How to Stop Buffering: Learn to Prevent Internet Video Buffering Issues

Ben Gran
Nov 07, 2023
Icon Time To Read15 min read

What is buffering?

There’s a reason why “buffering” rhymes with “suffering.” Buffering is the archnemesis of internet users and video streaming viewers—but it’s actually misunderstood! Definition-wise, anyway. What most people call “buffering” is actually a necessary part of the technical process that makes streaming video possible, not the dreaded spinning wheel that delays it.

When you’re watching a video online, the video streaming doesn’t happen all at once. Instead, the back end of the online streaming platform, website, or app, pre-loads little segments of data into a reserved section of memory to help the videos play. This is called “buffering,” or building up a small “buffer” of data to help the video play smoothly.

Buffering happens all the time, but it’s supposed to happen behind the scenes. If your internet and streaming apps are working properly, you won’t notice buffering at all. By preloading that little buffer of video data, the streaming software is giving itself a small head start or “on ramp” so the rest of the video can play without interruption.

When buffering goes wrong

But as an online video viewer, if your video gets slow, glitchy, or pauses altogether, that means you’re seeing the video buffering that usually happens in the background. For the purpose of this article, from now on we’re going to refer to “buffering” as the unwanted slowing, glitching, and stopping that causes frustration.

Some types of internet service are more likely to experience buffering. Streaming with satellite internet tends to cause buffering the most because of latency, as internet data travels back and forth to outer space.

But cable internet can also suffer from buffering during peak demand, when lots of people try to use the internet at the same time. Buffering is like a pipeline of data getting jammed: When too many people or apps are trying to move data through the same pipe, the pipe can slow down or stop altogether for a time.

But the good news is no matter what kind of internet service or video streaming app you’re using, you have options to clear up buffering issues. Let’s look at 22 tips.

Pause your video

It sounds simple, but it just might work: If you want to stop buffering, start by pausing your video. This will give the streaming app time to catch up. By pausing the video stream for a few minutes, you allow the streaming service to build up a bigger buffer of video data, which hopefully makes for a smoother stream once you resume playing. This is the easiest fix, and the one many at team have used while growing up in the middle of nowhere.

Download the video instead of streaming

If you want to avoid buffering, and you don’t have home internet data caps, you can often download streaming videos onto your computer or mobile device. Many streaming platforms, like YouTube and Netflix, give you the option to download videos directly onto your device.

Watching a downloaded video helps you avoid the entire problem of buffering, because the entire video is stored locally on your device. This storage can also be a great solution if you’re going to be traveling and you want to watch shows or movies on the plane or in the car.

Wait for a less busy time

Buffering is often a bigger problem during peak usage times, when many other internet users are all trying to watch videos and gobbling up bandwidth. Peak hours are typically between 6 and11 p.m. So if you can wait a few hours, you might have an easier time watching your video after peak demand time has passed.

Restart your browser or streaming app

Sometimes buffering is caused by a temporary issue within the web browser or streaming app where you’re watching the video. Try restarting your browser, desktop app, or mobile app that you’re using for video streaming—exit the app or close the browser window, and then open it again. This can help reboot the app and solve the buffering problem.

Reduce your video quality

High-resolution video uses up more bandwidth than lower-quality video. Depending on your internet service provider (ISP) and internet plan, watching too much high-res video could be gobbling up your high-speed data and putting pressure on your overall internet experience.

If you’re having buffering issues, one solution could be switching from high-resolution to lower-resolution video; for example, from 1080p to 720p. Most video streaming platforms, like Hulu, Netflix, and YouTube, give you options to change the quality settings to save data. Go to the settings menu and look for options like Data Saver, Change Playback, or Change Video Quality. 

Close other apps and background programs

If you are using multiple apps and programs while streaming video, the additional demand for bandwidth can cause buffering issues. Try closing other apps and unused browser tabs, and shutting down any other background programs or games that are using data or downloading. This can help free up bandwidth for a better video streaming experience. 

Disconnect other devices

Do you have too many devices connected to your home internet service? You might want to disconnect your mobile phones from your home Wi-Fi and rely on mobile data instead. This can reduce demand for data and bandwidth on your home internet, and hopefully will improve your video buffering situation.

