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YouTube used to work just fine for me. I could stream videos in 1080p HD with no problems or buffering. Now, for the past few weeks/months I haven't had even close to that experience. Only 480p and lower will actually play without much buffering. 720p will load slowly, and often with buffering. 1080p is almost out of the question now.

I've tried:

  • Chrome and IE9 with the same results.
  • Clearing my cookies in Chrome
  • Turning off the HTML5 player and going back to the flash player
  • Other PC's on my network, with similar results

What's weird is that it isn't a connection issue at all. My fiance regularly streams Netflix and Hulu+ in HD. When I run Speedtest.net, I get ~20MB Down, ~4MB up. I have no lag or issues playing hours of online gaming. I have no issues with other HD video streaming sites—for instance, I can stream twitch.tv at full resolution with no problem. This video on Vimeo loads immediately, and plays smoothly in HD from beginning to end.

What gives? Is my ISP throttling YouTube? Is my router mysteriously refusing packets from YouTube? How can I find out?

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Maybe just a coincidence, but I was having a stop..buffer..start experience on YouTube earlier this evening. (And that was on 480p!) –  w3d Feb 22 '13 at 0:33
3  
You realized that ISP might be the culprit, and didn't post the name? For that matter, searching for <ISP name> youtube throttle will probably give you a good indication if that's the case. –  Alok Feb 22 '13 at 1:54
    
Comcast, and results seem mixed. –  jtheis Feb 23 '13 at 0:52
    
Same here - Flash and HTML5 perform similarly, even at 360p, but HD Vimeo, Netflix, and Amazon Instant are all fine. AT&T user - 24 down, 3 up. –  Pwninstein Mar 2 '13 at 16:04

2 Answers 2

Open up your terminal and run these commands (you may be prompted for the admin password):

sudo ipfw add reject src-ip 173.194.55.0/24 in
sudo ipfw add reject src-ip 206.111.0.0/16 in

This was taken from this post.

His assumptions were not verified but what he found was helpful for a lot of people.

TL;DR: This will most likely block Google's data centers for online video forcing YouTube and other sources to look for a cached source (potentially less bogged down and perhaps a fewer number of hops).

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It could be a router problem, or just that your computer is slow. Try opening task manager (Ctrl + Alt + Del) and killing some unnecessary processes. If that works, then you should uninstall some programs which slow down your computer, or set them to not run at start up. Your whole computer will be faster.

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The OP has tried different computers. –  Vidar S. Ramdal Nov 13 '13 at 9:07

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