Sudden slow-downs in internet speed, especially right in the middle of an important project, can be very frustrating. Lagging speeds can be the result of any number of issues. Luckily, many of them can be solved at home without calling in a swat team of IT experts. We’ve rounded up a list of reasons that can cause internet to slow down so you never have to fear that spinning wheel again.

#1 Gamers

Zombies, pirates, aliens bent on world domination… these are all troublemakers in more ways than one. If you’ve got gamers in your family, and they are all logging in and saving the world at the same time, this could be your issue. Devices like Xbox and PlayStation, along with PC gaming applications like Steam or Origin, can use large amounts of bandwidth. Encourage kids to take turns gaming, set time limits, and make sure they aren’t online at the same time you need to be. Or best yet – send them outside for some real-life fun and games.

#2 Invisible Updates

Software updates for computers and other devices that use the internet can often be running behind the scenes without your knowing about it. Most of the time this is OK. But large updates for systems such as Microsoft Windows or Apple iOS can use much of your available bandwidth when running. Most of these updates will be complete within 30 minutes or less and you’ll be back to top speed asap. But if you need speed right away, like for an important business Skype call, check for updates running or turning off the rest of the devices in your home to put those updates on pause.

#3 Hidden Limits On “Unlimited” Plans

While many carriers offer “unlimited” data, their plans are filled with a lot of fine print and if/when scenarios that can affect your connection speed. Only a certain amount of data per month is guaranteed at the highest speed and you might find yourself capped much earlier than you think. Learn more about the hidden limitations of “unlimited” plans by clicking on this link – and how Softcom doesn’t play those games.

#4 Viruses or Hackers

Even worse than zombies, real-life invaders like viruses, internet worms, and spyware are scary good at slowing computer speeds to a crawl. Viruses slow computer performance. Spyware drains memory and slows functionality as well. We strongly recommend installing anti-virus software on each computer in your home. Make sure they are kept up-to-date, perform regular scans, and remove malicious programs immediately.

#5 Too Many Tabs

If your computer suddenly freezes, check how many tabs and windows you have open. Depending on how you work or play, you might have dozens of windows or tabs open at once. There might even be some minimized that you forgot about. This can put a real strain on your computer, so be sure to close down anything you don’t need.

#6 Heat

Here in California, heat waves are a given. While extreme heat doesn’t really affect the internet signal, it can affect the equipment that shares the signal with your home or office. When equipment loses power or overheats and shuts down, the signal will be lost. And as the equipment starts back up, the signal may be weak or intermittent until all systems are running smoothly again. To learn more about how heat affects interment connectivity, see this article. Here at Softcom, though, all of our outdoor equipment is designed to handle a wide range of harsh temperatures so problems from heat are rare – just like zombies!