DualShock 4 controller on a PlayStation 4 console
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Sony’s PS4 is notorious for slow download speeds, particularly the original 2014 model. This isn’t always down to hardware—software running in the background, Wi-Fi problems, and other network issues all play their part.

Quick Speed Up Tips

Follow a few basic tips to improve your download speeds on any device—not just the PS4. Your internet connection shares its bandwidth among all your devices. Downloading a file on your laptop or streaming Netflix in 4K on another device can slow things down. For maximum speed, pause any other downloads and streams and let your PS4 consume all the bandwidth it wants.

Queuing up multiple downloads on your PS4 has a similar effect. The console has to share what bandwidth it has, so if you’re keen to get a particular download finished its best to pause your other transfers.

Finally, don’t play online games while downloading in the background. As you’ll see below, this will drastically limit your download speed. It’s also likely that the download itself will negatively impact your performance, introducing lag spikes and connection problems that can put you at a disadvantage.

Kill Any Running Apps

One of the quickest ways of increasing your download speed is to kill any running processes. We’ve seen this dramatically speed up downloads for ourselves, and all it takes are a few button presses:

  1. With the PS4 running, press and hold the PS button on the controller until you see a menu appear on-screen.
  2. Highlight “Close Application(s)” and tap X.

This tip has its roots in Juho Snellman’s blog post from 2017. The systems programmer discovered that the console’s “receive window” shrinks considerably whenever a game or other application is running.

Close PS4 App or Game

Sony likely engineered this behavior to give priority to games and other software, which is why you’re able to download items from PSN and still play online games. If you’re in a hurry for a download to complete you’re better off killing any running games or apps and doing something else for a bit.

Pause and Resume Your Download

Another tip that we’ve seen work for ourselves is pausing your download, then resuming it again. If it feels like your PS4 is dragging its heels over a large update or new game download, this tip might help move things along.

Pause and Resume PS4 Download

To do this, you’ll need to access the download queue under Notifications:

  1. Access the PS4 dashboard by pressing the PS button once.
  2. Tap “up” on the left joystick (or d-pad) to highlight Notifications, then tap X.
  3. You should see “Downloads” on the list, highlight it and tap X.
  4. Highlight the currently downloading item and tap X, then choose “Pause.”
  5. Tap X again on the highlighted download and choose “Resume.”

It will take a few moments for your download to start again, but this time around it should hopefully download even quicker and display a shorter estimated download time. You can try this multiple times, especially if you notice the speed dip again.

Put Your PS4 Into Rest Mode

If you have time to spare and you’re currently not using your PS4, Rest Mode can help improve the speed somewhat. For best results close all applications before you enable rest mode, as described at the start of this article.

Allow PS4 Internet Access While in Rest Mode

Before you put your PS4 into rest mode, you must enable background internet access so that your download will continue while your machine is in standby. Visit the PS4 Settings menu and scroll down to “Power Saving Settings” then tap X. Choose “Set Features Available in Rest Mode” and make sure you enable “Stay Connected to the Internet.”

Put PS4 into Rest Mode

Now you can put your PS4 into rest mode by holding the PS button on your controller, scrolling down to “Power” and choosing “Enter Rest Mode.” You will need to turn your PS4 on again to see the progress of your download.

Use a Wired Connection

Wireless networks can be slow and prone to interference. Even if you have a modern router, you cannot control the weather or your neighbor’s choice of wireless channel. For a far more stable network connection, ditch wireless altogether and use an Ethernet cable instead.

The original PS4 is notoriously bad for its wireless connection, but a wired connection will improve performance on both the Slim and Pro hardware revisions too. If your router is close to your console, this is an easy fix. You’ll find an Ethernet port on the back of all PS4 models, connect one end of a standard Ethernet cable to your console and the other to a free port on your router.

But what if your PS4 and router are in different rooms, or on different floors? Ethernet powerline adapters allow you to use the cables that are already in your walls. We’ve covered how to set up a powerline network in your own house in the past. Check out Review Geek’s recommendations for powerline network adapters for shopping ideas.

For many of us, wireless networks are the only option. The original PS4 model only supports 802.11b/g/n 2.4 GHz wireless, whereas the newer PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro models support dual-band 802.11ac on the 5 GHz band. While 2.4 GHz wireless has better wall penetration than dual-band 5GHz, the old standard is also slower and more susceptible to interference.

If you’re still keen to use a wireless connection, make sure you use 5GHz where possible. Ideally, the router and console should be in the same room, or as close as you can manage. Don’t forget to run a wireless scan to determine the best channels to use to avoid interference. Follow these tips to get a better wireless signal.

RELATED: How To Get a Better Wireless Signal and Reduce Wireless Network Interference

Set Up a Proxy Server

Many users swear that setting up a proxy server on a local machine solved their download woes. A proxy is like a gateway to the internet most commonly found on a corporate network. One Reddit user explains how this can help improve your download speeds:

By getting a computer on your local network to do some of the heavy lifting, it may be possible to increase your download speed. This is especially true for early PlayStation 4 models, which have notoriously flaky network adapters.

