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Internet Speed Test

Frequently Asked Questions & Internet Speed Test Glossary

What factors might affect the internet speed test result?

Speedtest measures the connection speed between the device you are testing and a test server, using your device's internet connection. There are a number of factors can impact the speed result generated by a test:

Different types of devices such as mobile phones, laptops, TV’s etc may have very different Wi-Fi technology and capabilities. Because of the differing capabilities, you may see varying Speedtest results between devices, even if you use the same provider and test server. In some cases, the device may not even be able to use the full capacity of your connection meaning the Speedtest is not entirely accurate. The same can be said for your Wi-Fi router, if it is old or particularly slow, it also may not be capable of delivering the maximum speeds of your service.

Speedtest servers can perform quite differently due to location, in most cases you will get better results from servers located closer to you. It’s best to run tests on multiple test servers to get a clear idea of your speeds from different servers. Behind the scenes, you benefit from a huge network of testing servers, which is how you will always be able to test to a server close to your location.

If you compare speed testing services, be aware that the test servers can be in very different locations meaning variations between testing services are quite common.

The last factor that could cause variations between Speedtest results is web browsers like Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Each browser is built differently and can provide varying results especially when running the test on higher speed internet connections.


What should I do if my internet speed is slow?

If you have slow internet speeds it’s a good idea to make sure there are no downloads, apps or software running on your device that could be using your internet connection and impact the speed test. Close everything you can, run the speedtest multiple times and if you still experience slow speedtests, it’s a good idea to power off and restart your device, modem and router to ensure no simple glitch is the cause of the problem. If after all these steps your speedtest is still giving slow results, your internet service provider (ISP) or mobile provider may be able to assist. Also keep in mind that on higher bandwidth connections (150 Mbps and above), you will need a higher quality router to keep up.


What happens if I change the Speed test server?

When you run a speed test you are connecting to one of over 8000 servers around the world, this gives you plenty of options to check your connections speeds to different locations at different times, great for gamers trying to work out what is happening with their high ping. By default, when you start a test, Speedtest will choose the location of your test server, it will select a server near to you likely to give you accurate results. If you want to make any changes to the test, such as change the test server location, you can change the default selection, in fact its recommended to change the server location to make sure your results are accurate and to compare connection speeds to different locations.

We now know that by changing to a different server, you are also changing the location of the server your test will be run through. This helps with gaming or streaming where the servers you are connecting to may not be as close to you as the test server which could be why streaming and pings may be worse than expected.

One thing that won’t change is whichever server you select, each test that you run will run through your current ISP, running a test through a server hosted by a particular carrier doesn’t necessarily mean that your results would be accurate if you were to switch service providers.


Why can’t I find a server close to my location?

Why aren’t there any servers in my area?

Most testing servers communicate over port 8080, which in some cases can be blocked by firewalls, VPN’s or proxy servers. For best testing results, its best to ensure your connection isn’t being blocked.

It is of course possible that even though our server network is constantly growing, there may not yet be a local host near you. You can still get a pretty clear picture of your speeds using the servers that are available to you.


Why do I get different speed results between my devices?

Speedtest measures real-time network connections, don’t be surprised if tests taken to the same server a short time after each other may not be the same because there may be other things happening on your network, again its best to run multiple speed tests to give you the best results. If you are seeing large variations in your results, ensure the following:  

Test the same connection. If you are testing from different devices, ensure they are both on the same connection, not one on Wi-Fi and the other 4G.

Test using the same server. By default, a server is selected for you automatically, but you can manually select the server you want to test through.

It’s also important to note that there are significant differences between Wi-Fi and mobile data and wired internet connection processing between the devices you are testing on. These differences could cause varied (usually slower) test results.


What are the recommended speeds for streaming and big downloads?

Chances are, if you are looking for faster speeds, you are having buffering issues when streaming and your downloads are taking too long for your liking. Whilst the faster the better, the following will give you a minimum speed to aim for, if you can get faster than that, your experience is only going to get better:

When using Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms for browsing, audio, messaging and calling you should try for at least 2Mbps. If you regularly upload photos and videos, stream normal content and chat online you should aim for 10Mbps. Gaming, high resolution streaming or environments where there are lots of users should be using over 25Mbps for best results.

2Mbps is preferred for social media, audio streaming, email, and SD video streaming. 10Mbps is preferred for uploading photos and videos, HD streaming, and video chat. 25Mbps is preferred for 4k and beyond streaming.


What are the recommended speeds for transferring big files?

There are no requirements here, it’s purely based on personal preference, the faster the connection, the faster your files will transfer. If you are the type of person that is happy to leave your device on overnight or throughout the day, you can work with slower connections. These tables will give you a little more information to guide you:

The amount of data transferred per hour for connection speeds ranging from 1.5Mbps (675MB) to 1000Mbps (450,000MB).

The time it takes to transfer a 1GB file for connection speeds ranging from 1.5Mbps (5,333s) to 1000Mbps (8s).


What ping (or latency) do I need for online gaming?

Do you ever think that the other player seems to be able to react before you? Bullets miss when aiming right at them? It could be because they have a better (lower) ping. That means the time it takes your connection to report your actions to the server takes longer than their connection meaning their actions are recorded first. Here’s a rough guideline:

  • No excuse: 0-59 ms
  • In with a chance: 60-129 ms
  • Extra skill required to compete: 130-199 ms
  • Time to give up: 200+ ms

Download speed

The speed at which you pull data from an internet server to your device. If you have ever run a speed test before, you’ll find that download speeds are generally much faster than your upload speeds. This is because there is a much higher demand for downloads as it takes up most of your online activity. Download speeds are measured in Mbps which stands for megabits per second.


Upload speed

The speed at which you sent data from a device to the internet. The benefit of having a high upload speed is when you are transferring data to someone, such as sending a large file via email or video calling someone since you need to upload your feed to them. Just like download speed, upload speed is also measured in megabits per second (Mbps).


Ping

Also known as latency, ping is the response time between your device sending out a request and then receiving it. A fast ping means your connection is more responsive, which is particularly important when gaming as timing is everything. Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms). The lower the latency, the better, particularly for more dynamic web uses such as watching high-definition video or gaming.


Packet loss

You may think of a packet being sent electronically as a digital package rather than via a mail service. Loss of packets refers to the proportion of packets that do not reach their destination. A large volume of packet loss can have a negative impact on your streaming media or online games.


Jitter

Also known as Packet Delay Variation (PDV), jitter is a number represents the difference in the velocity of packets sent over the network. A low jitter rate means that the connection is relatively stable. When just browsing or reading text, jitter will not be noticeable, however when gaming or streaming high jitter will result in buffering.


Mbps

Megabits per second. A megabit is 1 million bits of information. This is a standard measure of internet speed and 1 Mbps is 1,000 times faster than 1 Kbps. Not to be confused with megabytes (MB) which is a measure of size rather than bandwidth. Because a megabyte is larger than a megabit, and to avoid confusion, MB/s is not used to denote internet speeds.


Kbps

Kilobits per second. A kilobit is 1,000 bits of information. This older measure of internet speed is only used when needed to describe slower connections. Not to be confused with kilobytes (KB) which is a measure of size rather than bandwidth. Because a kilobyte is larger than a kilobit, and to avoid confusion, KB/s is not used to denote internet speeds.