Sick of Netflix Interruptions? We Look at The Easiest Ways to Speed Up Streaming
Have you been enduring horrendous buffering times? Speed up your Netflix stream today.
In a little over a year, Netflix Australia has dominated the streaming market in this country. The combination of a fresh range of content and low membership costs saw people sign up by the figurative truckload.
But sadly, some users fell victim to the scourge of Australia’s poor Internet speeds, and Netflix streaming became more of a laborious task than passive recreation. There’s nothing more frustrating than Netflix buffering right when Frank Underwood is about to drop the bomb in House of Cards, so we decided that enough was enough and looked at all the ways that you can potentially speed up your Netflix stream.
General WiFi Troubleshooting
First of all, you’re going to want to assess the quality of your WiFi environment. Netflix Australia has recommendations on the minimum speed required for different packages, they are as follows:
- Standard Definition (Low Quality): 1.5Mbps
- Standard Definition (Medium Quality): 3Mbps
- High Definition (High Quality): 5Mbps
- Ultra HD Quality (4K): 25Mbps
There are a number of websites that measure your internet speed, we recommend speedtest.net for a fast and simple overview of your download and upload speeds (there’s even mobile apps for just about any smart device). If you’re download speeds don’t accommodate the requirements above, it might be a good idea to lower your plan, or if you still require more than one screen, you can simply change the video quality in your Netflix account settings.
Connection and performance quality can be influenced by many factors. If your connection is somewhat lacking, it might be a good idea to check with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for any known network interruptions. If everything is fine on your ISP’s end you can also try restarting your modem – this is good practice for a home WiFi connection and can often be a simple solution to your connection problems.
Lastly, if at all possible, it’s ideal to have the device you're streaming from hardwired to your WiFi router. This involves connecting the device to the router via an ethernet cable (pictured), which are usually packaged with your WiFi modem, but can be purchased from any electronics store if needed.Back to top
If you’re on a public WiFi (e.g. cafe, library or other public place) then there’s a fair chance there a lot of people on that same network all trying to get their slice of that sweet, sweet bandwidth. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do in a situation like this as most public WiFis have a bandwidth cap, which will slow the connection speed down if it becomes too crowded. Best save Netflix for home.
But, say you run into the same problem in your own home, that’s when you have the power to do something about it – this especially relevant if you’ve got multiple people downloading under the same roof. Where possible, pause downloads on all other devices under the same WiFi connection as your Netflix streaming device. If you’re watching Netflix on your Smart TV, close your laptop, put your PS4 into rest mode, anything that will free up bandwidth for your Netflix stream. If you’re already experiencing connection delays, this should show some improvements to speed almost immediately.Back to top
Most consoles, like PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One, will benefit greatly when connected to directly to your modem (as mentioned above), neither the Nintendo Wii or Wii U feature an ethernet socket. If you’re experience lag on your Wii or Wii U (like many others), Nintendo would have you purchase their proprietary Wii U LAN adapter to solve this issue, but there are other ways of speeding up the Netflix stream on your Wii U.
Many users have found that this method has remedied their Netflix streaming issues for the Wii U. It involves clearing your saved Netflix data, and changing your DNS settings. Let’s break down that process, step-by-step.
- Navigate to the Wii U Menu
- Select System Settings
- Then, Data Management
- Select Move/Delete Data
- Then, System Memory
- Select Netflix
- Open Shared Save Data
- Select Delete
If you’ve attempted connecting your Xbox with an ethernet cable and haven't noticed an improvement in your stream, try these easy steps.
How do I check the status of my Xbox Live?
This can be done straight from your browser through the official Xbox website. Like any online service, Xbox Live can experience interruptions and network issues with core services and particular applications. If Xbox Live is experiencing issues with Netflix (as pictured below), then try accessing Netflix from another device (if available).
How do I delete corrupted data from my Xbox?
Corrupted data can be a real thorn in your side. It can have detrimental effects across every aspect of the Xbox user experience. Here’s how to clear corrupted data from your Xbox console.
- Hit the ‘Guide’ button on your Xbox controller (The big, flashing X button on your Xbox controller)
- Select ‘Settings’
- Then, ‘System Settings’
- Select ‘Storage’
- Proceed to select your storage device. Either ‘Hard Drive’ or ‘Memory Unit’
- Select ‘Games and Apps’ folder
- Browse through each folder for corrupted data (identified with a yellow exclamation)
- Select each corrupted data file and press ‘Delete’
Before we get too complicated, let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way. First port of call when troubleshooting just about every computer issue is rebooting your computer. It may seem like an obvious solution, but it’s one that is often forgotten and often gets results.
