How to Determine the Speed of My Internet

wifi speed test

Are you unsure how to determine the speed of your internet?

People use the internet for everything from having video calls with their colleagues to playing online games to researching for a class. If you’ve ever wondered how to easily check your internet speed, try the simple methods below.

What Factors Could Affect the Speed of My Internet?

Before running an internet speed test, consider that numerous variables could affect the performance. Some are within your control. For example, your speed will slow when several people are using the internet in the house at once. 

Accessing the internet on an older computer could also make the speed slower than you’d like. That’s because device processors affect browsing performance. 

Weather is also a possible culprit for slower internet speeds. For example, raindrops can partially absorb a wireless signal and reduce its coverage area. There’s also a human behavior factor. Bad weather usually makes people spend more time indoors. They may go online to pass the time, making the overall network slightly more congested.

If your internet has gotten and stayed slow suddenly, consider doing a scan to detect a possible malware infection. Certain types can make your computer slow down, making it seem like there’s a problem with the internet speed. 

How to Know the Speed of My Internet: Use a Browser-Based Test

One of the most accessible options is to use a browser-based test. Search on Google for a phrase like “check internet speed.” That’ll bring up a tool at the top of the search results that lets you do just that. 

Click the blue “run speed test” button. That launches a window and measures the current estimated download speed, then the upload rate. When getting your results, you’ll see the server location and estimated latency, along with a statement that tells you whether your speed results are average, fast or slow. 

If you’d rather go to a speed test website, is an easy one to remember. Netflix owns it, and the test specifically checks if your speed is fast enough to stream at the site’s maximum resolution without buffering. 

How to Know the Speed of My Internet: Download an App

You can also get to know the speed of your internet by downloading a dedicated app. As you might expect, many of the providers of speed tests that run in browsers also created apps for smartphones and tablets. 

Experts recommend running speed tests at least three times in an app, then taking the average. Some apps also let you test the speed related to servers for specific applications you use. For example, Meteor by OpenSignal allows users to ping the Pokémon Go servers. 

Some other apps let you run multiple speed tests to find the fastest internet connection in a given location. That could be especially helpful if you’re somewhere with numerous Wi-Fi points, such as an airport.  

How to Know the Speed of My Internet: Log the Results Over Time

Whether you use a browser-based test or download a dedicated app, it’s wise to check the speed of your internet connection a couple of times per week and take note of the results you get. If people initially get slower speeds than expected, they often jump to blame the internet service provider. 

However, deciding to measure the results over time is a practical way to verify whether you consistently get those slower speeds or if they only occur occasionally. Running a single test and taking all the results only shows the statistics from a moment in time, which is why it’s not necessarily accurate. 

How to Know if the Speed of My Internet Is Good

Many internet service providers use vague language to describe their average speeds. They typically break them down in more detail, but you may have to read some fine print. 

However, if you’re planning to shop for a new internet provider soon, U.S. communication regulators have some guidelines on what kind of speed you need for the type of usage you plan to do. 

Suppose you’re the only one using the internet in the house, have only one device connected and plan to use at least two applications at once that put high demands on your connection. The recommendations are that your speeds are at least 12-25 megabits per second (Mbps). 

However, if several people in your household use the internet on multiple devices and stream movies or have video calls, you’ll need faster minimum speeds. They should be no slower than 25 Mbps.

If you’re working from home or otherwise extremely reliant on your internet service, it’s understandable that you may want faster speeds. Treat the specifics above as a guide and consider your typical internet usage behavior when evaluating new providers. 

Become More Aware of Your Average Internet Speeds

This overview will help you take action to understand what kinds of internet speeds you typically get. After noting the results, you’ll be in a good position to decide if you’re happy with the current performance or want to look for other options.