How to tell how fast your internet speed is using a free and accurate speed test
- You can test how fast your internet is through free online speed tests, one of which can be found with a quick Google search.
- Internet speeds are measured in megabits per second, or Mbps.
- The higher your Mbps count, the faster your internet connection is.
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If you're looking to change your internet provider, or are considering increasing your internet speed, it's always a good idea to know where you currently stand. That way, you'll be able to better understand what you want and need from a new internet plan.
Google offers a simple and fast tool for doing this, and all you have to do is complete a simple Google search to start.
The test measures your speed by measuring the amount of data that can move through your internet connection. It takes about 30 seconds to complete, and your results are given in terms of megabits per second, or Mbps. The higher your Mbps count, the better.
For reference, the FCC's standard for a fast internet connection is at least 25 Mbps for downloads, and 3 Mbps for uploads. This test can measure connections of up to 700 Mbps.
You may also see a "Latency" reading. This is a measure of how quickly you get a response from your server, and is given in milliseconds, or ms. Here, the lower your number, the better.
Here's how to test how fast your internet speed is.
How to use Google's internet speed test
Before you run the test, you should know that doing so requires sharing your IP address with M-Lab, which Google has partnered with to produce the test.
1. Go to Google and search for "internet speed test."
2. At the top of the search results will be a box labeled "Internet speed test." Click the blue "Run Speed Test" button at the bottom of this box.
3. A new pop-up will appear with a speedometer, like the type you'd see in a car. The test will begin measuring your download speed, followed by your upload speed. You don't have to do anything.
4. Once the test is finished, your results will be displayed.
Note that when you take this test, your IP address will be shared with Google and M-Lab, the company that runs this test. There's no real security threat here - both companies keep their data incredibly secure, and even if someone were to find your IP address, there's nearly no chance that they could use it in a malicious way.
Also keep in mind that your internet speed is constantly changing, depending on how close you are to your router, how many devices are on the network, and how much data you're currently using.
Taking the test while you're alone in your house will give you higher results than taking the test while five people stream Netflix, for example.
For information on what sort of internet speeds you need, check out our article, "'What is a good internet speed?': The internet speeds you should aim for, based on how you use the internet."
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