If your internet connection seems slow, the first step is often to benchmark it using an internet speed test. This type of test can give you a fairly accurate indication of how much bandwidth is available to you at the current time.
See How to Test Your Internet Speed for a full tutorial on testing your bandwidth and help to determine when using something other than one of these speed testers is a better idea.
Internet speed tests are great for proving that you are, or are not, getting the bandwidth from your ISP that you're paying for. They can also help determine if bandwidth throttling is something your ISP is engaging in.
Test your bandwidth with one or more of these free sites, and then compare that information with the high-speed plan you've signed up for.
The best test would be one between you and any given website you're using, but these should give a general idea of the kind of bandwidth you have available. See our 5 Rules for a More Accurate Internet Speed Test for more advice.
ISP Hosted Internet Speed Tests
Testing your internet speed between you and your Internet Service Provider is the best way to go if you're planning on making an argument with your ISP about your slow internet connection.
While it's possible that some of the other more generic speed tests further down our list are technically more accurate, it'll be a hard case to make to your ISP that your service isn't as fast as it should be unless you can show the same with the bandwidth tests they provide.
Here's more on the official internet speed test sites for a number of popular internet service providers:
- AT&T High-Speed Internet Speed Test
- CableOne (Sparklight)
- Cablevision (Optimum)
- CCI (SureWest)
- CenturyLink Broadband Speed Test (Quest)
- Charter Speed Test (Spectrum)
- Comcast Speed Test (Xfinity)
- Consolidated Communications
- Cox Internet Speed Test
- Fios Speed Test (Verizon)
- Frontier Speed Test
- GCI Speed Test
- Google Fiber
- Grande Communications
- Midcontinent Speed Test
- Optimum (Cablevision)
- Quest Broadband Speed Test (CenturyLink)
- RCN Speed Test
- Shaw Speed Test
- SKYBEAM Speed Test (Rise Broadband)
- Spectrum Speed Test (Charter)
- Suddenlink Speed Test
- SureWest Internet Speed Test (CCI)
- TDS Telecommunications Speed Test
- Telus Internet Speed Test
- Time Warner Cable Speed Test (Charter)
- Verizon FiOS Speedtest (Fios)
- WOW! (WideOpenWest)
- Xfinity Speed Test (Comcast)
Are we missing the official internet speed test site for your ISP or service? Let us know the name of the ISP and the link to the bandwidth test, and we'll get it added.
Service-Based Speed Tests
These days, one of the primary reasons to test your internet speed is to make sure it's fast enough for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO/NOW, etc.
At the moment, Netflix's Fast.com is the only major service-specific speed test available. It measures your download speed by testing your connection between your device and Netflix's servers.
It's important to note that "Netflix's servers" refers to the servers they use in their content delivery system called Open Connect, which is a way for ISPs to more easily deliver Netflix content to their customers.
Therefore, the results you see at Fast.com are probably pretty similar to the results you'd get with a speed test directly from your ISP.
This means that the Fast.com speed test is useful not only for finding out how fast of a connection you have with Netflix but also other things you do online like download files.
Let us know if you come across any more and we'd be happy to add them here.
Most tests like this one are not a good way to test your overall bandwidth and will probably not hold much weight for an argument with your ISP. However, Netflix's speed test is a bit different since the results are determined by pinging the speed you're getting from your ISP.
All things considered, SpeedOf.Me is the best non-ISP internet speed test available.
The best thing about this internet speed test service is that it works via HTML5, which is built-in to your browser, instead of Java or another technology that might require a browser plugin to be installed already.
On most computers, this makes SpeedOf.Me faster to load and less of a burden on system resources... and almost certainly more accurate.
SpeedOf.Me utilizes 100+ servers around the world, and your internet speed test is run from the quickest and most reliable one at the given time.
HTML5 support also means that SpeedOf.Me works well in the browsers available on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.
