Throttling by shared hosts

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Can any experts explain throttling?

For example, when I am using FTP to copy an entire forum including all
sub-directories to a backup directory on my PC, it slows down and sometimes will time out and stop.

I presume this is due to throttling. If not, what?

If you can explain how throttling works, or point to an existing post that does explain it, please do. Any tips on dealing with it would be useful info also.

Thanks!

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