireless Channel

Just like with a walkie-talkie, numerous routers can share a channel, and most come defaulted on the same channel. This can end up crowding the channel and slowing down your connection, so be sure to find a channel that has the least number of routers on it. You can do so by using a web app like Wi-Fi Stumbler that will tell you what channels are in use within your computer’s range. You can change your router’s channel on your router’s administration page under the “Wireless” tab.

2) Change Your DNS Server

Computers choose a DNS (Domain Name Server) automatically, but can sometimes choose a bad one that results in slow processing of information. You can manually find a better DNS server, which in turn may significantly improve your Internet speed. Programs such as Google’s namebench allow you to find the best DNS server in range for your needs. Once you’ve found an acceptable server, go into your computer’s DNS settings (the setting panel for this may differ depending on your computer or operating system) and change the information from “default” to the information you have for the new DNS server.

3) Turn Your Router into a Repeater

Did you know that you can actually recycle and reuse your old routers in order to help extend the reach of your Wi-Fi signal? Sometimes our wireless routers don’t cover small areas of the home outside of its range, so this DIY trick could help! Some routers already have repeater functions built in, while others will need manual configuration; if yours is the type that is able to function as a repeater, it will say so on your router admin panel. Next, check DD-WRT, OpenWRT, or Tomato to see if your router is supported. For a list of step-by-step instructions on how to set up your old router as a repeater, visit this site. Since the router you are using to make the Wi-Fi repeater is likely older than your current wireless router, the speed of your Internet may not increase with this trick, but it will definitely allow you to use Wi-Fi in places it didn’t reach before.

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4) Limit Background Activity

Sometimes, programs will remain open or be running in the background of your computer, and this can cause a severe loss in speed and connectivity. When unnecessary programs are hogging the memory of your computer, it slows the whole system down. Check to make sure that there are no files being downloaded, scans running, or applications updating while you are using the Internet, and if there are and they are not important, end the processes — that alone could help improve your connection speed.

5) Find and Destroy Adware

Adware and Spyware are free programs that are nearly impossible to uninstall once they’ve been installed. Some are harmless and just an annoyance, while others are dangerous and could take a hit at your privacy. However, no matter how harmful, they almost always gobble up your bandwidth, which slows down your Internet connection. Depending on your computer type, there are programs made specifically for removing adware and spyware in order to clean up your computer and improve speed all around. The best way is just to avoid adware altogether by never downloading any additional files other than the ones you are specifically trying to download. Any extra files, programs, or “toolbars” are potential adware threats.

6) Free Up Space

Thanks to temporary Internet files, your computer can get clogged with unnecessary data. Alleviate this issue by deleting any temporary Internet files that have snuck their way onto your computer, and deleting your cache and cookies. There are many guides on the Internet for how to clear this data, but the process is fairly simple for both Windows and Mac users. Windows users can delete unwanted data files by going to the Control Panel, finding the Programs or the Add/Remove Programs panel, highlighting the unwanted files and clicking “Uninstall”. Macintosh users can skim through their Applications folder and drag and drop unwanted items into the Trash.

 

What’s your secret tip to boost your Wi-Fi speed? Tell us about it in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post on the Easynews blog!

How-to Set Up Easynews VPN on iOS

How-to Setup Easynews VPN on iOS

Since launching our VPN service in late April, Easynews has become even more privacy-minded than in years past. While your identity has always been protected through end-to-end SSL encryption when using our HTTPS Usenet browser, we want to keep your data secure beyond your binary downloads. The Easynews VPN has user-friendly software available for Apple and Windows PCs, but additional devices can access the VPN through manual configuration. In this blog post we will be configuring the VPN on iOS for OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP.

Click the appropriate setup guide to jump to that section:
Sign in to Easynews to view the VPN server list:

 

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HTTP vs. HTTPS – What’s the difference?

HTTP vs. HTTPS

It seems as though the stories involving Internet privacy and security are never-ending, and many nations are strengthening their power over the freedom of the Internet. But are popular websites doing anything about the drop in user views and activity from these censored countries? The answer is yes, and you may not have even realized it.

You probably recognize the commonly used acronym “HTTP” that appears in a browser’s address bar, but do you know what it even stands for? To fully understand the step towards better data management that websites like PayPal, Wikipedia and even Easynews are taking, you must first understand what HTTP is and what it does.

What is HTTP?

HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, and is an application layer protocol. In simpler terms, it is the protocol over which information is sent from a user’s web browser to the website they are visiting. The data that is being communicated between the browser and the website is sent over in plain text, meaning that if someone intercepted the connection between the two, they would easily be able to see the information you were both viewing and sending on the website. This is especially dangerous when users are filling out sensitive information, like a credit card number at checkout on Amazon, or entering location information on Facebook.

The Shift to HTTPS

While HTTPS is essentially the same concept as HTTP, the “S” harbors one big difference between the two: security. HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure, and instead of acting as its own application layer protocol, it uses separate protocols called SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security).

Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer browser interfaces display padlock icons

HTTP and even HTTPS are not concerned with how information gets from point A to point B; however, the secure sockets layer that HTTPS uses ensures that the information travels through a safe tunnel to its destination, without concerning itself with the actual data that it is sending. The SSL also encrypts the information that is being sent, which means that the true meaning of the data (credit card numbers, personal information, etc.) is very difficult to be cracked by anyone trying to see the information. Nowadays, the majority of web browsers support HTTPS for more secure Internet browsing. Browsers such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, and Firefox will display a padlock icon to identify a secure HTTPS connection to a website. Just like with web browsers, there are millions of websites that support HTTPS so that users can view and send information safely without a third party shoving its way into their business. So what does this mean for Easynews? Well, since we use SSL encryption in our HTTP Usenet browser, your text article and binary downloads are encrypted and secure.

Best of all, HTTPS benefits users with faster speeds and connections than HTTP. This is because websites supporting HTTPS have already been certified as secure and are merely tunneled to the user. On the other hand, the unencrypted HTTP is typically filtered, cached, or scanned, which means there is more data to send over the browser. Want to test the speeds for yourself? Visit HTTP vs. HTTPS to compare web page load times for these two different protocols and you can be the judge!

It goes without saying why HTTPS is deemed the preferred protocol when accessing websites, but just because a website uses such SSL encryption does not totally safeguard Internet users from phishing and other schemes. Unlike a VPN, SSL is an encryption protocol that is used in-browser, meaning that any other non-browser based Internet activity can still be intercepted and breached. Remember that a VPN is an encrypted tunnel and ALL of the data running through that connection is impenetrable to the outside world.
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Did you take the HTTP vs. HTTPS Speed Test? Share your results in the comments below!

Top Tips for a Digital Deep Cleaning

EN_DigitalDeepCleansing_blog-1

Spring cleaning tends to elicit images of washing windows, airing out linens (who has ‘linens’, anyway?), and shredding old paperwork after filing taxes. Boring but necessary, right? What you might not realize is how important it is to also perform a routine deep clean of the digital files stored on your computer, external hard drives, smartphones, and other devices. As with other types of spring cleaning, it’s a good idea to purge out ‘invisible clutter’ once in a while. Excess, outdated, and potentially security-threatening information overflowing the edges of your devices and online accounts isn’t something you’re visibly confronted with like a pile of old clothing, but this type of clutter can cost you much more in terms of device and account space, ease of retrieving current files, accurate personal information, and cyber security. Here’s how to perform a deep clean of your digital life (besides signing up for Easynews now).

 

1. Create Space by Decluttering, Deleting, Compressing, and Organizing

You probably don’t have to look far to find a folder, inbox, account, or device that is nearly at capacity. Have you received any nasty reminders from your email program threatening to withhold mail until you make space? Is your Dropbox constantly full? Are you getting dangerously close to the memory limit on your laptop or smartphone because you’re storing too many files? All these are signs you’re overdue for a good deep clean. If the thought of tackling masses of information overwhelms you, start by decluttering one category a week. Get yourself in spring cleaning mode by asking yourself these hard questions:

  • Did I use it in the last year?
  • Do I have duplicate copies?
  • Do I really need to keep this e-receipt from 2012?

You’ll also do yourself a favor by establishing new habits to create less digital clutter in the future, such as:

  • Unsubscribing to newsletters, retail sites, and tagging junk mail as spam
  • Restricting new downloads until you’ve sorted/used/viewed what you already have

Cleaning out digital files – including entire programs or applications you don’t need – will not only save you storage, but time looking for what you actually use on a regular basis. You’re less likely to accidentally delete something important if you’re regularly sorting and safely filing instead of mass-deleting out of desperation for space.

 

2. Back Up Important Files in More than One Location

This is pretty straight forward. We could all tell personal horror stories of losing photos, writing, projects, or other important documents because our computer or portable device crashed. This is why it’s vital to back up important files either on an Internet-based service (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.), external hard drives, memory cards, or USB storage devices. That being said, don’t store all your storage devices in one location, either!

 

3. Make Sure Your Digital Self is Your Real Self

Go ahead and Google yourself. You might be surprised at what you find! Checking your cyber reflection will reveal any outdated, inaccurate or embarrassing information that needs to be corrected. Both your professional and social life will thank you now and in the future. This could include updating your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, blog, and other social media profiles – basically, any memberships that reveal personal information.

 

4. Secure Your Identity and Finances 

Is your virus and malware protection software updated and active? If you have to stop and think about it, then probably not. The time we spend on the Internet, including browsing and downloading creates a window of vulnerability to increasingly intelligent and sneaky hackers. Follow these four steps to ensure your information stays safe:

  • Make sure your computer and smartphone’s security settings are high, and don’t let browsers remember your passwords. Sure, it’s convenient…convenient for the hacker who wants in to your bank account!
  • Secondly, don’t use the same username and password for all your accounts. It’s like handing over the combination to the jackpot of your personal information. Instead, use a password manager like LastPass to keep your credentials in check.
  • Remember to also logout of your accounts every time you use them, and don’t access them on public WiFi. It’s also a good idea to clear your browser history and cache from time to time.
  • When you upgrade devices, don’t just throw the old ones away. Even if you’ve wiped the data, there are still ways for hackers to get your information. Have a professional clear them, or have them shredded. The Better Business Bureau even hosts free semi-annual shredding services, called Secure Your ID days. Check to see when the next event occurs in your state.

 Have you successfully completed a Digital Deep Cleaning recently? Share your story with the rest of Easynews in the comment section below!

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