Buffering Got You Down? (Part 2)

The Top 4 Reasons Videos Buffer?

While there are many reasons you might be plagued with excessive buffering while trying to watch YouTube, or during streaming on Netflix, they usually boil down to four main reasons. These reasons all revolve around the fact that the file can’t download fast enough to keep up with playback, and before we talk solutions, it’s essential to understand what can cause it.

The first big reason, and often the last most people think of, is your device. I know it's easier to think it is ‘them,' not you. But sadly, I will say that most often, it is you, or more specifically, your device.
Our devices get crammed with cookies, plagued with viruses, and spread thin as we run too many programs simultaneously. This is especially problematic when we are using a computer or phone that we bought four years ago (or maybe 5). What I’m saying is that the little elves trying to run your data downloads are overwhelmed with the demands. They are fat from eating too many cookies and are so old they should be on disability, not trying to download data efficiently. Add to that a browser you haven’t updated in a while, and it’s the perfect storm for more and more buffering.

The second most common reason you experience buffering is a lack of available bandwidth. Now before you again start badmouthing your internet provider, this usually occurs at your home. The bandwidth in your home will vary depending on the router (and how old it is) and the number of devices that use it. If you are still using the router that you bought, maybe a house and two cars ago, then it's way past time for an upgrade. But even if you have a brand new router, the number of devices that are attempting to access your internet in your household at any given time will cause a great deal of variance in speed and available bandwidth. Now you might assume that you don’t have that many devices accessing your router right now, but I challenge you – turn it off and see how many members of your family appear to see what’s up.

The third issue that may cause buffering is that you have a slow or unstable connection. Many internet service providers have tiers of service you can purchase, and your tier may be much slower at downloading large video files. You also may not be getting the speed you expect during certain busy times of the day, such as prime time. In addition, you may have exceeded your allotted fast download time and are now throttled to a much slower speed due to usage. This can quickly occur, especially if you just binge-watched the first two seasons of Yellowstone and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The fourth issue I want to mention in regard to buffering is somewhat rare but does occur often enough that you will probably experience it at some point, and that is the content provider is overrun with requests. This can happen with a premier like a big sporting event or a new movie released on a particular streaming service, or even when Taylor Swift concert tickets go on sale. The provider gets overwhelmed as so many people try to access that service to download the video or movie that they just can’t keep up. So basically, your elves are sitting there twiddling their thumbs, waiting on the next data delivery.

There are many solutions to all the issues above, and in part three of this blog series, I will go through a step-by-step action plan you can follow to get your elves working better, faster, and with more efficiency than you might imagine possible.

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