TestMy.net is easy to use, provides lots of information on how it works, and uses HTML5, which means it runs well (and fast) on mobile and desktop devices.
Multithreading is supported to test your internet connection speed against multiple servers at once for a single result, or you can choose just one server out of the handful that are available.
The results of a speed test can be shared as a graph, image, or text.
One of our favorite things about TestMy.net is all of the comparison data it provides. You're, of course, given your own download and upload speed but also how your speeds compare to the average of testers from your ISP, city, and country.
Speedtest.net is probably the most well-known speed test. It's fast, free, and has available to it a huge list of worldwide test locations, making for more accurate results than average.
Speedtest.net also keeps a log of all the internet speed tests that you perform and creates an attractive results graphic you can share online.
Mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows are also available from Speedtest.net, allowing you to test your internet speed from your phone to their servers! Other Speedtest apps are available, too, like for Apple TV and Chrome.
The nearest internet testing server is automatically calculated based on your IP address.
Speedtest.net is operated by Ookla, a major provider of speed test technology to other internet speed test sites. See more about Ookla at the bottom of the page.
Bandwidth Place is yet another great internet speed test option with over 50 servers across the world.
Like speedof.me above, Bandwidth Place works via HTML5, meaning it would be a great choice for an internet speed test from your mobile browser.
Don't use Bandwidth Place as your only test, but it might be a good choice if you'd like to confirm the results you're getting with a better service like SpeedOf.Me or TestMy.net.
Speakeasy, now called Fusion Connect, lets you test your internet speed back and forth from a short list of server locations that you can choose manually or have chosen for you automatically.
This one might be to your liking if you're for some reason interested in testing your internet speed between yourself and a specific area of the US versus the closest server possible.
Ookla provides the engine and servers for Speakeasy, making it very similar to Speedtest.net, but I've included it here due to its popularity.
Ookla and Internet Speed Test Sites
Ookla has a kind of monopoly on internet speed testing, probably because they've made it so easy to use their technology on other sites. If you look carefully at a lot of internet speed test sites you find in search engine results, you might notice that ubiquitous Ookla logo.
Some of these speed tests, however, like some of the ISP-hosted tests above, are powered by Ookla's excellent software but use their own server as testing points. In those cases, especially when testing your internet speed against what you're paying for, those tests are better bets than Speedtest.net.
Many of these Ookla-powered bandwidth tests are essentially identically, meaning you're better off sticking with Ooka's own Speedtest.net.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What's a good speed test result? A "good" result can vary, depending on numerous factors and the internet speed you're paying for, but generally, you'll want to see 1 to 5 Mbps for activities like web browsing and checking email; 15 to 25 Mbps for streaming HD video; 40 to 100 Mbps for online gaming; and 200 Mbps or higher for 4K streaming, large downloads, and intensive online gaming.
- Is 11.8 Mbps a good download speed? Yes, if you're just on the internet for routine tasks, such as checking mail and browsing the web. However, it's not a good speed for more data-intensive tasks, such as downloading videos or playing games online.
- Is 400 Mbps a good internet speed? Yes, 400 Mbps is on the faster end of the internet speed spectrum. With 400 Mbps speed, you'll have no trouble downloading videos, online gaming, videoconferencing, and more.
- Is 100 Mbps fast? Yes, a speed of 100 Mbps is considered a good download speed. You should have no problem with tasks such as downloading files, watching videos on Netflix, uploading files, and sharing your screen over Zoom. A faster speed might be necessary, however, if you live with multiple people using the internet on multiple devices at the same time.
- What factors might be hurting my broadband performance? There are many factors affecting your internet speed. Aside from your broadband connection, it's important to consider your router, broadband plan, your provider's network, how many people are online in your household, your router and computer's ages, and your network's overall capacity.
- What's the difference between bandwidth and speed? Bandwidth is the overall size of the conduit in which your data travels, while speed refers to the actual rate at which your data travels.