If you find downloading and browsing slow, it’s quite likely that your ISP is the culprit. For example, a few ISPs in Ireland that sell 7-8Mbps broadband actually deliver <1Mbps in certain areas at peak time. One example is my former ISP BT Ireland. I use to be on their 3Mbps package and quite often in the evening, the fastest I could download was ~20KB/s no matter what website or download accelerator I used and browsing sometimes felt as bad as a dial-up modem. I changed to a different provider two years ago (Digiweb Ireland) and often get ~300KB/s assuming from good download sources without any accelerator.
It’s worth doing a connection test to see what your ISP currently gives. The following speedtest gives a fairly accurate result, unlike most speed test websites that just show what your peak speed is rather than your sustained speed:
On the MySpeed website, click the red dot on the map nearest to where you are located and wait a moment for the test window to appear. Make sure you have no downloads or uploads taking place (especially any file sharing software), then click the button “click to start test” and it will measure your sustained connection speed.
When the test finishes, ideally the download and upload speeds reported should be within 80% of your ISPs advertised speed and the quality of service should be over 90%. If the quality of service is under 50%, this means that your Internet connection is not providing a consistent flow of data, which might be the culprit if the reported download speed is also under 1Mbps. However, if the reported download speed is less than 500kbps, you would be much better off changing to a better ISP. Finally, click the ‘Advanced’ tab to check the “Average round trip time to server”. If this is 300ms or higher, then this is likely the culprit, as this is the time the browser has to wait each time it sends a request to open individual images, files, etc. as it only makes several requests simultaneously at a time. For example, if this exceeds 500ms, then even a 10Mbps connection will feel painfully slow when opening webpages.