The first thing you’ll need do is to download and run a proxy server on your local machine. Windows users can use a free version of CCProxy, while Mac users can use the free app Squidman. Download and install the proxy server on a machine that’s connected to the same network as your PS4.

Configure CCProxy for Windows

To configure your PS4 to use your proxy you’ll need to get two bits of information: the proxy address and the port number. On CCProxy, this is easy—just click on “Options” then check under “Local IP Address” for the IP and “HTTP/RTSP” for the port.

Configure Squidman for Mac

Hold the Options key and click on the Network icon in the top-right corner of the screen. Take note of the “IP Address” of your local machine. Now launch Squidman and go to Squidman > Preferences at the top of the screen. Take note of the “HTTP Port” under General. Now click on the “Clients” tab.

How to Find IP Address on a Mac

You’ll need to add a range of IP addresses that can make use of your new proxy. If your IP address in the previous step looks like “192.168.0.X”, then you can click new and type “192.168.0.0/24” to enable it for the entire range. If your IP address resembles “10.0.0.X”, then you can type “10.0.0.0/16” to enable the whole range.

Squidman Squid Client for Mac

Now click “Save” then “Stop Squid” to stop the server. Click “Start Squid” to start the server again. You’re now ready to configure your PS4.

  1. Access your console’s “Settings” menu and scroll down to “Network” then tap X.
  2. Highlight “Set Up Internet Connection” then tap X.
  3. Choose between “Use Wi-Fi” or “Use a LAN Cable” based on your current setup.
  4. When asked how you want to set up your connection, choose “Custom” and tap X.
  5. Choose a Wi-Fi network and input the password as required.
  6. For “IP Address Settings,” choose “Automatic” and tap X.
  7. For “DHCP Host Name” choose “Do Not Specify” and tap X.
  8. For “DNS Settings,” choose “Automatic” and tap X.
  9. For “MTU Settings,” choose “Automatic” and tap X.
  10. For “Proxy Server” choose “Use” and tap X.
  11. Input the IP address and port information for your server, highlight “Next” and tap X.
  12. Finally, choose “Test Internet Connection” and tap X, then wait for the test to complete.

Keep in mind that your PS4 will need to use this proxy to access the internet. If the IP address of your proxy server changes, your PS4 won’t be able to connect to the internet. For regular operation of your PS4 (playing online games, streaming movies, browsing the PlayStation Store) you don’t really need the proxy server.

Set Up PS4 for Use With Proxy Server

If you don’t want to have your PS4 reliant on a proxy all of the time, you can undo these changes. That means setting up the PS4 internet connection again and choosing “Do Not Use” when prompted for a proxy server (opting for “Easy” network set up will also work).

Your Mileage May Vary: Change Your DNS Servers

DNS stands for Domain Name System, and it’s a bit like an address book for the web. The DNS servers you use determine which servers are resolved when you enter a web address. If you haven’t changed DNS servers, you’re using your service provider’s defaults.

Some users swear that changing DNS servers solved their PS4 download speed issues. Others think it’s a placebo effect. Some have theories that your choice of DNS servers affect which servers your console uses for downloads. We don’t know for sure how this one works. Either way, we recommend using Cloudflare or Google’s DNS servers since they are likely faster than those provided by your internet service provider.

The best way to do this is to change your DNS servers on your router, which will affect all devices on your network. If you go this route, you won’t need to input manual DNS server changes on each device. Learn more about how to change your router’s DNS servers.

If you’re willing to give it a go, you can use alternative DNS servers provided by Google (8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4), CloudFlare (1.1.1.1), or choose the fastest DNS servers based on your location.

Set Up Custom DNS for PS4

If you don’t want to change the DNS server for your entire home network, you can change it just on your PS4. You don’t need to do this if you’ve already changed it on your router!

To change which DNS servers your PS4 is using:

  1. Access your console’s “Settings” menu and scroll down to “Network” then tap X.
  2. Highlight “Set Up Internet Connection” then tap X.
  3. Choose between “Use Wi-Fi” or “Use a LAN Cable” based on your current setup.
  4. When asked how you want to set up your connection, choose “Custom” and tap X.
  5. Choose a Wi-Fi network and input the password as required.
  6. For “IP Address Settings,” choose “Automatic” and tap X.
  7. For “DHCP Host Name” choose “Do Not Specify” and tap X.
  8. For “DNS Settings,” choose “Manual” and tap X.
  9. Add two DNS servers of your choice in the “Primary DNS” and “Secondary DNS” fields then select “Next” and tap X.
  10. For “MTU Settings,” choose “Automatic” and tap X.
  11. For “Proxy Server” choose “Do Not Use” and tap X.
  12. Finally, choose “Test Internet Connection” and tap X, then wait for the test to complete.

Could the Problem Be Your Internet Speed?

When was the last time you tested your internet speed? If your internet speed is slow to begin with, nothing you do to your PS4 is going to improve things. Test your connection using a laptop or desktop computer by going to Speedtest.net or by downloading the Speedtest apps for iOS and Android.

If your speed isn’t up to par, then it’s time to take the issue up with your service provider. It’s also worth testing multiple times, at different times of day, to better diagnose the issue.

RELATED: Why You Probably Aren't Getting the Internet Speeds You're Paying For (and How to Tell)

Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
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