This week Adam explains how downloading some simple software can increase your browsing speed.

Download accelerators. Some programs claim to be able to speed up file downloads by splitting the file into several parts and downloading them simultaneously, increasing the overall speed of the download, or in some cases compressing the page data to increase speed of download.  One such program is Ashampoo Internet Accelerator, in testing, it showed a significant improvement.  I will be detailing how to use the software in a later post, but for now, you can download the program here, it is free, and clear of malware.

Download managers. Most modern browsers incorporate some kind of basic download manager, allowing interrupted downloads to be resumed, which can be very useful.  But if you download a lot of files you may wish to use a proper download manager, these can queue downloads to take place after you have finished browsing the internet, so your surfing is not slowed to a crawl, by downloads happening in the background.  My favorite download manager is WackGet which you can download free from this source.

Paying a little to boost your dial-up connection. It is possible to give your dial-up connection a boost by using a content compressor such as the popular Onspeed program (£24.99).  This gives you a faster connection by compressing some components of web pages before they are sent to your computer.  Tests using pages from various sites showed that the html code is compressed to about a third of its original size.  Images are reduced in size by reducing the quality. I found that dropping the quality/speed slider lower than halfway made the images too poor, even by my lax standards, but on the middle setting quality was acceptable.  Depending on your browser, it is possible to reload images at full quality forsaving, or viewing.

Note: Using Opera it is not possible to reload individual images; you need to disable Onspeed and reload the entire page.  Onspeed also does something strange to the reported sizes of gif images, increasing them in size.  Onspeed can also block banner adverts and compress Flash files though file downloads are not speeded up by Onspeed.

The Onspeed advertising claims increases of up to ten times on dial-up; this is
a bit misleading, it is probably possible with images set to the lowest quality, but they are then so poor, they might as well be absent.  With the images set to a reasonable quality there is a noticeable speed boost of perhaps twice normal speed in general surfing, although if your ISP or phone line does not support modem compression, you may notice a larger increase.

After my trial period with Onspeed, I definitely noticed its absence and missed it, particularly if I downloaded a file while surfing.  I did have one problem with Onspeed initially: I could not access Google, but a quick email to the support desk, gave a solution the very next day – nice to see a company with good customer care!

If you are on pay-as-you-go dial-up, I would definitely recommend Onspeed, as the increased page loading speed will cut your time on the internet, thus
effectively paying for the program.

The Onspeed web site:

Removing page content to boost speed. As mentioned, Adblockers are a great way to streamline your browsing speed. Most modern browsers have Ad blockers as additions to them, the best of which being AdBlock Plus.

Adblock Plus is available for Firefox and Google Chrome, offering automatic blocking of all adverts while browsing the web.  This will remove non useful content from your web pages (adverts,banner ads etc) therefore reducing the page load and speeding up your download.

Adblock Plus for Firefox:

Adblock Plus for Google Chrome:

Next time: Why mission workers should be maximising their use of social media!

Adam Brown, Technical Director

Leave a Reply