Try to imagine not having an internetconnection in the modern world. Chances are you would have difficultiescommunicating with loved ones, working at your most effective, and even payingyour bills. There is a reason that the UN considers it a human right.
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Yet, in many cases having a fastinternet connection is just as important as having an internet connection atall. Video calls are becoming the norm, as is streaming content that requiresmore and more bandwidth. The COVID-19 pandemic only showcased the need further,and more of us are adapting to a digital life than ever before. The world ismoving forward under the assumption of faster internet, and your householdbetter keep up by getting a good service.
Therefore, you need to get theinternet speeds you were promised by your ISP and ensure no interference withyour connection. To help you do this, there are speed tests that can help. Yetwhich one (there are countless) should you use, and what are the best ways touse them? Keep on reading to learn everything you need to know.
Why is a speed test so helpful? Peopleuse them for many reasons. The most common reasons you may want to use one are:
·You want to make sure that youare getting precisely what you paid for from your ISP and that you are notbeing throttled in any way.
·To determine whether yourhousehold needs an upgrade. The average internet speed in an American home was5 Mbps in 2009. In 2018 that number grew to 96.25, and it is onlyexpected to continue growing. Every household will need to change their plan;eventually, it is just a matter of when.
·You wonder whether a device orreceiver works properly or whether you might need a fix or a peripheral.
·You are concerned there is toomuch stress currently on the network with the number of devices.
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·You need to check on anadditional metric such as upload speed or ping rate, likely for work or gamingpurposes. This can help prevent you from wasting money on devices you cannotget the most out of.
Naturally, there are other reasons anduses for a speed test, and perhaps you have one in mind already. They all boildown to needing more information about your home (or business) internetsituation and what you will need for the future. Information, as long as it'saccurate and you know how to interpret it, will never steer you wrong.
Speed Test Best Practices
How do you make the most of a speedtest? We recommend the following best practices to ensure an accurate readingand to help you more easily determine the cause of a problem if there is one:
·Try a speed test (ideally thesame speed test) from multiple devices in the same general location. This willhelp determine if a problem is device-specific.
·Test under normal workingconditions and ideal conditions. If there are a few devices that will alwaysuse a bit of bandwidth, do not turn them off for your first test, but do turnthem off for another. You may want to know your speed in both conditions,depending on whether you are concerned about your ISP or just whether you haveenough bandwidth to do something.
·Double-check ahead of time whatyour download and upload speeds should actually be. Make sure there are nomisunderstandings about your plan.
·Perform several tests over theday. Depending on your internet service type, there will be hours where yourinternet is not as fast due to usage elsewhere in your neighborhood. Thisshould be measured and taken into account when making decisions.
What We Look for in a Test
While we will shortly be talking aboutthe best options, first you should know what is essential in a speed test, withall the key facets listed below:
Accuracy: If a speed test is not as accurate as possible, what is the point inusing it?
Ease-of-Use: A speed test site should never confuse the user. At most, you shouldneed to input a few bits of information and press the start button, perhapswith some options available on the side for specialized use.
Information Provided: While the download speed is probably most important to most users,there are other metrics (particularly upload speed and ping rate) that are importantas well0014the more information, the better, as long as it is presented clearlyand concisely.
Ability to Simulate Real WorldConditions: The way a speed test is conducted canaffect the results. While some tests might be best for a neutral measurement ofthe data, most people use their internet for a few things, such as streamingmovies, video calls, and playing games online. The more a speed test cansimulate these kinds of situations, the better.
Good Design: A well-designed speed test site should showcase all the informationeasily, be easy to read and understand, and be well-organized. Anythingsuperfluous is a detriment to the test. Complicated designs and setups from asite can potentially interfere with results.
Servers in Multiple Areas: Ideally, you should be using a speed test with servers near yourarea. Otherwise, the results (especially your ping rate) will be affected byyour region. The best speed test sites have servers across the country (or theworld) to allow for the most accurate readings.
Freedom from Bias: Many speed tests are run by ISPs, but can you be certain that thosetests do not have an agenda? Surely they would want to make their own serviceslook good, and others look lacking. While certain ISPs would not engage in thistype of behavior, the question is necessary, and potential biases are noted.
The 7 Best Speed Test Sites
Without further wait, here are our topchoices. Please read each selection to make sure you pick out the best test foryour needs to get the best results.
Our top choice is Ookla'sSpeedtest.net, which happens to be one of the oldest and most popular speedtests on the market. Despite its age (or more likely in part due to it), wefind that it is the best test for most people and one you should try first.
It has practically everything youcould want in a speed test, with all of the basic information readily availableand a vast list of servers across the country, ensuring an accurate reading nomatter where you are.
Furthermore, if you make an account,you can keep records of your previous tests. This can be particularly helpfulif you want to measure changes, keep different devices in mind, or trackimprovements after changing plans or making changes to your setup. It allowsfor optimization with less effort on your end.
