How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed?

futuristic wi-fi router with a green glow sits on a desk in a home office

Internet service providers (ISPs) commonly promote the maximum speeds you can get as a customer.

However, as a savvy internet user, you should never merely take them at their word. Alternatively, maybe you signed up for what the company described as “blazingly fast internet speeds,” but you can’t even watch a show on Netflix without the stream stopping to buffer every few minutes. 

Fortunately, testing your Wi-Fi speed is an easy and accessible process. Keep reading to get a breakdown of how to do it, plus what the tests measure and how to get the most accurate results. 

How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed in a Browser?

Putting your Wi-Fi speed to the test is as straightforward as using a browser-based tool. Netflix operates one called Fast, while Google and Measurement Lab offer a site called Speedtest. Ookla also has an option called Speedtest. It’s perhaps the most well known of the three. Ookla’s About page mentions that people have used the tool to carry out 30 billion tests since its establishment in 2006. 

Many ISPs offer tests on their websites. You may also find some associated with gaming sites or other online destinations that require minimum internet speeds to work smoothly. For example, Netflix runs the Fast test, but it lists download speed recommendations within its Help section. People can also test their Wi-Fi speed directly in the Settings menu while using Netflix.

If you search for “speed test” in Google, that query generates one in the list of search results. Clicking the associated link will get you results in seconds. 

It’s no surprise that companies take the approach of making it as easy as possible to test their Wi-Fi speeds. Consider if a person contacts Netflix to complain that content doesn’t play smoothly. A support specialist could start the conversation by asking if they performed a speed test before getting in touch. The answer guides the rest of the conversation and avoids unnecessary steps. 

The user interfaces vary slightly for each tool, but they usually feature buttons that say “Go” or “Start.” You’ll get your results shortly after clicking the button — usually within seconds. 

How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed With an App?

You can also test your Wi-Fi speed by downloading an app. Most are free, and some offerings have features that the browser tools don’t. For example, Ookla’s app has a 5G coverage map and offers troubleshooting steps to take if your test doesn’t show the speeds a provider advertised. 

Many applications also let you save test results and track how they change over time. Such information could help you verify if your speeds got progressively worse, for example. 

Most speed test apps are free, though some include ads. If you only need to know how fast your Wi-Fi is at a moment in time, a browser-based tool will do the trick. However, you may enjoy the extra features that most apps offer. 

If you do decide to use an app for testing Wi-Fi, that probably means you’re connecting your smartphone to a nearby access point, such as one in your home. In that case, keep in mind that the number of other devices connected and how people are using them will affect your test’s outcome. 

Online Wi-Fi Speed Testing Tools

There are a variety of different speed testing tools available. One of the most popular is, which is easy to use, has a simple interface and will also troubleshoot your network problems.

You may also want to use, which is a Netflix-developed speed testing tool. It was launched in 2019 after the site found that ISPs were possibly throttling users’ connections, artificially limiting connection speeds when streaming content from Netflix. 

The site is simple, easy to use and tests your connection to Netflix’s servers. It provides an accurate reading of the speeds you’ll get when accessing Netflix, even if your ISP limits your rates.

Most speed testing sites will give you three numbers to test your connection — download speed, upload speed and ping. Your download speed is the most important of these three numbers. It tells you how quickly you can download data from the internet and will affect your ability to stream, browse the web or download files.

Your upload speed tells you how quickly you can upload information. This number will typically only be a bottleneck if you’re dealing with large amounts of data.

Lastly, your ping is how many milliseconds it takes for a packet of data to travel from your computer to the test server. Ping is mostly important when you’re engaging and responding to content in real-time — like multiplayer video games, for example. The lower the ping, the better, but you’ll typically only start to have problems when your ping rises out of the 150 to 200 ms range.

The Best Way to Test Your Wi-Fi Speed

You should also follow these best practices when testing to ensure you get an accurate read of your home Wi-Fi speed.

Test at Several Different Times of Day

Your Wi-Fi speed can fluctuate significantly over the course of a day, especially if you share a network with other people. If you test just once, you may get an unusually low or high speed. It’s better to do this at multiple times of day, which will give you a better idea of your average Wi-Fi speed and how it can fluctuate.

Test Using Multiple Devices

Sometimes, a slow connection may be due to a faulty device or one that has compatibility issues with your particular router. If one item is particularly slow, it may be a good idea to test your internet speed with another. You may find that the second gadget provides download speeds closer to what you were expecting.

