Is My Internet Speed Test Result Fast Enough?
Our speed test tool is designed to help you understand how your internet connection performs on a daily basis. As you can see from the data above, internet speeds are improving across the country in 2020. For a more detailed comparison, you can also view average speed test results for internet providers in New York, Denver, Atlanta, and every other city in the U.S. by visiting our dedicated city data pages.
At speeds below 2 Mbps, you will be very limited in terms of what you can do online.
1-2 Mbps is suitable for:
- Basic web browsing
- Checking email
- Single-user homes
Speeds of 2–10 Mbps offer a bit more flexibility than the bottom end, but you’ll still be limited if you want to stream HD media or download large files.
2–10 Mbps is suitable for:
- Basic web browsing
- Streaming standard or HD content on one device at a time
- Single or two-user homes
At the 10–25 Mbps level, you should have little to no trouble performing basic tasks online, as well as streaming HD content. Keep in mind that large families or users with many devices may still experience slower-than-expected performance. Using WiFi can also reduce your performance in this range.
10–25 Mbps is suitable for:
- Streaming HD content on one to two devices at a time
- Online gaming
- One to four-user homes
Speeds of around 25 Mbps should be sufficient for the average internet user. You can stream HD content on multiple devices, play online games, and handle medium/larger downloads with relative ease.
25+ Mbps speeds are suitable for:
- Streaming HD content on multiple devices or 4K content on one device at a time
- Playing online games and downloading medium-sized files
- Medium-sized families of two to six people
Speeds above 50 Mbps should be more than enough for the majority of internet users, regardless of the task at hand. You can stream HD or even 4K content with ease, use multiple devices at once, and download large files without prohibitive download times.
Speeds of 50 Mbps or more are suitable for:
- Heavy streaming or gaming households, 4K content
- Large families of power users
- Frequent large downloads
Why Run An Internet Speed Test?
For one, it could potentially save you some money.
Yes, really. You may be paying for more speed than you actually need, and these additional fees could be costing you month after month. Based on the information above, if you find that your internet speeds are higher than needed, we’d recommend reaching out to your ISP (Internet Service Provider) and switching to a lower-cost plan.
Then there’s the flipside; you may be paying for speeds you’re not actually getting. Running our internet speed test is the best way to determine if your provider is actually holding up their end of the bargain. If you test your connection multiple times and find that you aren’t getting what you’re paying for, we recommend reaching out to your ISP for help. This will often solve the issue, but not always.
Keep in mind that using WiFi tends to reduce performance. The speeds advertised by internet providers are based on the speed you get with a device wired directly to the router using an ethernet cable.
How To Run A Speed Test
Before you start the test, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the most accurate results.
- Be sure to place the laptop, tablet or smartphone you are using as close to your router as possible. Distance, walls, plumbing and other factors can all have an effect on your results.
- Be sure to turn off any other devices that might be clogging your connection. This includes TV’s, streaming devices, and other computers around your home.
- On the device you are using for testing, be sure that you aren’t actively downloading any files or updates before beginning the test.
Understanding Your Internet Speed Test Results
In order to better understand your internet speed test, it is vital to know the difference between upload speed and download speed.
Upload speed refers to how quickly your connection can send something (data, in this case) from your device to the wider internet. This number is often not the one heavily advertised by service providers online, and this is on purpose. In short, most activities online do not require high upload speeds. Some do, however, including Skype and other video chat services, online gaming, and large cloud storage applications like Dropbox and Google Drive.
Download speed refers to how quickly your connection can retrieve data from a website or server online. Almost all activities require a certain amount of download speed, so this is the main number you’ll want to pay attention to when deciding how much internet speed you need. Streaming multiple TV shows or movies at the same time (especially 4K media) and downloading large files are both examples of activities that require higher download speeds than average.
How Much Internet Speed Do I Really Need?