The main downside we found with thesite is the fact that ads appear. While we understand that the site needs tosupport itself, the ads could potentially interfere with the measurements,depending on the nature of the ads and your connection.
If you are looking for a good measureof your connection's consistency, then Speedof.me is a test you should try.They show you not only the final results but also how consistent yourconnection is throughout the test, which is crucial if you are testing forpurposes related to video calls or online gaming.
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However, more data can mean that saiddata is a bit harder to interpret. You might need to spend a little more timeanalyzing the results, which is not ideal if you need to do a test right awayor in a hurry.
The test is also different betweenmobile and desktop. The mobile version is a bit more accessible (without evenneeding to use an app), and for that reason, speedof.me can be a great choicefor mobile users of all sorts.
A comprehensive option people lookingfor accuracy (and everyone should be) will love, TestMy.net is a test that runson HTML5 and is independent of any sources of bias. It focuses on functionabove all else, and it functions wonderfully.
It can be a little harder to look atcompared to the other testing sites, and you might have to click through a fewmore pages. Still, they provide some of the most in-depth data available from aspeed test and allow you to compare your results to the averages of your city,your host, and more.
Like some other speed test sites, youcan create an account to track results over time. This, combined with a widearray of data provided, is an excellent combination.
4. Xfinity Speed Test
Simple and easy to use, the XfinitySpeed Test is not flashy by any means, but that is precisely what some people arelooking for. It provides you with the standard information, is reliable, andhas a nice if somewhat cluttered on some devices, design to it.
What is different about Xfinity isthat it provides contextual information about your internet speed, making it ahelpful tool for those who might not know what all the numbers mean. Forexample, the speed test will provide some bullet points on what you can do withyour current download speed and provide a few tips about making sure the testruns as accurately as possible. This makes it one of the most user-friendlytests for those who do not use technology too often.
Xfinity provides this speed test.While we consider that a point of concern, there was no bias we could detect inthe test, you do not need to be a subscriber of any kind to their services, andreadings were accurate compared with other tests. There is no way to savetests, and the screen might feel too cluttered for some, but we are generallyhappy with what it can provide people.
5. Internet Health Test
From what we can determine, this is avariation of Ookla's Speedtest.net. Internet Health test is a great way toquickly get more data than you would from the other 'fast' testingsites available. Yet it is not only fast and simple but a bit more versatilethan the competition as well. You can select your host from a range of places,allowing you to tailor your test. You get to see how stable the connection isover time, letting you know if consistency will be an issue. All of the basicinformation is there.
We did not find some of the datalogging features found in other speed tests, but you can share your results onsocial media (although why would you), and you can email them to yourself forrecord-keeping.
Overall, we recommend this service tothose looking for more information on how their connection would work invarious situations and for those looking for a secondary test to act as a pointof comparison.
Our next recommendation is Speedsmart,which is easy to use, based on HTML5, and accessible from a wide variety ofdevices. They put great effort into making sure that you get the most accuratereadings possible, allowing for more data to be sent and received to ensurequality results, including ping results for those who need them.
If you need to access records ofprevious tests and none of the other options look acceptable to you, thenSpeedsmart has you covered, no matter what device you are using. You can use anaccount to keep track of everything and let yourself compare the data, whetherfor a network or a location.
There are a few extra bits ofinformation on the testing page, and we would like to see some more servers(although this is not a dealbreaker in their case.) Speedsmart is a strongoption for people obsessed with accuracy.
When you first load Fast.com, all youwill see is a large and simple display of your download speed, easy to readwith no confusion. If that is all you are looking for, then fast.com will allowyou to get the info and get out. After a few seconds, you will also be able todetermine your ping rate and your upload speed in simple terms. There isn'teven a start button; it just goes.
What is interesting about Fast.com isthat the site is owned by Netflix, which utilizes a massive amount of internetbandwidth around the world. They have a vested interest in knowing how muchdata they are using and making sure their customers can use their serviceeffectively. The investment makes sense for them, given the company's historyof dealing with throttled connections.
There are not many additionalsettings, which makes us hesitant to recommend it for general purposes or getthe most specific readings, but content streamers can and should come toFast.com first.
One last note is that while we didrank these and think some will help more people than others, everyone hasdifferent priorities. Which one of these is best for you will depend on whatyou are looking for. Think about your needs and before settling with one, ortry out several (it will not cost you anything)
What Causes Slow Internet?
To diagnose your slow internet or knowwhether you have the issue in the first place, you will need to know some ofthe causes. While there are longer guides on the subject, if you have acomplicated problem or need to get into the nuts and bolts of the matter, youcan start by looking into the following potential causes:
·Network Interference: Is there anything that might be interfering with the network?Additional abnormal signals? Some radio frequencies can cause problems. If youremove or turn off these devices and your internet speed picks up, you havefound the culprit.
