Here’s why anime shows keep buffering on different streaming websites:
This happens because the connection between you and the site is too slow or unstable.
This can be due to your own internet service being too slow, the anime site being slow, too much traffic splitting bandwidth, and a handful of other problems.
If you can determine the problem, then applying a fix is usually easy.
So if you want to learn all about why anime shows get stuck at buffering on streaming websites, then you’re in the right place.
Let’s jump right into it!
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What Are Streaming Websites?
Surely, you’re familiar with the idea of streaming, but since we’re discussing anime, I want to clarify a few things.
There are a lot (and I mean a lot) of different websites where you can stream anime.
Some are streaming giants (like Netflix).
Others are obscure and not necessarily safe to use.
There’s a lot between those extremes too.
Today, we’re discussing all of them.
No matter the size or design, if it’s a website where you watch anime, it’s up for discussion.
What Is Buffering?
Wait a minute.
We’re trying to have this conversation about buffering, but are you really clear on what it means?
We’ve all seen the word on different players that say we’re waiting for buffering, but that really doesn’t explain much.
In computers, buffering is a term that can apply to a lot of different scenarios.
At a technical level, buffering is when a computerized system preloads data into a designated area.
That can mean a lot of things.
A computer can buffer inputs in a video game to make timing easier.
A video player can buffer video data so that it can give you continuous playback even if the internet connection is inconsistent.
That second one is what we’re really talking about today.
When you watch a show on the internet, there’s usually a bar at the bottom of the screen that lets you control playback.
It shows you how much you have watched and how much time remains on that video.
Sometimes, it also displays a few different colors.
The parts you already watched might be one color while the parts that have yet to play are another color.
On the part you haven’t watched, you’ll sometimes also see two colors (or the same color with a section that is darker).
One of the colors usually connects directly to the “already watched” color, and it extends to the right for a little bit.
This is the “buffer bar.”
It can have different names, but it’s giving you an idea as to how much of the video has been preloaded.
So, if your internet cut off entirely right at that moment, you would be able to keep watching until the video hit the end of the buffer bar.
When we say that a video is buffering, usually that means that playback has stopped so that your computer can download more information and extend that buffer bar a little bit.
Typically, players will only allow you to buffer up to a few minutes of video at a time.
This helps reduce demand so that the average user has a better experience.
Imagine if you could have 10 different videos all buffering to complete at the same time.
That’s a lot of bandwidth, especially if many users do the same thing.
With this limit, you can’t put as much strain on the website.
The drawback is that your buffer window is limited, and it’s easier to run into a buffering situation.
All of this is to say that the term “buffering” usually refers to a pause in video playback for the sake of downloading the yet unplayed part of the video.
Why Does Buffering Happen on Different Streaming Websites? (4 Reasons)
Now that we’ve clarified what buffering really is, we can talk about why it happens and what to do about it.
As I already said, there are a lot of streaming websites out there.
That means that we have to consider a few different reasons as to why this happens.
After we cover the why’s, we’ll get into what you can do about it.
#1 Your Internet
One of the most common reasons for buffering is a slow internet connection.
If your internet speeds aren’t high enough, then streaming anime is going to be a slow process—especially if you are streaming high-definition video.
The thing to keep in mind is that this doesn’t necessarily depend on your internet package.
You might be paying for plenty of bandwidth, but sometimes, internet resources are slow.
It can be temporary and related to a lot of different issues, but if your internet is slow, all of the anime sites are likely to come with a lot of buffering.
The easiest way to see if the problem is with your internet is to run a speed test.
If your download speeds are about 25 Mb/s, then you should be able to watch high-definition without buffering.
Although, there is a second thing to consider.
You might be overtaxing your internet.
If you have multiple devices streaming, gaming, or otherwise using a lot of internet bandwidth at the same time, you might be demanding more than your internet connection can provide.
In this case, the speed test will give you good numbers, but you’ll still have buffering.
Consider disconnecting a few devices to see if it helps.
