Tired of Buffering? 3 Ways to Speed Up YouTube

Joel Lee 03-05-2013

speed up youtubeIf you ask me, Internet streaming is one of the best advancements in web technology I’ve ever experienced, at least when it comes to user experience. YouTube has made some serious strides in online video over the last decade – strides which can easily be overlooked and forgotten. But streaming will always suffer from a particular drawback – buffering.

Buffering isn’t just a problem for YouTube; services like Netflix 5 Tools To Super-Power Your Netflix Viewing Experience I have to admit that I am a huge Netflix fan. I mean, I like Hulu and Amazon for my instant movies as well, but there's something about the convenience of streaming Netflix quickly and... Read More , Hulu, and HBO GO all have to buffer their on-demand content. But YouTube is, without a doubt, the largest video streaming site in the world – it’s hard to imagine a person who has Internet access yet hasn’t ever heard of it – which means there are a lot of people out there who complain about slow YouTube buffers.

The following tips may help you out if your YouTube experience has slowed down so much as to become an inconvenience.

Warning: These suggestions to speed up YouTube should only be pursued at your own discretion. I would never suggest something so dangerous or risky that I would never do it, but MakeUseOf claims no responsibility if you mess up your computer or Internet connection in any way after reading this article.

Join YouTube Feather Beta

Even though I’ve been an avid YouTube user for many years, I was surprised to learn about a hidden program called YouTube Feather. As far as I know, it was never really pushed to users in a public way; instead, it’s an “opt-in” feature that claims that it might be able to speed up your YouTube buffering. It’s an official YouTube program so there’s some real promise in it.

speed up youtube

How does it work to speed up YouTube? By stripping away nearly every extraneous feature and implementing some advanced web techniques, YouTube reduces the amount of information being sent to you every time you view a video. This means that there’s more bandwidth allocated for actual video buffering. It’s basically a lightweight version of the service, hence the name YouTube Feather.

When you enable YouTube Feather, you: lose the ability to view and write comments; lose the ability to like or dislike videos; only see five related videos per page. I think that’s a pretty good trade for faster buffering. However, be aware that YouTube Feather is a work-in-progress so it may not work for all videos.

Bypass ISP Throttling

A few months ago, a guy named Mitch Ribar posted an interesting network tweak for Windows that makes some esoteric changes to the firewall which blocks a big range of IP addresses. I’ve seen this tip circulating around the Internet so I took a deeper look at it and, from what I can see, it should work for most users.

The technology behind it works like this. In an effort to preserve bandwidth, some ISPs will throttle bandwidth and download speeds on connections to servers that deliver cached video content, e.g., YouTube. The following command blocks IP addresses on this content delivering network, which forces YouTube to push the actual video straight to you (not the cached version) without any ISP throttling.

how to speed up youtube

  • Click Start, type cmd, right click on the icon and Run as Administrator to open the command prompt.
  • If you see a UAC prompt, click Yes.
  • Copy this command: netsh advfirewall firewall add rule name=”YoutubeBufferTrick” dir=in action=block remoteip=, enable=yes
  • Right click in the command prompt and select Paste.
  • Hit Enter.

If you ever want to remove this alteration from your network, do the same thing except use this command instead:

  • netsh advfirewall firewall delete rule name=”YoutubeBufferTrick”

Since this trick blocks a wide range of IP addresses, you may run into a site every once in a while that’s blocked by this trick. Use at your own discretion!

Routing Through a Different DNS

You may be able to speed up YouTube downloads by hooking up your Internet connection to a different DNS, like OpenDNS OpenDNS: SpeedUp Your Internet Connection Read More or Google Public DNS How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet "The Internet is just a series of tubes" as one man so wisely stated. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a complex architecture that supports the Internet, and data packets need to travel... Read More . There’s a lot that can be said on DNS optimization How to Optimize Your DNS for Faster Internet "The Internet is just a series of tubes" as one man so wisely stated. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that. There’s a complex architecture that supports the Internet, and data packets need to travel... Read More – far more than would fit in this article – so just know that it’s possible (not guaranteed) that changing DNS could improve your YouTube buffering speed.

speed up youtube

Google claims that using its Public DNS service can actually enhance your Internet browsing speed by optimizing the traffic routes between you and your destination servers. But, they offer this caveat:

Note, however, that because nameservers geolocate according to the resolver’s IP address rather than the user’s, Google Public DNS has the same limitations as other open DNS services: that is, the server to which a user is referred might be farther away than one to which a local DNS provider would have referred. This could cause a slower browsing experience for certain sites.