·Inadequate Equipment: How old is your equipment, and is it capable of handling yourinternet plan? While generally not an issue for those renting equipment, it'sstill a problem for many households. Ensure that you check for these issuesboth in terms of your modem/router and any receivers you use. If your routercan transmit gigabit internet speeds, but your USB receiver can only handle 100Mbps, that is a considerable drop-off.
·Poor Equipment Placement: Alternatively, your equipment might be working just fine; it is justthat it is in a place where the signal cannot be transmitted or receivedeasily. Ensure that devices are close enough to a router (or just connected viaethernet cable) and in a place where they can send signals effectively.
·Background Programs: Sometimes, you can have many programs or apps running in thebackground, eating up bandwidth without you even knowing it. Depending on yourusage habits, you might be able to turn some off without any difference in youronline life. Check for default apps and programs that might be running in thebackground.
·Too Many Users: Your internet connection can seem slow if there are too many userson the network, or more specifically, too many devices jockeying for bandwidth.If you have many devices going at once, you may want to consider turning someoff, upgrading your plan, or upgrading your equipment.
·Network Outage or Overuse: There might be a storm outside, or a traffic accident could haveinvolved a telephone pole. Depending on your service type, lines may be damagedor downed, which can cause problems (either a complete outage or a slowdown asthe information gets rerouted).
·ISP Throttling: If your speeds are slower than anticipated and there is no otherobvious answer, your ISP might be throttling your connection. They might dothis in response to a perceived slight, going over your monthly data limit (ifthere is one), or another reason. Check to see why this may happen and if thethrottling is fair.
·Computer Issues or Malware: Malware can also cause slow internet speeds. Make sure that you arepracticing good cybersecurity and perform a scan at regular intervals. Adamaged device might also lead to a poor connection and will likely have othersymptoms as well.
There are other causes, but one of theabove will likely be the culprit if your speed test shows a slower speed thanusual or anticipated. Be sure to check every once in a while, as new issues andcauses for slow internet can come up regularly.
What to Do with the Speed Test Information
Now that you have your findings, youmight have some decisions to make. If you have tested your connection multipletimes and even with a few different tests, and things are not as you wouldlike, you should not hesitate to take one of the following actions:
·If you find that your ISP isnot performing as promised, call them and see if they can explain the problem.While most ISPs have a range where they might dip below their advertised rates,any significant deviations should be noted and not be tolerated, especially ifthere is a solid competitor in your area. However, there might be a temporaryproblem due to damaged equipment, which you can expect to be solved shortly.
·You may want to upgrade yourplan or change providers. This can be costly, so make sure to do your researchahead of time, but you can also likely get a good deal or have your new ISP buyout your old contract. Make sure to read all the fine print.
·You may want to use the testresults as a negotiating chip. If you appearto have done your research, your provider will take your threats to switch moreseriously.
·You may wish to change yourinternet set up in your home, mostly regarding the equipment you use and itsplacement. A wired connection is always better than a wireless one and keepyour router away from devices or places that might cause interference.Alternatively, you may wish to invest in a range extender.
·You can move forward with yourplans that you performed the speed test for in the first place. For example,smart home upgrades can be costly and require constant bandwidth, but they canbe worth it if you can rely on your connection.
Performing an occasional speed test onyour connection is a great way to ensure that you are getting the services youare paying for and can help you figure out the source of any interference. Wehope that one of the above speed test sites can help you learn what you need toand get an accurate reading. Whatever you wind up doing, we wish you the bestof luck and a swift resolution to any problems.
- Click on the circle labeled 'GO' on the new screen.
The test will run for 1-2 minutes, and then a new screen will appear with your speed test results.
Please remember the test results from the speed test site can be affected by many factors. A few of those factors can be found through the SpeedTest.net FAQs.
Fiber Speed Test Ookla
Speed ranges shown are expressed as “up to” to represent network capabilities between customer location and the TDS network. Most customers can expect to receive a stable speed within the range of the product purchased as allowed by the quality and capability of the connection; however, actual speeds experienced by customers vary and are not guaranteed. Some customers may receive lower than the indicated speed range. Speeds vary due to various factors, including but not limited to: distance from switching locations, network equipment, delivery technology, and external/internal network conditions. Speed tests may produce inconsistent results due to various factors, including the speed test program or website used, the number of devices connected to the customer’s modem, and whether the speed test is conducted over Wi-Fi. Customers that are not receiving the indicated speeds may cancel their service or downgrade to a lower-speed service without any termination or switching charges. Otherwise, a $15 service charge will apply to existing customers who switch plans without increasing speed or adding qualifying service. Additional equipment may be required and charges may apply. No Data Caps – not available in all areas. In order to maximize Internet speeds above 100Mbps, a gigabit wired Network Interface Card (NIC) and/or a more advanced wireless NIC, preferably 802.11ac or higher is needed.