If that doesn’t do the trick, try connecting your computer directly to your router with an ethernet cable (as discussed above), and restart your computer once more.
Updating Microsoft Silverlight
Netflix uses either HTML5 or Microsoft Silverlight (which is similar to Adobe Flash) to play back video in a browser. Silverlight is an application framework for running (and writing) rich internet applications. Though it has other functions, in this context, it supports the streaming on Netflix media. If plug-in’s software is not up to date, your streaming speeds and quality can take a hit.
Updating Microsoft Silverlight couldn’t be simpler. When you visit the official Microsoft website, you’ll be notified if your software is up to date or if it’s in need of an update. If so, then simply follow the direct download link for Windows or Macintosh and let it do its magic.Back to top
When you mention VPN and Netflix in the same sentence most people immediately think of bypassing geographically restricted content. However, there are other reasons you might consider using a VPN when streaming Netflix. See, Netflix has an army of servers spread across the globe.
When we connect to Netflix in Australia, it’s possible that we’ll experience staggered streaming because of an overworked server.
Using a VPN connects you to Netflix through an alternative route, or server, somewhere in the world. If that server is quiet, you’ll likely experience a smoother stream, however, a number of factors (such as server location) can also have the opposite effect on your stream. If you try the VPN alternative and find that it’s slower than before, simply close your VPN down and try connecting again.
Compare VPN Services available to Australians
|VPN Service||Price (p/m)||Annual Payment||Does it log data?||Server locations||Sign Up|
|PureVPN||$9.95||$49.95 ($4.16/month)||No||450+ servers across 6 continents||Sign upMore info|
|TunnelBear||$6.99||Grizzly: $49.99 ($4.16/month)||No||Servers in 13 countries||Sign upMore info|
|Blockless||$4.95||$49.95 ($4.16/month)||Yes||18 across the globe||Sign up|
|EarthVPN||$3.99||$39.99($3.33/month)||No||31 locations worldwide||Sign up|
|Getflix||$3.95||$33.18($2.75/month)||No||20+ regions||Sign up|
|Hide My Ass||$9.99||$59.88($4.99/month)||No||848 servers worldwide||Sign up|
|Overplay||$4.95||$99.95($8.32/month)||No||48 servers worldwide||Sign up|
|Iron Socket||$6.99||$49.95 ($4.16/month)||No||Over 50 servers (High concentration in US and UK)||Sign up|
|NordVPN||$8.00||$48.00 ($4.00/month)||No||80 servers worldwide||Sign up|
|Hide.Me||Free - $11.67||Not available||No.||27 servers located across the globe||Sign up|
|Safer VPN||Single: $7.99Multi: $16.90Business: $29.99||Single: $5.99Multi: $10.99Business: $22.49||No.||100+ dedicated servers in over 24 locations||Sign up|
|IP Vanish||$10.00||$77.99 ($6.49/month)||No.||165+ servers in over 60 countries||Sign up|
|Unblock US||$4.99||$49.90 ($8.32/month)||No.||Not specified||Sign up|
|TorGuard||$5.99 - $9.99||Not available||No.||1000+ servers in over 42 countries||Sign up|
|VyperVPN||Basic: $9.99Pro: $14.99Premier: $19.99||Basic: $6.67Pro: $8.33Premier: $10.00||Yes.||700+ servers in over 3 continents||Sign upMore info|
|Express VPN||$12.95||$99.84 ($8.32/month)||No.||97+ VPN locations in 78 countries||Sign up|
|PIA||$6.95||$39.95 ($3.32/month)||No.||3034+ servers in 15 countries||Sign up|
|IB VPN||Ultimate: $7.67Total: $5.57DNS: $4.95||Ultimate: $4.84Total: $4.09DNS: $3.08||No.||~100 servers in 39 countries||Sign up|
|Strong VPN||$6.25 - $12.92||Not available||No.||~21 countries||Sign up|
|VPN Service||Encryption||Mobile Support?|
|PureVPN||PPTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN||Yes|
|EarthVPN||VPN PTTP, SSTP, L2TP and Open VPN||Yes|
|Getflix||PTTP, L2TP, SSTP and OpenVPN UDP||Yes|
|Hide My Ass||OpenVPN, PPTP and L2TP/IPSec||Yes|
|Overplay||L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP, SmartDNS, SSL and SSTP||Yes|
|Iron Socket||OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, HTTP, Socks5 and DNS Proxy||Yes|
|NordVPN||IPSec, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, PPTP and SSL||iOS, Android and Windows Mobile|
|Hide.Me||Supports PTTP, L2TP, IPSec (IKEv1 and IKEv2), OpenVPN, SOCKS and IKEv2.||Yes|
