When you search “what is my internet speed,” you likely want to find a site to test your speed. But how can you trust these sites? Also, what do you do if your internet speed is unusually slow?
Below, we will provide you with 10 proven sites for testing internet speed. We will also guide you on what to do if your internet is too slow.
Why is it important to know your internet speed?
Why do people search “what is my internet speed” so often? The short answer: It dictates what they can do on the internet.
As the internet continues to grow, so do its services. Those services require a certain amount of megabytes per second (Mbps) download speed. If your high-speed internet falls short of those needs, you will suffer from performance issues.
Below is a quick list of different uses and their download speed requirements:
- Browsing, checking email, or social media use - 1 Mbps
- Video streaming services (Netflix or Hulu) - 5 Mbps
- Music streaming services - 2 Mbps
- One-on-one video conferencing - 10 Mbps
- 4K video streaming - 7 Mbps
- Group video conferencing - 25 Mbps
When answering the “how much speed do I need” question, consider the number of people and devices in your household. If there is a chance multiple people can stream on multiple devices, it’s best to assume that might happen.
Sites you can use to find your internet speed for free
If you want to answer the “what is my internet speed right now” question, here are a few trusted speed test websites you can use:
Below, we will go into detail on how each of these speed tests differs.
1. Many testing sites - Google Fiber
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is one of the largest tech companies in the world. Because of this, they have many servers where you can conduct tests.
You can choose any server, regardless of distance. Because some websites live in different locations, this is valuable information.
Google keeps things simple, breaking your speed test into four areas:
- Ping - how fast the first connection is made to the server’s IP address
- Download speed - how quickly you receive connections
- Jitter - the delay between each data packet sent
- Upload speed - how fast your internet consistently sends data
Jitter is an excellent measurement tool of how strong your WiFi connection is over long distances. Few speed tests provide this information.
If you want to save time, Googling “what is my internet speed” can bring up a speed test directly from the search engine. The search engine has a built-in tool for testing your internet speed for free. All you need to give is 30 seconds of your time.
2. Includes outage information - Ookla
Ookla, better known as Speedtest.net, is one of the most trusted providers regarding speed. In our comparison of the fastest internet providers, we used data from the Global Speed Index to compare the fastest internet providers.
Ookla uses three standard methods of speed testing: upload speed, download speed, and ping. Ookla is unique because it provides you with information about local outages. It makes use of Downdetector to find errors.
The settings option (found at the top) allows you to change your server location. You can choose to test your connection from any distance, which is pretty useful.
Creating an account allows you to store your speed testing data. Accessing historical data can be handy, as you can compare your speed to others living in the same location.
3. Helpful information for testing server loads - Fast
Fast uses a minimalist interface, making getting the information you need easy. Fast looks at your speed by testing two servers simultaneously. This testing method provides more information about your connection speed under multiple distances.
Fast allows you to change the settings by the duration of the test and the number of parallel connections. Testing across multiple parallel links is a great stress test for your home network.
Fast also runs latency tests, which are tests that measure the amount of time between data packets from your device to the testing server. There are two types of latency it measures:
- Unloaded latency (requests when there is no other traffic)
- Loaded latency (requests when data-heavy applications are in use)
Latency issues might be a sign of issues with your router. Other results for the “what is my internet speed” question don’t often have this information.
Unlike other speed testing platforms, Fast doesn’t offer any account creation. Instead, its test is run based on a series of uploads and downloads to the nearest Netflix server.
4. An incredibly comprehensive speed testing tool - TestMy
TestMy has three default speed tests to choose from:
- Upload speed
- Download speed
- Automatic speed test
The upload and download speed tests are self-explanatory. The automatic speed is helpful because it checks both internet speed types every hour for 12 hours.
There are no other internet speed test providers that do this, making TestMy incredibly unique. It’s an excellent way for you to test whether or not your provider is giving you the internet you pay for.
The company will allow you to create an account, so you don’t have to keep the browser window open for 12 hours. So this way, you can receive a comprehensive results list in a single report.
TestMy also allows you to test latency at varying distances and services. You can test yourself at Bangalore, Sydney, Google, Cloudflare, or Amazon. TestMy is likely the most comprehensive platform on this list.
5. Easily readable tables - Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a trusted source of information known mainly for speeding up websites. The company’s lesser-known (but valuable) internet speed testing tool is a wealth of information.
It provides everything you’ve come to expect from other speed testers on this list. This data includes download speed, upload speed, ping, and jitter.