The bottom line: this trick to speed up TouTube may or may not work for you. There’s no real way to know without going ahead and giving it a try.


At the end of the day, one truth remains: your YouTube buffering speed will always be capped by your actual Internet speed The Internet Speed Test & 7 Ways To Improve Bad Results Read More . If you have a lousy Basic Package from your ISP and your download rate is limited to snail speeds, you won’t be able to buffer faster than that. In other words, the only surefire way to improve your YouTube buffering speed is to upgrade your Internet plan.

But assuming you have a fast Internet connection already yet still suffer from poor buffering, you may be able to gain something from the tricks outlined above. Give them a try and report back to us to share your experience!

Image Credit: Network Routes Via Shutterstock

Related topics: Online Video, YouTube.

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  1. Carolyn
    November 26, 2016 at 1:51 am

    Bypass ISP Throttling worked!!! I have been searching futilely for a year about this problem, and some videos would never stream, no matter how long I waited, just had to give up on them. I copied and saved the undo, in case I ever want to reverse it. This is great! I have Centurylink, unfortunately a monopoly in my area, and they are notorious for slow speeds and throttling. Thank you lots!!

  2. AZ
    November 15, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    Thanks for 2nd solution it is GREAT .

  3. AZ
    November 15, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you 2nd solution is GREAT .

  4. Hitesh
    September 11, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    Thanks a lot ! 2nd works great !

  5. viswas reddipilli
    August 24, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Great tips. The 2nd one worked!!!

    • Joel Lee
      August 29, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      Glad it worked out for you, viswas!

  6. Marvin
    June 21, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    Nothing works !!

    When you try true vm it works fine so it's probably something with the browser

  7. Matty
    May 3, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Nothing works because Google and Chrome are in it together to keep you on the site longer. How could they benefit if you actually downloaded a video at a speed even close to your maximum? Then they try to quell you with some BS about "it has to do with your ISP" and time of day, traffic jams when others are all on at the same time as your, but that's a load of crap. I've got a meager 35 Mbps download and I cannot get any one video to download or buffer faster than 300 Kbps, basically, 1994 speeds. Because of all the DNS rerouting and throttling and buffering and all the other crap youtube does, there is no real way as of yet for me to get like MEGABYTES (NOT "BITS) of download speeds.
    When I am updating a driver or a service pack, I'm getting about 3 MBytes per second (NOT BITS), or it would show up as 3,000 Mbps if it worked that way. Youtube and google depend on their sponsors for money, so if you whoooooosh in and out for a few seconds, you'd leave and not see their sponsors' ads. It's already maddening enough that some videos won't load at all if you have an ad blocker, so we have to do an end around by copying the URL and going to Keepvid just so we can watch the damn content and not be bombarded by stupid ads and commercials. We want our content free, just like the web was meant to be, but we will not get that as long as Google is dangling us as puppets and forcing us to watch their stupid crap when all we want to do is watch a damn video without that infuriating spinning dotted circle cutting us off and causing us to punch our monitors and smash our keyboards. I've been through a few myself, but I wish I could punch a programmer at Google or Youtube instead.
    AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! And if that's not bad enough, Google is pushing Chrome on me when they tell me it won't be supported any more for windows vista. I have no desire or intention whatsoever to upgrade my operating system just so it can accommodate more ads and crap that they want us to see. If I find a FTP program that accepts youtube URL's for true, fast download speeds, then I'll let every one know. In the meantime, Google guys, we're on to you and your sneaky behind-the-scenes tricks to slow down our content and get us to buy into your sponsors ads. Instead, we just boycott the products and services you advertise as our just revenge!