|Safer VPN||Safer VPN supports state-of-the-art protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and proprietary protocols.||Yes|
|IP Vanish||IP Vanish offers PPTP, L2TP and OpenVPN.||Yes|
|Unblock US||Smart DNS.||Yes|
|TorGuard||OpenVPN, L2TP, and PPTP as well as SOCKS5 torrent proxy services.||Yes|
|VyperVPN||Supports PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN and Chameleon.||Yes|
|Express VPN||Express VPN apps are configured with OpenVPN UDP by default. Otherwise they provide OpenVPN TCP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP and PPTP.||Yes|
|PIA||PIA provides OpenVPN, IPSec/L3TP and SOCKS5 Proxy.||Yes|
|IB VPN||Open VPN, PPTP, L2TP, SSTP are all supported by IB VPN.||Yes|
|Strong VPN||PPTP, L2TP and SSTP, but all are priced differently.||Yes|
|PureVPN||24/7 live chat: Fantastic support from a helpful Technical Support Executive around the clock.||Short period for money back guarantee: It's great that there's a money-back guarantee at all, but three days isn't enough to make up your mind.|
|TunnelBear||Outstanding website: TunnelBear's website is not only endlessly entertaining but also incredibly helpful and user-friendly.||Not any advanced features. Other than that, there's not much to complain about TunnelBear is one of the most impressive VPNs we've seen.|
|Blockless||Great value and handy support services||Blurry position on data logging|
|EarthVPN||Strict no-log policy, offers multiple devices||Unreliable speeds and server connections|
|Getflix||Internet TV focused, informative website||...website is a little overwhelming|
|Hide My Ass||30-day money back guarantee, no limitations on bandwidth, AVG integration and amazing customer service||No IPv6, Only 128 bit encryption|
|Overplay||Servers in 48 countries, Simultaneous use on multiple devices||US-based, more expensive than other SmartDNS providers|
|Iron Socket||Strict no-log policy||Limited server distribution|
|NordVPN||Wide range of compatibility for devices and operating systems||...though only allows for 2 simultaneous streams|
|Hide.Me||Absolutely no log files.||Limited countries and servers.|
|Safer VPN||Custom Windows client.||Lacking in features that others within the same price range offer.|
|IP Vanish||Widespread servers and Windows Phone support.||No 24/7 support.|
|Unblock US||Helpful set up guides for most devices...||…except Linux.|
|TorGuard||Unlimited data transfer and great connection speeds.||Personal information being stored for promotional reasons is a bit of a concern.|
|VyperVPN||Online storage and NAT firewall add-on are both neat additions.||Vypr will only allow for one device to be connected on the basic plan.|
|Express VPN||Comes with 30-day no-risk money back guarantee and good discounts for annual memberships...||...but the base fee is a little pricey.|
|PIA||Easy-to-use and boasts great extra features at a reasonable price. Comes with a seven day no risk money back guarantee.||Many users report very poor tech-support from the company.|
|IB VPN||Free trial and low prices.||Not many server locations, and again, reports of poor customer care. Also, connection logs are kept for up to 10 days.|
|Strong VPN||One of the best available for use within China.||Many report being banned for torrent downloads with no option for a credit refund.|
Speeding up the Netflix app on a mobile device may be as simple as closing down a few apps to lighten the load on your device.
On an Apple device, double-tap the home button to view the multi-task screen. You should see every app you have open lined up side-by-side. Swipe up one each app to force close it. Once this is done, tap on the Netflix app to open it up again. It should be refreshed, and will hopefully run a little smoother with less apps open.
This same action can be performed on an Android device. If you have an android device prior to the Samsung Galaxy S5, you hold down the home button and a list of active apps should appear (this action is performed with the ‘Recent’ button on S5 and S6). You can either swipe left or right to close down apps individually or close all apps at once by tapping the button pictured. Reopen the Netflix app on your mobile device and you should experience much smoother streaming.