Why is My Internet So Slow on My PC but Not My Phone?

Published by Nyau Wai Hoe - Updated on

If you’ve ever scratched your head wondering why your computer’s internet is crawling while your phone zips along happily on the same Wi-Fi, it can be really confusing. Both gadgets are using the same internet, so what gives? We’re here to walk you through the many reasons why this might be happening and how you can get your computer’s internet to catch up. We’ll look at everything from old computer parts to sneaky software eating up your bandwidth.

Also see: Change Ethernet from 100Mbps to 1Gbps in Windows 11/10

Why is My Internet So Slow on My PC but Not My Phone

Check for Hardware Limitations

First up, let’s talk about the tech inside your computer and phone. If your computer’s been around the block a few times, it might not have the guts to handle speedy internet, unlike newer phones that are built for it.

Network Card

Your computer’s network card could be old or not working right, which means it can’t keep up with the latest and greatest Wi-Fi. It’s an easy thing to miss but can really slow you down.

Solution: You might need to update your network card’s drivers, or if your computer is really old, getting a new network card that can handle the newest Wi-Fi tech might be the way to go.

Network Card to fix slow internet on PC but not phone

Ethernet Cables

If you’re plugged in with an Ethernet cable, the type of cable you’re using can also affect your speed.

Check Ethernet LAN cable Windows 11
Solution: Use at least a Cat 5e Ethernet cable for the best performance. If you’re still having trouble, a new cable might do the trick.

Linked issue: Ethernet Internet Speed Capped at 100 Mbps (Fix)

Software Conflicts and Background Activity

Software on your computer can also slow down your internet. Computers can run lots of different software that might use the internet without you even knowing it.

Background Applications

Apps running quietly in the background could be hogging your internet. This includes updates, cloud services, or even unwanted malware.

Solution: Check out the task manager on your computer to see what’s using your network. Look for the “Network” column to see who’s using the internet the most and close any apps you don’t need right now.

Check which app uses network heavily
Pro tip: How to Know Which App is Using The Internet in Windows 11

Browser Extensions and Add-ons

Some browser extensions can slow down your internet by loading extra stuff on web pages or running things in the background.

Solution: Try turning off extensions to see if your internet speeds up. You can usually find these settings in your browser’s “Extensions” or “Add-ons” area.

Disable Chrome Extensions

Wi-Fi Interference and Placement

How close you are to your Wi-Fi router and where it’s placed can also affect your speed.

Distance and Obstacles

Wi-Fi signals can get weaker with distance and can be blocked by walls. Your phone might just be getting a better signal because it’s usually closer to the router.

Phone won't detect WiFi Network
Solution: Try moving your computer closer to the router or move things out of the way. A Wi-Fi extender can also help spread your signal further.

Related resource: Router to Modem/PC Auto-Negotiation at 100Mbps (not 1Gbps)

Interference from Other Devices

Other gadgets like microwaves or cordless phones can mess with your Wi-Fi signal. Phones might not feel it as much because they’re usually better at dealing with this stuff.

Solution: See if any devices could be causing trouble and move them away from your Wi-Fi router and computer, or turn them off when you’re not using them.

WiFi Interference causing slow internet on PC but not phone

Network Configuration and Settings

Settings on your PC that aren’t quite right can also slow down your internet, different from how your phone is set up.

DNS Settings

Your computer might be using a DNS server that’s slower than what your phone uses, which can make browsing slow.

Solution: Change your DNS to a faster one like Google’s or Cloudflare’s. You can find this option in your network settings on your computer.

Learn more: DNS Servers to Unblock Websites and Possibly Everything

Change to Google DNS Windows 11

Incorrectly Set MTU

The MTU size, which is how big each piece of data is when sent over the network, can also affect speed. If it’s not set right, it can slow things down.

Solution: Play around with your MTU settings to find the sweet spot. The right setting can vary, but many people use 1500 bytes.

Router MTU Settings

Operating System and Driver Updates

Old or wrong drivers and operating systems can make your computer’s internet slow, unlike your phone which updates itself.

Outdated Operating System

An old operating system might not work well with new internet tech, making things slow.

Solution: Keep your operating system up to date. Check for updates in your computer’s settings.

Check for Windows Update

Outdated or Incompatible Drivers

Old network drivers can also cause slow internet or connection problems.

Update Ethernet Network Driver Windows 11

Solution: Update your network adapter’s drivers. You can find the latest ones on the manufacturer’s website or through your computer’s device manager.

Suggested read: How to Update Realtek Drivers in Windows 11

Summing up and some thoughts

The reason your computer’s internet might be slower than your phone’s could be due to lots of different factors, from old hardware to software hogs, and even how your network is set up. By checking each possibility, you can figure out why and fix it. Keeping everything up to date, considering where your devices are in relation to your router, and checking for sneaky software are all smart moves to get your internet speed where you want it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my internet slow only on my desktop?

If your desktop alone is slow, it could be because of an old network card, a bad Ethernet cable, or an outdated operating system. Go through the checks we talked about to find out.

Is it possible that my router is prioritizing my phone over my computer?

Some routers can prefer one device over another. Check your router’s settings to see if this is happening and adjust if needed.

Can a VPN slow down my computer’s internet speed?

Yes, a VPN can slow things down because it has to encrypt and reroute your internet. If it’s really slow, try turning off the VPN or switching to a faster one.

Why is my laptop slow but my phone is fast when using public Wi-Fi?

Public Wi-Fi can be slow for laptops because they might have more things running in the background than phones do. Try closing some apps to speed things up.

Nyau Wai Hoe
Nyau Wai Hoe is the Founder and Chief Editor of WindowsDigitals.com. With a degree in software engineering and over 12 years of experience in the tech support industry, Nyau has established himself as an expert in the field, with a primary focus on the Microsoft Windows operating system. As a tech enthusiast, he loves exploring new technologies and leveraging them to solve real-life problems.

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