Change your browser or streaming app

If you’re streaming video in a web browser and are encountering buffering, try using a desktop app or mobile app for that streaming service instead (if available). For example, you can watch Netflix online in a web browser, or you can use the Netflix app for iPad, Android, iPhone, and Apple TV. Hulu videos can be streamed online in a browser, or via app for numerous supported devices like Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, Roku, and more.

Depending on your situation, you might avoid buffering by using an app or trying a different browser. Make sure that you’re using a supported browser for your online streaming service. For example, Netflix works with Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Opera, and Safari—but you might need to update your browser.

Update your streaming app

If you’re watching videos on a mobile or TV app, check for updates to the streaming app software. These updates can help avoid buffering issues developers have found in how the app works. Check the settings on your streaming app; some smart TV apps, like Roku, will update automatically whenever they’re connected to the internet. But if you’re having problems with buffering, it’s worth double-checking to see if you can update the app manually.

Update your streaming device

If your system’s software is not up to date, this can affect your experience with buffering. Whether you use a laptop, tablet, mobile phone, or desktop computer to stream videos, you should always check for ongoing software updates to make sure you have the latest version. Along with improving your streaming performance, these updates can help you get quick fixes for known bugs and security threats.

Update your video drivers

If you use a computer to stream videos, and you installed your own custom video card, try installing updated graphics drivers. These can be found on the website of your video card’s manufacturer, such as AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA.

Most people won’t need to try this fix because their video cards get updated automatically whenever they update their Microsoft or Apple software. But it’s still worth checking into.

Clear your cache, cookies, and history

If you use a smart TV, computer, or mobile phone to stream videos, another quick fix to stop buffering is to try clearing your device’s cache, cookies, and browsing history. This can help free up space and relieve pressure on your network.

Restart your router

Many buffering situations are caused by Wi-Fi routers. One of the first quick solutions to try is to restart your router. Simply unplug the router, wait 10 seconds, and plug it back in. Doing this hard reset of your router will also cause a restart of your internet connection, and it can often help clear up the buffering issues by unclogging the pipeline of data.

Change the location of your Wi-Fi router

Some buffering issues are caused by the quality of your Wi-Fi signal. A weak Wi-Fi signal can cause an increase in buffering. To improve your Wi-Fi performance, one quick fix is to change the location of your Wi-Fi router. Experiment with moving the router around to different locations in your home; a central location will often deliver a better Wi-Fi signal. Also, do not put your router behind a refrigerator, TV, or other electronic appliance, as these can interfere with the Wi-Fi signal.

Plug your streaming device into an Ethernet cable

Do you mostly use one device for video streaming, such as a desktop computer, laptop, or smart TV? If so, you could improve your streaming experience and avoid buffering by plugging that device into an Ethernet cable. This setup brings internet bandwidth directly to your streaming device and helps you avoid the challenges of weak Wi-Fi signals. 

Upgrade your router

If you experience constant buffering issues, your router could be the problem. Check with your internet service provider (ISP) to see if your router needs repairs, or if you qualify to receive a newer model of router from the ISP. Depending on your internet service, you could also buy your own router. Make sure your router is dual-band and able to offer a 5GHz network, which is faster than 2.4GHz band and ideal for video streaming. If you use satellite internet service, make sure you’re using the best satellite modems and routers.  

Get a Wi-Fi extender

If you’re suffering from Wi-Fi dead spots, or if you have already tried relocating your Wi-Fi router, you should take the next step and try to extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal. Special devices called Wi-Fi extenders, boosters, and repeaters can expand the range of your home Wi-Fi router by up to 2,800 square feet. Sometimes expanding the range of your Wi-Fi can reduce buffering by delivering a more consistent Wi-Fi signal.

Get mesh Wi-Fi

Another step to improve your home Wi-Fi range to stop buffering, especially for people who live in larger homes with multiple family members, is to get mesh Wi-Fi. Mesh Wi-Fi is similar to a Wi-Fi extender, but it’s a solution for your whole home. With mesh Wi-Fi systems, such as Google Nest or Amazon Eero, you can get multiple routers that connect to each other within your home, providing seamless two-way Wi-Fi coverage in all directions.

