Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

The three top culprits to look for are: connection overload, toolbar applications, and inadequate memory and/or caching.

Why does it take so long for web pages to load? I have an HP PC that's less than six months old and I have Windows 7 OS, IE9 and Chrome. All seem to take forever to load a web page. I even have to wait to load the answer to one of your questions in your newsletter.

In this excerpt from Answercast #52, I look at some potential causes (and fixes) for a slow internet connection.

Slow web pages

So there are a bunch of things that can contribute to slow web page loading. In short, those things include other applications trying to use your internet connection.

Connection overload

Remember, the internet connection is in fact the bottleneck for almost everything you do on the internet. It is the slowest part of the system.

So, if there is more than one thing on your computer trying to use the internet connection or if you have multiple computers that are all trying to use a shared internet connection, all of that slows down the internet connection for you and manifests as a slowly loading web page.

Toolbar applications

Another item includes things like toolbars.

In other words, all the applications that get installed into your browser can often negatively impact its performance and slow it down.

Overloaded memory

Another item is potentially other applications running on your system; in other words, if other programs are using your system heavily while you're browsing the internet.

It may be that the browser you're using doesn't have fast enough access to the CPU (or more typically the hard drive) in order to manage its cache. Writing to the hard drive is the thing that then slows it down because of these other applications trying to simultaneously use your computer.

Those are the big top three that I would point at.

Do a malware check

Definitely consider things like malware, another place to look at, although my guess is you're probably clean.

Those are the kinds of things to investigate when you're suffering from internet slow-downs.

Next from Answercast 52 - Can a TV get malware from my PC?

Article C5803 - September 12, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

September 12, 2012 9:18 PM

Here's another potential: Too many tabs open in your web browser.

I had someone alert me that their machine was browsing slowly - when I arrived I discovered they had 35 tabs open on their web browser.

Each time they restarted their browser, they told it to open all of the tabs from the previous session.

After a demonstration of "Favorites", and the difference in performance when only opening a couple of tabs, they were back in business with speedy browsing.

September 14, 2012 8:44 AM

Badly created websites that have an over abundance of graphics, javascript images, and auto-play video in conjunction with attempting to put far too much data onto one page kills speed in a hurry regardless of your connection unless it is extremely fast.

Mike Wills
September 14, 2012 10:18 AM

I've recently had problems with two US-based major web sites -- Hotmail, and -- with incredibly slow or incomplete loads. This was experienced on two computers (XP and Win7 64bit ultimate), four browsers, lots of conditions... that had been working fine the week before. But since I live in Latin America, I began to suspect my ISP.

When I used a VPN connection, the problems went away.

TURNITIN's tech support said "we see that sometimes." He went on to explain that in some circumstances, how a particular ISP is handling all of the caching that goes on, and resolving all of the lookups for all of the piece-parts that make up heavily script-driven pages, can get... difficult. That the same page works with a VPN hookup, but won't work well reliably without it, says it's time to talk to my ISP.

Of course, my techno-Espanol is not very good. But we tried. In the meantime, we're evaluating different VPN offerings, and getting accustomed to their quirks. (Like, I now have a great connection via Chicago, but the advertising bars on Hotmail think I'm in Denmark... but my wife is in Croatia...)

Go figure. But when you've torn your hair out at your end of the problem, having different diagnostic tools like a VPN can be worthwhile. (And to think that Leo's article prompted me to think "vpn..?")

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