    • Jake1702
      August 1, 2016 at 5:08 am

      Ok, time to take your meds.

  8. Adel
    March 23, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you so much for the information

    • Joel Lee
      March 25, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      You're welcome, Adel! Glad it helped. :)

  9. Allam
    January 29, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    Great advice! Thank you!

  10. Anonymous
    November 3, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Nothing's working. 100 Mbps D/L, 8 Mbps U/L but YouTube can't even load 480p.

  11. Anonymous
    June 5, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    I was in buffering hell for months on You Tube. I use Opera on a Dell Studio XPS and Windows 7 Ultimate o.s. w/ a paltry 4 gigs of ram. Some videos would play and others were unwatchable because of constant buffering. I had been using a You Tube extension called "You Tube Magic" out of desperation. I had checked my Flash Player version and had the latest. I went to the online Flash Player manager and set up all storage options for maximum, checked the "Disable Peer to Peer option and deleted all web sites in the Peer to Peer box of the manager. I watched a video this morning and it would stop to buffer every 5 seconds or so. I decided to disable the "You Tube Magic" extension, ran the video again and it played all the way through without stopping even once. Apparently they have finally gotten off their lazy asses at You Tube and done some work after months of stagnation on this issue. So far, all other videos have played flawlessly. Hallelujah! Got my fingers crossed and hoping today isn't some kind of fluke.

  12. srinu
    April 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    iam using huawaei ec 121 reliance 1x speed modem but iam facing utube watching every second stop and start how to this problem soloving plese give replay in this connection is availble to watching utube any stopages

  13. Nahum L
    September 23, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    random question! how do I share on tweeter? (its a serious question)

  14. Richard
    July 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Your advice worked for me! Thanks a bunch!

  15. Anas
    July 13, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Recently I join Youtube Feather Beta, Youtube become Faster, thanks

  16. patrick
    July 11, 2013 at 1:44 am

    i cant figure out how to get rid of the firewall thing is there another way to disabvle it ... I think that i named it incorreclty and can remember what i named it now am i scred can i still pay my taxes on navy federal? plz help

  17. Mark
    June 17, 2013 at 4:43 am

    I tried Bypassing ISP Throttling and it worked! Thanks, dude!

  18. Alex Fit
    June 16, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I find that youtube improves significantly when I sign out.

  19. kavan
    June 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    C:\ >netsh advfirewall firewall add rule na
    me="YoutubeBufferTrick" dir=in action=block remoteip=,
    /16 enable=yes

    The following command was not found: advfirewall firewall add rule name="Youtube
    BufferTrick" dir=in action=block remoteip=, enable=

  20. Anonymous
    June 13, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    If You Go On That IP Address Your Original IP Will Be Hacked

    We Are Anonymous, We Are A Legion, We Do Not Forget, We Do Not Forgive, Expect Us.


  21. Chris
    May 25, 2013 at 4:45 am

    Holy crap. The firewall tweak works beautifully. No. More. Buffering. Whatsoever.

    Eff Comcast. My god.

  22. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    May 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    My only gripe about 'Feather Beta': I have to login to my Google account when browsing YouTube.

  23. Onaje Asheber
    May 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Routing Through a Different DNS. Now i would really love to read a full post on that. But thanks for the information given.

  24. Arif Ibrahim
    May 7, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Wow, that firewall tweak, I'm trying it out now. Hopefully nothing's gonna break :)

  25. danny6114
    May 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I'd really like tips for speeding up Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant video. If you please!

  26. Cordiva
    May 6, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    I see Windows in your screen shot, will this work for OS X?

    • Joel Lee
      May 6, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      YouTube Feather and DNS Routing will work on OS X (though the steps for DNS routing will differ on OS X). As for the "hack" tip, I don't know enough about OS X to say whether or not there's a similar alternative.

  27. RubisSong
    May 6, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Very interesting. I like the feather beta. Tried it and really see the improvement! Thank you Lee.