Upgrade your internet plan for data or speed

If you’ve already tried the other solutions to stop buffering, like changing your router or upgrading to mesh Wi-Fi, it could be time to consider changing your internet plan. Many internet service providers (ISPs) like HughesNet and Viasat offer multiple tiers of plans with different data caps and internet speeds.

If you’re feeling frustrated by your current plan’s data caps or other issues, contact your ISP and see if an upgraded plan is available. Especially if it’s been a few years since you most recently signed up for internet service, there could be better, faster options in your area. For example, if you’ve been using a satellite internet plan with limited high-speed data, you might want to switch to Starlink, since there are no hard Starlink data caps.

Get a better mobile internet plan

Do you use your mobile phone for streaming video? If you want to avoid buffering, make sure you understand how much mobile data you need to comfortably watch videos. Video streaming in high definition (HD) requires about 900MB of cellular data per hour. The demands of online streaming can make it hard to use your mobile phone for home internet, but low-cost mobile phone service is getting better than ever. Check out Mint Mobile vs. Visible for low-cost unlimited cellular data plans with 5G speed.

Upgrade your ISP

If your videos are still buffering and changing your internet plan is not an option, you should consider changing your internet service provider (ISP). Depending on where you live, there may be multiple options for high-speed internet that can support video streaming.

Get a better internet plan!

One of the best ways to stop buffering is to upgrade your internet package with more data and faster speed.

Or, depending on where you live, now might be a great time to choose a new internet provider! Sometimes ISPs expand their footprint. You might have more options for fast home internet since the last time you looked.

Enter your zip code into our free zipcheck tool, and see all internet providers in your area.

How to stop buffering on streaming devices

Now that streaming video has become one of the most popular cable TV alternatives, your choice of streaming device is even more important than your choice of TV manufacturer. Different streaming devices tend to have a few special tips for avoiding buffering.

Depending on which device(s) you use for video streaming, try these tips for a smoother experience.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

One commonly reported issue with the Amazon Fire TV Stick is it overheating, which causes slow, interrupted video streaming. To correct this problem, pull out the Fire TV Stick and let it cool.

If your Amazon Fire TV Stick is buffering, there are a few specific tips to improve your device’s performance:

  1. Check for Fire TV device updates (Settings > My Fire TV > About > Check for System Update).
  2. Restart your Fire TV device (Settings > My Fire TV > Restart).
  3. Clear the cache and data of the app (Settings > Applications > Manage Installed Applications, select the app > Clear Cache, and then Clear Data).
  4. If your device is still buffering, you could consider resetting the Fire TV Stick to its factory defaults. This will remove all in-app purchases and other downloaded content. To do a factory reset:

                  a. Safely eject expandable storage (if needed).

                  b. On your remote, press and hold the Back arrow key and the right side of the navigation circle together for 10 seconds.

                 c. The TV screen will ask you to choose to Continue or Cancel the factory reset. Choose “Continue.”

                 d. If you do not choose “Continue” or “Cancel,” after several more seconds, the device will reset automatically.

Roku devices

Roku devices host multiple channels, so if you’re experiencing buffering, try a different channel and see if the issue persists. If the buffering seems to be happening only on one channel, try this:

  1. Remove the channel from the Roku home screen.

                 a. Go to the channel tile.

                 b. Press the * key on your remote.

                 c. Choose “Remove channel.”

                 d. Restart your Roku device at Settings>System>System restart.

                 e. After your Roku device restarts, add the channel to your Roku home screen again.

       2. If the channel is still buffering after the restart and re-adding, contact that channel provider directly and ask for support. Many channels on Roku are maintained by those other channel providers, not by Roku. 

If your Roku device is buffering on multiple channels, try restarting the Roku or resetting to factory presets.

Apple TV

Apple TV users don’t report many buffering issues. In general, Apple TV devices only buffer if your internet connection is too slow to keep up with the demands of the streaming video.

If your internet speed is lower than required for the Apple TV stream, Apple TV content will not automatically adjust its quality. This is different from other streaming services like Amazon or Netflix, which offer automatic video quality reduction for viewers with slower internet service.  