Determining how much internet speed you actually need is really a matter of how you use the internet on a daily basis. For instance, a power user in a large family who all frequently stream movies and shows, play games, and download large files is going to need a higher download speed to accommodate them. Meanwhile, someone living in a one or two-person apartment who just checks email and occasionally watches a show on Netflix will need far less.
For more information, be sure to check out our guide to determining how much internet speed you need.
How Does An Internet Speed Test Work?
Though there are a variety of different internet speed tests available online, they all essentially operate in the same basic way. In essence, when you begin the test, our tool will upload a set of files from your network to the test server nearest your location. It will then perform the same test in reverse, downloading the set of files from the server instead. Throughout the process, our tool measures a variety of data points, including the speeds of both your upload and download.
Despite how useful this information can be, you will find that the speeds you see reported will almost always be a bit lower than you might have expected. These variations are to be expected, and for the most accurate results, we recommend running the test 3-4 times back to back to get a solid average.
Speed Test Terms: How To Understand Your Results
Bits are foundational units of measurement for digital data. These are the ones and zeroes that make up binary code.
For reference, there are 1,000 bits in a single Kilobit (Kb).
There are 1 million bits in a Megabit (Mb).
There are 1 billion bits in a Gigabit (Gb).
A byte is a common unit of measurement for determining how large a particular piece of data is. Each byte contains 8 bits. Since bits are such a small unit of measurement, it makes more sense to use bytes when discussing file sizes.
For example, there are 1,000 bytes in a single Kilobyte (KB).
There are 1 million bytes in a Megabyte (MB).
There are 1 billion bytes in a Gigabyte (GB).
Simply put, transfer rate refers to how quickly data is transferred between two or more devices. This can be done through the internet, or locally, such as transferring photos between a flash drive and your computer's local storage.
Transfer rates are commonly described using a bits-per-second measurement.
Kilobits per second. Only the slowest connections are measured this way.
Megabits per second. The most common unit of measurement for modern internet connections.
Gigabits per second. Faster connections are measured this way.
Gigabytes per second. No currently operating consumer networks utilize this measurement.
You can think of bandwidth as the total capacity a given network has in terms of data. ISP’s commonly advertise the best case scenario bandwidth when showing the speeds offered in their internet plans.
For example, if a provider lists a download speed of 25 Mbps, this figure is based on the full capacity (bandwidth) of the company’s network. During certain times of peak traffic, you may experience slower speeds.
Throughput is very similar to bandwidth, in that it is a measurement of the amount of data that passes from one point to another within a certain amount of time.
Unlike bandwidth, however, this is a measurement of volume, not speed.
Ping simply refers to a signal that is sent from a given device to a server, and back again.
You will usually see this represented as a “ping rate,” which simply measures how much time passes during the process of sending the signal and receiving it again. This measurement is reflected as latency on a network.
Often referred to as “lag,” latency is a description of the time it takes to send a ping to a given server and receive it back at your local device again.
Does A Slow Speed Test Mean I’m Being Throttled?
Not necessarily. There are many reasons why you may not be getting the results you expected from your speed test. Once again, make sure you run the test multiple times to rule out any random dips in speed. Also be sure to double check that no one else is using their device on your network when you run the test. Even a single smartphone can measurably alter your results if it is downloading a large update or streaming content at the same time as your speed test.
If you’ve ruled out the above and are concerned that you aren’t getting the speeds you’re paying for, read this: How To Tell If Your Internet Is Being Throttled.
What To Do If Your Speed Test Is Much Slower Than Expected
Our first recommendation is always to contact your service provider directly for help. They will be able to alert you to any network outages or other issues in your area, and can often troubleshoot your individual connection over the phone or via a live chat service.
Beyond this, if you can’t get immediate help, try using an ethernet cable to connect your computer to the router directly, if possible. If this doesn’t help, there is almost certainly something wrong with your connection on the provider’s side. If it does help, you may be experiencing signal issues with your WiFi.