  28. ravenclawwit
    May 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I have a lot of issues with YouTube videos. I can't watch HD videos at all, and even 480p is often choppy. It's weird because I can watch Netflix in HD just fine, but YouTube chokes.

    • Joel Lee
      May 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      As far as I know, it's because Netflix uses a different streaming technology. I can easily buffer full movies on Netflix with my garbage WiFi speeds yet sometimes I stutter on YouTube 360p with my wired ethernet. I'm sure there's some reason why YouTube can't implement the same methods as Netflix, though.

    • Aaron
      August 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      hey u can change the open DNS and check it out....

  29. Manuel Guillermo L
    May 4, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    I got tired of buffering a long time ago.
    Now, I download every video before watching it. No more lag for me, but now I have tons of videos I have downloaded to watch later consuming my hard drive.

  30. sunil sharma
    May 4, 2013 at 6:24 pm

    Wow! really nice tip

  31. mieszko200
    May 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Looks very interesting, thank you.

  32. Andy Bristow
    May 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

    I got...

    The requested operation requires elevation

    Do I add Run as administrator in place of username?

    • Joel Lee
      May 4, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      In order to run the command line hack, yes you need to have proper permissions by running as Administrator and disabling/bypassing UAC.

    • Mark
      May 5, 2013 at 12:12 am

      After typing in "cmd" right click it and click, "Run as Administrator".
      Note:This won't work if you do not have administrator privileges.

  33. Akhil Kumar
    May 4, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Great post! I can't even watch 240p videos without buffering. However youtube nowadays has this option for 144p, which is great for me. But this only applies to certain videos. You can watch all the videos in 144p using IDM. Heres the link on how to do it: [Broken Link Removed]

    • Joel Lee
      May 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Yikes, 144p is quite low quality but it's nice that YouTube offers it for people who can't handle that much bandwidth. Thanks!

  34. crunch
    May 4, 2013 at 2:32 am

    download the files using the downloadhelper plugin for firefox, it's cross-platform and free.

    or if you want to keep it simple with linux at the command line: youtube-dl or clive, google them.

    • Joel Lee
      May 4, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Never thought about downloading the videos since it seems like a hassle if you want to just "surf YouTube," but I suppose it's a valid method if you want to watch specific videos. Thanks!

      • ben
        May 5, 2013 at 9:46 am

        If you can only access the internet thru a slow connection, then downloading the video is as bad as playing it.

        • Dawn Turner
          June 8, 2013 at 12:46 pm

          To the contrary, surprisingly, I have found that the videos download in a fraction of the time as when they are playing in a browser.

      • ben
        May 5, 2013 at 10:04 am

        Hello Joel,

        Maybe this will work - "...suggest something so dangerous or risky..." & on the part of MUO, you can always do this - "...MakeUseOf claims no responsibility if you mess up your computer or Internet connection in any way after reading this article."

        I know it's desperate, but to be honest with you, the tricks in the article just don't work.


  35. null
    May 4, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Cool. Trying them out now

  36. brian
    May 4, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Does joining the YouTube HTML5 trial do anything to the YouTube experience?

    • Elrick B
      September 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

      IM wondering the same thing, but i do realise some video do buffer faster with html5 tho, but only some

  37. Loiue Stihl Balanquit
    May 4, 2013 at 1:55 am

    If you join Youtube Feather, can you go out of it if you dislike it? Thank you!

    • Max
      May 4, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Of course!

    • Joel Lee
      May 4, 2013 at 5:19 pm

      Yes, you can disable it at any time. :)

    • achrafsoso
      September 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      yes of course
      when you koin it you will see after "quit "light" beta" just click it and you will quit it

    • achrafsoso
      September 4, 2013 at 3:09 pm

      i have another probleme
      my internet is enafe to play 1 houre video and its was playing videos great but now its stop every 5 seconds
      its buffer good but for a short time ,not just in youtube ,all the videos,everything is fast like downloading of entering websites but the videos wont work, can you help me pleas