So if Apple TV content is in HD or 4K, and your internet service doesn’t have enough speed to show that content, Apple TV will not reduce its video quality to accommodate your internet speed. Check your internet service and make sure it has the right speed to support Apple TV.

Enter your zip code below to see the best internet providers in your area.


If you’re streaming video on a laptop, many of the tips to stop buffering are the same as mentioned previously in this article. Find the instructions for your computer’s manufacturer (Apple, PC, etc.) and try these possible fixes to stop buffering on your laptop:

  • Close extra applications, programs, and background tasks.
  • Reduce video quality to lower resolution.
  • Check for viruses and malware.
  • Clear out your browser cache, cookies, and history.
  • Update your video system’s graphics card drivers.
  • Plug in your laptop to an Ethernet cable.
  • Reset your router.


Android phones face the same challenges as any devices that use mobile data for video streaming. Try these quick fixes to stop buffering on your Android:

  • Use Wi-Fi instead of mobile data (if possible) for faster speed.
  • Close other apps that are using data behind the scenes.
  • Reduce the video quality.
  • Disconnect other devices that are sharing your Wi-Fi network.
  • Keep your Android phone software updated.
  • Check the Google Play Store for updates to the video streaming app.
  • Clear the video streaming app’s cache and data.


There are a few suggested tips to stop buffering on your iPhone:

  • Try watching similar videos on different apps. For example, is the video buffering only within a certain video streaming app? Or is it also happening to videos on the Safari mobile browser?
  • Try watching videos on your Wi-Fi network, as well as on cellular data. It could be a network-specific issue.
  • Restart your iPhone.

If restarting the iPhone does not solve the buffering issue, try these other general fixes:

  • Check for iPhone software updates.
  • Check the App Store for updates to your video streaming apps.
  • Check your internet connection, available cellular data, and internet speed.

How to stop buffering on streaming services

Different online streaming services have a few unique shortcuts and changes you can make to stop buffering. Check out the buffering tips for each of these top streaming services:


Here are a few quick fixes to stop buffering on Netflix:

  • Check if your network can play Netflix (some public networks don’t allow video streaming).
  • Check to see if your internet connection is fast enough for Netflix’s recommended speeds, and for how much data Netflix uses.
  • Restart your device.
  • Sign out of Netflix and then sign back in.
  • Restart your home modem or Wi-Fi router.
  • Try to improve your Wi-Fi signal.
  • Ask your internet service provider (ISP) for help to improve your internet connection.


The best ways to stop buffering on Hulu depend on whether you’re using a Hulu app or watching Hulu on your computer. To avoid buffering on the Hulu app, we recommend following these steps:

  1. Close the Hulu app completely and then try reopening Hulu.
  2. See if your internet connection speed is fast enough for Hulu’s recommended speed. If not, you might want to look into a better internet plan.
  3. Turn off your streaming device, modem, and router; wait a few minutes, and turn them back on.
  4. Try other apps and programs on your device—if other apps are also having issues, contact your internet service provider (ISP) for support.
  5. Check your device’s app store for updates to your device software and to the Hulu app.
  6. Clear your device’s cache and data.
  7. Uninstall and reinstall Hulu on your device.

If you’re experiencing buffering while watching Hulu on your computer (, Hulu recommends following these steps in the order listed below:

  1. Check if your computer’s OS and browser meet Hulu’s system recommendations.
  2. Check your internet connection speed and see if it meets Hulu’s recommendations.
  3. Try to improve your internet connection by connecting your computer to an Ethernet cable, turning off other devices on your Wi-Fi network, closing other applications and programs on your computer, etc.
  4. Turn off your computer, modem and router; wait a few minutes and turn them back on.
  5. Clear your browser cache.
  6. Fully close your browser and all background programs, then relaunch the browser and open again.
  7. Use an Incognito/Private browser window to access
  8. Enable JavaScript and cookies on your browser.
  9. Enable location services if you have a Hulu Live TV plan.
  10. Try a different browser. Hulu supports Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge on Windows 10.

