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Internet Speed Test

Frequently Asked Questions & Internet Speed Test Glossary

  • What factors may impact my Speedtest® result?
  • What should I do if my internet speed is slow?
  • What does changing the Speedtest server do?
  • Why aren’t there any servers in my area?
  • Why am I getting different speeds between my computer and my phone/tablet?
  • What speeds do I need for streaming or large downloads?
  • What speeds do I need to transfer large files?
  • What’s an acceptable ping (or latency) for online gaming?
  • What is meant by "Download Speed"?
  • What is meant by "Upload Speed"?
  • What is meant by "Ping"?
  • What is meant by "Packet Loss"?
  • What is meant by "Jitter"?
  • What is meant by "Mbps"?
  • What is meant by "Kbps"?

What factors may impact my Speedtest result?

Speedtest measures the speed between your device and a test server, using your device's internet connection. Several factors can impact the speed recorded by a test:

  • Devices (phones, tablets, PCs, etc…) can have very different Wi-Fi and cellular radio capabilities. This means you might get one Speedtest result on one device and a different result on another, even using the same provider. Some devices may not be able to measure the full speed of your internet service. It’s also possible that your Wi-Fi router doesn’t support the full speed of your service.
  • Speedtest servers may perform differently. Generally, you will get faster speeds from servers closer to you. We recommend testing to a variety of test servers to get the most complete picture of your speed. Speedtest has the world’s largest testing server network, which means you will always have the benefit of testing to a server near your geographic location.
  • Other speed testing services use different servers in different locations than Speedtest, so differences in speeds between testing services are not uncommon.
  • Browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, etc…) have different capabilities and may provide different results, particularly on high-speed connections.

What should I do if my internet speed is slow?

Before you contact your internet service provider (ISP) or mobile carrier, check to see if you’re running any ongoing downloads or other programs like video chat that might be hogging your bandwidth. Close those and test again. If your Speedtest result still seems slow, reboot your phone or computer, modem and router. Then make sure that your router does not have any Quality of Service (QOS) features turned on. If that doesn’t fix the problem, here are a few more steps you can try.

Contacting your ISP or carrier for help is a good next step after you’ve gone through these steps. Keep in mind that on higher bandwidth connections (150 Mbps and above), you will need a higher quality router to keep up.


What does changing the Speedtest server do?

Speedtest offers a network of over 8,000 hosted servers around the globe so that you always have testing options. At the start of a test, Speedtest automatically chooses a nearby server with a fast ping result to measure the maximum potential of your internet connection. You can always change the testing server to a different one than the default selection and we encourage testing to different servers to compare results.

By selecting a new server, you are changing the location or host of the server you are testing your internet connection against. In particular, many sites and streaming services may host their content on servers that are far away from your current location, which could translate to slower speeds and pings from those services.

No matter the server you choose, all tests run on Speedtest reflect the speed of your connection from your current ISP or carrier. Testing to a server hosted by an ISP or carrier does not necessarily tell you how fast your connection would be if you were to sign up for their offered services.


Why aren’t there any servers in my area?

Your computer’s firewall or a proxy server might be blocking communication over port 8080, which will limit the number of servers available for testing.

Though our server network is always growing, it’s possible that we don’t yet have a host in your area. If you’d like to host a Speedtest server, details are on our network page.


Why am I getting different speeds between my computer and my phone/tablet?

Speedtest is measuring your real-time network connection, so tests taken within a few minutes of each other might vary a little based on network congestion and available bandwidth. If your Speedtest results are significantly different, make sure that you’re:

  • Testing the same connection. If one device is on Wi-Fi and the other is not, you’re testing the speeds of different connections.
  • Testing to the same server. Speedtest automatically selects a server to test to based on ping, but you can also select a server to test to.

Also, note that there are large variations in Wi-Fi and cellular radio quality and MIMO stream handling quality between devices. These variations can cause a device to deliver slower test results than another device or computer.


What speeds do I need for streaming or large downloads?

If you’re asking this question, you’re already sick of the wheel of constant buffering. To get the best possible performance, you generally want download speeds at least as fast as the following:

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 speeds do I need to transfer large files?

You can transfer large files at any speed; it’s more a question of how long that transfer will take. Here are a couple of tables to help you out:

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’s an acceptable ping (or latency) for online gaming? 

If you’ve ever noticed that another player always seems to have the jump on you, that might be because they have a faster ping. Here’s a rough guideline:

  • Winning: 0-59 ms
  • In the game: 60-129 ms
  • Struggling: 130-199 ms
  • Game over: 200+ ms

Download speed

How quickly you can pull data from a server on the internet to your device. Most connections are designed to download much faster than they upload.This is because the majority of online activity, like loading web pages or streaming videos, consists of downloads. Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).


Upload speed

How quickly you send data from your device to the internet. A fast upload speed is helpful when sending large files via email, or in using video-chat to talk to someone else online (since you have to send your video feed to them). Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).


Ping

Also called latency, ping is the reaction time of your connection–how quickly your device gets a response after you've sent out a request. A fast ping means a more responsive connection, especially in applications where timing is everything (like video games). Ping is measured in milliseconds (ms).


Packet loss

Packet loss occurs when a packet of data being sent over the internet is not received or is incomplete. This is described in percentage of packets lost compared to packets sent. Packet loss in most cases is a result of poor signal/line quality.


Jitter

Also called Packet Delay Variation (PDV), jitter frequency is a measure of the variability in ping over time. Jitter is not usually noticeable when reading text, but when streaming and gaming a high jitter can result in buffering and other interruptions. Technically, this is a measure of the average of the deviation from the mean.


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.