How to test my broadband speed
If you’re suffering from slow broadband, the connection speed feels like it’s dragging and something doesn’t feel quite right, the first thing you should do is test your broadband speed.
Use our handy, free broadband speed checker to get a snapshot of your current download speeds and upload speeds.
There’s no charge for this! It’s completely free, so go ahead and carry out as many tests as you wish. If you regularly suffer from slow speeds, and you’re having problems with your internet service provider (ISP), it’s a good idea to do this regularly and keep a note of the average speeds. Keep a running document that you can pass over as evidence when you get in touch with your provider’s technical support team.
What’s the best way to check my internet speed?
Before using the broadband speed test, you should do the following to get the most accurate results:
- Close all running programs. Close all other programs running on your computer, games running on your consoles, or apps on your mobile phone. Don’t forget to check Netflix isn’t running on your TV.
- Shut everything off. Disconnect or switch off any other Wi-Fi enabled devices in your home. Don’t forget any Smart appliances you might have like freezers or washing machines.
- Get connected. Where possible, connect to your WI-Fi router with an ethernet cable.
- Back off. If you’re using your home Wi-Fi connection, stand close to your router.
- Avoid the boosters. Don’t connect to any Wi-Fi boosters.
- Do more than one test. Collect the speed test results at different times of the day, including peak times.
Even if you run lots of broadband speed tests, you might not get the full picture of what pace your broadband connection runs at, or is actually capable of.
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How does a Wi-Fi speed test work?
Here's the sum we use for our broadband speed tests:
Amount of data transmitted over the connection / Duration of the test.
The maths is that simple! This sum provides a simple, clear, real-world measurement of the broadband speed you’re receiving at home.
The test provides accurate measurements of the download and upload speeds for any type of broadband connection. It doesn’t matter if you’re on fibre broadband, ADSL broadband or a full fibre service.
During our broadband speed tests, data transferred during the test is not saved to your computer.
Need help making sense of the results? Take a look at our ‘easy guide to broadband speeds’.
Is the Broadband Genie speed checker free?
Yes! The Broadband Genie internet speed test is completely free.
We feel it's important to offer you all the broadband comparison tools you need in one place.
You can check your speed and then pop your postcode or address into our deal checker to hunt for broadband deals that may offer you better value for money, as well as a faster internet connection.
Why is the result I get on a speed test different from the speed advertised by my broadband provider?
There are a few reasons why the speed test may report a different figure to the speed advertised when you signed up for the broadband.
Home broadband is advertised with an “average” download speed which is achieved by 50% of customers, but of course, your broadband service could be slower than average.
But there are other reasons why the connection might be slower than expected. It could be that:
- Software running on your device and other users sharing the connection are affecting the test.
- Wi-Fi can be slower than a cabled connection. And poor house wiring can affect home broadband speeds (check your router is plugged into your main incoming internet socket).
- Your supplier may be prioritising different types of broadband traffic using traffic management.
- Mobile internet is heavily dependent on a strong network signal and can be noticeably slower in busy areas.
How to complain to your broadband provider if you’re consistently getting a slow speed
If you’ve run a few tests, and you’re consistently getting records of speeds well below what you were advertised, it’s time to take steps.
Your first port of call should be your provider’s technical support, or its social media page. It could be that there’s a fault on the line, problems with the Wi-Fi router you’ve been supplied, or other temporary issues.
Here are a few handy pages:
- Virgin Media Broadband customer service
- TalkTalk Broadband customer service contacts, problems and complaints
- BT customer service contacts
- Sky Broadband customer services and technical support
Your broadband package might be covered by Ofcom’s Voluntary Code of Practice on broadband speeds. This means you’re entitled to compensation if you’re not getting the speeds advertised.
We have more information on how to follow this up in our guide: ‘Making broadband complaints: how to complain about your home internet’.
FAQs about broadband speed tests
Is there anything that could affect a broadband speed test?
If you’re receiving really slow results, it could be you have other devices online in your home. Do a full sweep and make sure nobody is carrying out video calls on their phone or online gaming. These will be using a lot of bandwidth and impacting the ‘Mbps’ score you’re given after your test.
When’s the best time of day to run a broadband speed test?
We suggest carrying out several tests at different points over the day, and at the weekend. Speeds can vary at different times of the day. Especially, if you’re with a provider who uses traffic management techniques such as ‘throttling’. If this is the case, you’ll probably notice you receive faster speeds during quieter times, such as early morning or late nights.
Why isn’t the speed test working in my browser?
The test uses pure HTML5 and doesn't rely on Java or Flash. This allows it to operate on most modern web browsers and devices, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. If you find that the test isn't working, you should try disabling any extensions/add-ons which may interfere (use your browser’s “Safe Mode” if available). Failing that, try the test in a different web browser.