YouTube (and YouTube TV)

YouTube offers a few specific ideas to stop buffering when streaming videos on the YouTube website or app:

  • Restart your internet connection.
  • Check your internet speed and see if it’s fast enough for YouTube’s recommendations:
Video Resolution
YouTube’s recommended sustained speed
HD 1080p5Mbps
HD 720p2.5Mbps
SD 480p1.1Mbps
SD 360p0.7Mbps
  • Reboot your device.
  • Close the YouTube app, and open it again.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the YouTube app.
  • Update your browser.
  • Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  • Update the YouTube app.
  • Update your device’s system software.
  • Check your data usage.
  • If you haven’t already, turn on data usage for YouTube:
    1. Go to your device Settings.
    2. Tap Cellular.
    3. Under the "Cellular data" section, go to YouTube.
    4. Next to YouTube, tap the button so it's on.

For the YouTube TV app on a supported smart TV, YouTube recommends the following fixes for buffering or other playback issues:

  • Close and reopen the YouTube TV app.
  • Turn off the device, wait 30 seconds, and then turn it on again.
  • Check for updates for the device and for the YouTube TV app.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the YouTube TV app.
  • Check your internet speed and see if it is fast enough for YouTube TV’s recommended download speeds:
Download speed
What you can do on YouTube TV
25Mbps +4K Plus subscribers: View 4K quality on available programs.
13Mbps +Reliably stream HD video, even with other devices using the same network.
7Mbps +Stream one-HD video. If many devices are streaming videos or using the network at the same time, you may run into some buffering issues.
3Mbps +Stream standard definition video.
Under 3MbpsYouTube TV may load slowly or rebuffer.

Disney Plus

Disney+ recommends the following fixes to stop buffering and other streaming issues:

  • Make sure your streaming device is supported by Disney+.
  • Check your internet connection speed to make sure it’s fast enough for the Disney+ recommended speeds:
    • 5Mbps for High Definition content
    • 25Mbps for 4K UHD content
  • Try other apps on your streaming device—are you having the same issue with other apps, or is it limited to the Disney+ app?
  • Fully exit and restart your Disney+ app.
  • Clear the cached data on your device.
  • Uninstall and reinstall the Disney+ app.
  • On a computer:
    • Exit and restart your browser.
    • Try an Incognito/Private browser.
    • Try a different browser.
    • Clear the browser cache.
    • Make sure JavaScript and cookies are enabled.

Prime Video

Amazon recommends the following fixes to help stop buffering on Prime Video:

  • Close the Prime Video app and then reopen it.
  • Restart your device: unplug it, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in.
  • Make sure your device or browser is updated.
  • Is your streaming device connected to a TV or display monitor? If so, make sure you’re using a HDMI cable compatible with HDCP 1.4 (for HD content) and HDCP 2.2 (for UHD and/or HDR content).
  • Stop using the internet for other activities or devices. Disconnect other devices from your network.
  • Check your Internet connection.
  • Restart your router/modem.
  • Sign out of Prime Video and then sign back in.
  • Uninstall the Prime Video app, and then reinstall it.


On, our editorial team bases our analyses on several hours of research, results from our speed test tool, customer interviews, first-hand testing, and proprietary internet provider data on speeds and pricing. We dig deep to get hard-to-find information on internet plans, fees, and upcoming brand developments. We make this information easy for you to find in one place via our in-depth reviews, and we use our satellite internet industry expertise to analyze the options to help you make the most informed decision for your household.

Stop Buffering FAQs

What causes video buffering?

Buffering on streaming videos is often caused by a slow internet connection, lack of bandwidth, or extra demands on video content providers and platforms. Outdated browsers, graphics cards, and apps can also cause video buffering.

Why do satellite internet providers have more buffering?

Satellite internet plans, depending on your data caps, might experience more buffering because of latency—the extra time it takes for satellite internet signals to travel back and forth from orbit in space. Your exact experience will depend on your satellite internet plan and your location.

How much data do I need to stop buffering?

The average household uses 500GB of data per month, which is about 167 hours of streaming HD video. But if you’re trying to decide how much internet data you need, consider your location, your budget, and your family’s internet usage. Unlimited high-speed data could give you good peace of mind. 

Ben Gran
Written by
Ben Gran