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The Essential Guide to Internet Speed Tests

Although you're paying for a certain level of speed on your internet plan, there's a chance that your connection isn't hitting the speed that's been promised.

Internet speeds can vary throughout the day depending on how many people are using your connection at any one time, and whether the entire network is particularly busy, such as in the evening.

Providers might tempt you to handover more cash for faster speeds but the reality is that the average person isn't going to need anything too excessive. If you sign up for a higher speed you may not even really notice the difference unless you require that speed for a specific use such as uploading large files.

If you've been struggling with slower than usual internet it's a good idea to check using an online speed tester in order to confirm that you're getting the most out of your internet. To help you out, we've put together a quick guide to the best speed tests available online.

How Internet Speed Tests Work

Internet speed tests work by downloading and uploading sample files to test the maximum speed of your internet. They aren't completely accurate but give you a pretty decent idea of where your connection is sitting.

A decent internet speed is about 50 Mps - you're not likely to need any faster than this for the way that most of us use the internet. Simple browsing, streaming and downloading will never put too much of a strain on your connection and you’ll only need higher than 50 Mps if you're doing a lot of uploading and downloading of huge files.

Speed tests will also measure your 'ping'. This number tells you the time it takes for data to travel to its destination and then back to your device, measured in milliseconds. Typical ping times range from 5 to 30 milliseconds, although you won't notice any significant lag until it gets higher than 50. If you're using your internet for online gaming, you'll be more likely to struggle with a higher ping and will experience interruptions.

Your speed test results should be exactly what you are paying for. If you're signed up for a 100 Mps plan but your speed test is only showing a rate of 80 Mps then you aren't getting the most out of your plan. Your upload speed will typically be lower than your download speed since most people download far more than they upload.

Online Internet Speed Tests

There are many internet speed tests available online, along with a number of apps that you can use to check the speed on your phone and other devices. Here are just a few of the more popular ones you will come across:

Google Speed Test

Conveniently, Google has a built in internet speed test that offers basic information about your connection. It is built into the search engine and can be accessed by simply searching ‘internet speed test’ into the search bar. Note that by completely the test through Google you agree to provide certain information to the research project Measurement Lab and the information about your test will be publicly published - but not with any identifying information about you.

Speedtest by Ookla

One of the most popular speed tests on the internet, Speedtest completes over ten million unique tests every day from users across the world. Founded in 2006, Speedtest is straightforward and easy to use with all of the information that you need displayed. Speedtest also have apps for iOS, Android, macOS, Windows and more so that you can monitor your internet speed across your devices.

Fast by Netflix

Netflix has created its own internet speed test called Fast. It helps its userbase quickly check whether a lagging internet connection is the cause behind their slow streaming. It's got a very simple layout and prioritises displaying your download speed with the option to access extra information if you need to. You'll also get some info about the location of your servers and your IP address.

Need Help Choosing the Right Internet Provider For You?

Compare and Connect can help you choose your next internet provider. Have a look at our handy broadband comparison tool or give us a call for assistance from one of our friendly staff members. We believe you should only be paying for what you really need and can ensure you're choosing the best plan for you.

Sally Writes 21 Oct 2022