Ideally, you’ll want to test these devices in as close to the same place as possible. Distance from the router and obstacles — like walls — can have a serious impact on signal strength.

Test From Multiple Areas in Your Home

Because Wi-Fi is delivered wirelessly, the location of the device you’re testing can have a major impact on signal strength and quality. It’s not uncommon for a house or apartment to have Wi-Fi dead zones, or areas where a signal may be hard to get. This can result in you getting lower speeds or a less reliable internet connection. 

For example, if you find that the signal from a bedroom is fairly weak, you may want to test the device closer to your router or in another room.

You can also use speed tests to detect Wi-Fi dead zones in your home by using them where you suspect the signal may be weaker. 

After all these tests, you may find that your Wi-Fi speeds are still lower than what you should be getting, based on the plan you have with your ISP. If this happens, there may be something wrong on their end — or with your router — that is causing you to have lower-than-expected Wi-Fi speeds.

What Does a Wi-Fi Speed Test Tell You?

Wi-Fi speed tests measure your download and upload speeds in megabits per second (Mbps). The download speed shows how fast your connection can pull data from a server to bring it to you. Conversely, the upload speed relates to how quickly you can transfer data to others.  People also refer to download and upload rates as bandwidth.

While looking at your internet service provider’s specifications, you may notice that the company provider promises faster speeds for downloads than uploads. That’s common, and it means you have an asymmetrical internet connection. It suits many internet users due to how the most popular internet services require more downloading than uploading. However, some providers offer symmetrical speeds. If you have such a plan, your downloading and uploading rates are approximately the same. 

Tests may also measure your ping or latency rate and amount of packet loss. A ping/latency measurement examines how fast your connection responds to requests. You’ll see it represented in milliseconds (ms). In this case, a lower number means a quicker response. If you use your connection for gaming or live virtual reality (VR) activities, a fast ping rate will help you have a more enjoyable, hiccup-free experience. Getting one of more than 150 ms could cause gaming lag. Conversely,  under 20 ms is an excellent ping rate. 

Some internet speed tests also measure packet loss. Your online activities result in sent and received units of data called packets. Packet loss occurs when it does not reach its intended destination. That problem can make users experience slowness, unreliable connectivity and outages. Network congestion is a common cause of packet loss. However, it can also happen due to software bugs, outdated hardware or cyberattacks. 

How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed With the Most Accuracy?

Since internet speed tests are so accessible, people can do them whenever they want. However, performing them without some consideration about getting the best results could lead to inaccuracies. Many people make mistakes that could influence their tests’ outcomes. 

Remember that download and upload speeds get measured in megabits per second (Mbps). There’s another measurement called megabytes per second (MBps), and you don’t want to confuse the two. MBps relates to the amount of data transferred. For example, you might see a 500-megabit video clip. However, ISPs also bring up MBps when discussing data limits for internet plans. 

You can also do several things to improve the likelihood of getting the most accurate results of an internet speed test. They include: 

  • Running speed tests several times, then calculating the average
  • Understanding how peak usage times could affect the results
  • Performing tests in rooms with a close line-of-sight path to the router
  • Conducting tests after stopping streaming feeds or other data-intensive processes
  • Rebooting your computer before a test to clear out any residual activities 
  • Turning off your VPN tool before starting to test your Wi-Fi speed

It’s Easy to Get Informed About Your Wi-Fi Speed

Many people constantly complain about slow Wi-Fi speeds. If you do the same, the information here can help you verify if it’s truly not as fast as a company promises. Plus, if you perform tests on different days and times, the collected data makes it easier to determine when to take care of your most data-intensive tasks. 

Similarly, if you’re about to switch to a new provider, speed tests can tell you whether the one you have now is fast enough for how you use the internet or if you need something better. Regardless of why you want to test your Wi-Fi speed, tools exist to enable doing it now.

The Answers to “How Do I Test My Wi-Fi Speed” Are Here

If you’re worried that your Wi-Fi speed is lower than what your ISP should be providing, it may be a good idea to test it. Using one of the major online speed testers, like or, will let you know what kind of speeds your device is getting over Wi-Fi.

When checking your home internet connection, be sure to do it properly. Using several devices, testing from different locations and trying various times of day will help you get a more accurate sense of your home Wi-Fi speed.