Where Cloudflare gets interesting is through its later tests. You can see a map showing how far away you are physically from the server.
Cloudflare’s test takes about a minute because it runs multiple tests. It downloads files in four different sizes:
- 100 kilobytes (Kb)
- 1 Mb
- 10 Mb
- 25 Mb
It also tests upload rates at 100 Kb and 1 Kb. Knowing how your device reacts to larger downloads can be helpful. The information you see will also show you minimum speeds, maximum speeds, and how you compare to other people running the test.
There’s a lot of data here that can help you when you are slower than you should be. Given Cloudflare’s stellar reputation, it might help you when speaking with your service provider.
Why is my internet speed slower than what I pay for?
Your internet speed is slower than what you pay for because most internet plans use “up to” in their contract. This specific wording allows internet service providers to reduce your speed.
When your internet provider reduces your speed below what you pay for, this is known as data throttling.
While this can be frustrating, it isn’t too challenging to manage (we’ve got you). But before you call your internet service provider, it’s best to understand the problem. Here are the most common reasons for data throttling:
You are over your data cap
Data throttling is often a result of going over a data cap. These caps are monthly limitations set by providers based on how much you pay.
More expensive internet plans often ignore data caps. Sometimes, you can pay for unlimited data to avoid this situation altogether.
Satellite internet providers must rely on data caps to avoid losing money. Because handling a satellite connection is more expensive, data caps prevent them from letting spending get wildly out of control.
When you commit a data overage, you will receive a warning, a fine, or slower speeds. While not too bad, it can be a mild headache.
What can I do if I’m over my data limits?
You can call your provider to ask for a one-time exception. If the provider doesn’t grant your exception, express your disappointment and state that you might have to look for another provider.
You will get better results when expressing your willingness to solve the problem. When trying to stop your data overages, you have one of three options:
- Curb your internet usage
- Upgrade your plan
- Switch to an unlimited provider
If you don’t go over your data caps often and your budget is tight, finding out what is eating your data is the best solution. Many internet providers allow you to monitor your usage with an app. You can find out what device is the culprit through your account.
Otherwise, call your ISP and ask how to access your router’s admin page. Your router also contains the same information.
You can also upgrade your plan to bump up your data caps. Check with your ISP to ensure the next level will increase your data limits before upgrading. If your usage is excessive (even over the next highest cap), it might be time to consider an unlimited plan.
If you ask, “do I need faster internet,” you also get more data to work with. After all, faster internet means you run through data a bit faster. Keep this in mind when buying plans.
There are too many people on the network
Network congestion happens when too many users are on the same network. You’ll often see this by region, meaning congestion occurs for everyone connected to a specific data center.
You’ll often see this more often on late weekends when more people are at home. Even larger internet providers follow this practice.
Good providers will take ownership of the issue. You might see on your app or your provider’s website that there is an announcement. Otherwise, you can call to see if there is network congestion.
What can I do if I experience network congestion?
After calling to confirm the congestion, you might switch to lower-impact internet activities. If streaming, you can reduce your video quality in some cases.
Some people have reported that using a VPN, or virtual private network, solves this problem. A VPN hides your location from your ISP. So if your provider doesn’t think you are in a throttled region, you might not experience the slowdown.
Because most ISPs rely on account data these days, not all of them will be affected by a VPN. So typically, your best option is to wait it out. If this is a common issue, you might shop for other providers.
Your ISP doesn’t like the services you use
Internet service providers sometimes prefer specific traffic sources. This situation can be frustrating and hard to catch with a regular speed test. When focusing on the best home internet, most good providers avoid this practice.
For example, your ISP might have a deal to prefer traffic from Netflix. So when you try Hulu, you experience slower data, which reduces the video quality. This makes Netflix look good by comparison.
This practice is known as broadband discrimination. Many people believe ISPs shouldn’t be allowed to limit specific connections like this, which is the core concept of net neutrality. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a tool you can use to test various ISPs for this practice.
Torrenting is a popular target of ISP throttling. However, much of that throttling comes from what people torrent, which is often illegal files. ISPs will also throttle anyone performing illicit activities.
How do I know what the best speed is for me?
When asking the “what is my internet speed” question, you might wonder if your speed is enough. You can find out pretty easily by using the InternetAdvisor Internet Speed Wizard.
The wizard asks you a series of questions about your household and their internet habits. It takes you through the process and asks for your zip code at the end. Through this system, you’ll be sure the speed you get is suited for your needs.