How to Test Your Internet Speed for Free

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If you’re trying to figure out if you’re getting the broadband speed advertised by your provider, or if it’s a slow internet connection that’s causing videos to buffer, we’ll walk you through a few ways to do it.

It can often be difficult to know if it’s your home WiFi or broadband that’s slow. Also, running a “WiFi Speed ​​Test” isn’t the same as checking your broadband speed, but there are plenty of apps (and people) that use the two terms interchangeably.

If you try to test your Internet speed over a weak or slow Wi-Fi connection, you may not get real numbers as low Wi-Fi speed can be the bottleneck. This is actually a test of the entire connection from your device – a PC, laptop, phone or tablet – to a server on the internet. So it tests your Wi-Fi speed as well as your broadband speed. Of course you can test your mobile data speed if you run the test on your phone with Wi-Fi disabled.

But what if you want to be sure how fast your broadband connection is at your router? Well you are in the right place because we are going to tell you everything you need to know.

It is important to know that internet speed depends on many factors. Sometimes when you and all of your roommates, family members, or even neighbors are streaming Netflix at the same time, things can slow down. Or it could be that a dodgy Wi-Fi connection is running slowly, making you think your broadband provider is to blame.

If you are using a VPN, this could be the cause of slow loading of websites. Make sure to turn off all VPNs before testing — unless you’re testing your VPN provider’s speeds.

Free Internet Speed ​​Test

The service we use to check broadband speeds is Speedtest.net. You can do this in a web browser or download the app for Android and iPhone.

It’ll tell you how fast your connection is in a few minutes, but make sure you’re close to your router if you’re running the test on a device connected via Wi-Fi.

There are of course many others. Some include Fast.com, broadbandspeedchecker.co.uk, and broadbandgenie.co.uk.

To rule out the possibility of slow Wi-Fi, it’s best to run the test using a laptop or PC connected directly to your router with an Ethernet cable.

It really depends on how fast your broadband is: the latest full fiber connections deliver close to 1Gbps, which is faster than most Wi-Fi routers can offer. But virtually all ISP-provided routers offer Wi-Fi, which is faster than your broadband speed. Those that support Wi-Fi 5 should be able to handle 300-500Mbps at close range.

If you want to see how fast your home WiFi works, you can test the WiFi speed as follows.

Be aware that many broadband packages are asynchronous, meaning they offer different upload and download speeds. Download speeds are the headlines you hear about because they’re often much faster. Upload speeds can be very slow – up to 90% slower than download speeds – which is why, for example, it can take forever to upload a video to YouTube when it’s much faster to download from YouTube.

If you’re having trouble with Zoom calls where your own video stops and starts, you should test your upload speed and keep in mind that smart cameras recording to the cloud use up some of your upload bandwidth.

Internet speed tests should tell you both your upload and download speeds.

You should also report your “ping,” which represents the latency of your connection. This is important for real-time applications such as online gaming and video calls. A lower number is better.

To get real results, make sure your internet connection isn’t being used for anything else during the test, and connect to your router with an ethernet cable if possible, as it’s likely to be faster than your Wi-Fi.

Note: Download and upload speeds are reported in Mbps, which is megabits per second, not to be confused with megabytes per second. To convert between the two, divide a speed in megabits per second by 8 to get the number in megabytes per second.

You can also get apps for some speed checkers, including the ever-popular Speedtest, for iOS and Android. This is what the Android version looks like along with the test results.

Test internet speed for free

How to test your WiFi speed

If your speed result is slower than expected and you ran the test over Wi-Fi, you can check your Wi-Fi speed separately to see if that’s the problem or not. It’s difficult to find a Wi-Fi speed test app as many broadband test apps call themselves “Wi-Fi Speed ​​Test”.

However, there is an Android app called WiFi Speed ​​Test by Zoltán Pallagi that allows you to disable the internet part and easily see how fast your local WiFi is. It’s not the prettiest, but it serves its purpose.

How to test WiFi speed

This only tests the upload speed, i.e. the speed from your phone (or tablet) to your router or access point you are connected to. Again, speed is limited by the slowest device – your router might be the latest model with Wi-Fi 6 support, but if your phone doesn’t also support the same speed, the result you see will be the speed of the slowest device.

Here we tested with a Huawei P30 Pro (Wi-Fi 5) connected to a Linksys Velop tri-band mesh system. (Ignore the BT hub’s SSID – this was cloned onto the Velop system to avoid having to reconfigure a whole bunch of devices with a new Wi-Fi network.) The 461Mbps speed is very good and much faster than the 37Mbps download speed we got from BT.

You can use this app in different places in your home to see how speeds vary in different rooms or even in the garden. Knowing the best place to place your router or mesh WiFi devices can be very helpful.

What internet speed do I need for Netflix, Zoom and Gaming?

If the reason for testing your broadband speed is to see if it’s good enough for specific tasks, here are some recommended speeds:

  • Standard definition video streaming at 1.5 Mbps download
  • HD video streaming at 5Mbps download
  • 4K video streaming: 25Mbps download
  • 8K video streaming: 50 Mbps download (minimum – 100 Mbps recommended)
  • Zoom/Teams video call: 4Mbps download/3Mbps upload (for HD)
  • Online gaming: <50ms desirable, <100ms usable. Over 150ms may be unusable

If you are not satisfied with the speeds of these testing tools, check out the best UK broadband services, best UK broadband deals, best mesh Wi-Fi systems and also learn how to reduce ping.

Also, here are some great ones Tips to speed up and improve your home Wi-Fi speeds.

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