#2 High Demand
Assuming your internet isn’t a problem, another common source of buffering is high demand.
The most popular shows are in high demand right after they are released.
If you’re trying to watch the latest episode of One Piece (for example) within minutes of it becoming available, it’s going to be in high demand, and you might see buffering.
Technically, this is a problem on the site’s end, but it’s one that they can’t fix easily.
In fact, you’ll find that most anime sites have buffering problems with hot releases.
You can test this pretty easily.
Try watching an old show that no one is talking about.
If it plays just fine, then the show you were trying to watch earlier is probably in high demand.
#3 Poor Upkeep
It’s also worth noting that not all websites are equal.
The most prominent streaming sites for anime include Crunchyroll, Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.
These are massive sites with a lot of money and upkeep, and they buffer a lot less.
But, if you want to watch an anime in simulcast (as in watching new episodes each week as soon as they come out), Netflix, Hulu, and Prime aren’t great options.
They tend to have very few, if any, simulcast options.
That means, for the most part, you’re watching brand-new anime on much smaller sites, and their upkeep isn’t as robust.
To put it simply, they just can’t handle the traffic and speeds of those bigger sites, and that’s why many of them have buffering problems.
#4 Security Software
The last thing to consider is another problem that might show up on your end.
If you have any security software at all, it can interrupt your streaming quality.
Firewalls can block unknown sites.
Security scans can eat up computer resources that make many things slow.
There are a lot of possibilities, but there’s an easy way to check your security software.
Load a show on a site you trust, and then temporarily disable your security software (there’s usually a way to do that in the app’s settings).
See if it makes a difference.
If it does, then you found the source of the issue.
How Can You Overcome Buffering on Different Streaming Websites? (4 Ways)
Now that you know what causes buffering problems when you’re streaming anime, these solutions will make a lot of sense.
For the most part, you’re trying to find the specific cause so you can strategize around it.
This is the trick everyone seems to understand intuitively.
If you pause the video and wait for a few minutes, the computer can buffer the video, and you can resume watching normally.
This trick really does work in a lot of situations, and it’s because buffering often stems from temporary problems.
Considering the entire list of things I covered in the previous sections, they’re usually not permanent issues.
So, pause the video.
Let the buffer bar get a few minutes ahead of you, and then start watching again.
Sure, it’s disruptive, but it’s definitely the easiest solution, and it often works.
#2 Look for a Download Link
A lot of sites will allow you to fully download a show.
This is a feature that is offered so you can watch shows on an airplane or get ahead of scheduled internet outages.
There are plenty of rationalizations.
The point is that if you look around, there might be a download link.
Now, for most legitimate sites (as in they aren’t engaging in piracy), the downloads expire after some time.
That’s important to remember, but since they are full downloads, you don’t have to worry about buffering.
Even if the download is a bit slow, you can wait it out and start watching when the download is complete.
With this practice, buffering is never a problem because you aren’t watching the show until your computer already has all of the data it needs.
There is one thing to keep in mind.
Don’t download from sites you don’t trust.
Unless you are certain that the download is safe, leave it alone.
There are disreputable sites that stream anime, and download links from them might include malicious software.
#3 Switch It Up
If you can find the specific problem causing buffering, then you know what to change to solve the problem.
If your internet is slow, you can take a mobile device to a public Wi-Fi resource that isn’t slow.
If only one of your devices is slow, watch on the device that is doing well.
If one site gives you a problem, try another site.
You get the idea.
Isolate the problem using the information I gave you, and then adjust accordingly.
I already mentioned waiting for buffering or a download, but there is one more case where this applies.
If you can determine that the buffering is due to a show’s popularity, then wait about two days.
On average, that’s long enough for demand to fall off a little, and you’ll be able to watch your show without buffering.
For extremely popular episodes, you might have to wait three days.
I’m speaking from experience here.
This does come with the risk of running into spoilers while you wait.
That’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.
If you don’t think you can avoid spoilers, then you’ll want to double down on one of the other solutions.