How to Check Your Internet Speed

Is your ISP delivering the data speeds you were promised? Is there even a way to find out? Should you just take their word for it? The answer to these questions, respectively, are “we’ll see,” “Yep!,” and “HELL NO!” We can say that because you have access to free tools that will clock your own personal connection.

Most ISPs offer a speed test, usually a variation of something you’ll see below. Skip it. If the test is from your own ISP, you can’t know for sure that the connection between you and the ISP servers won’t be optimized for better speeds. Stick with a third-party test tool.

Before you run any of these tests, be sure to:

  • Turn off any downloads or uploads you have going on your system. That includes streaming media or live video meetings or torrents. Rebooting the system is a good start.

  • Log out of your VPN software for the duration of the test; it adds a lot of overhead to the connection.

  • For real accuracy, plug your PC directly into the router via Ethernet. You’ll have a lot less network overhead than you would with a Wi-Fi connection.

  • Skip testing at peak hours, like in the evening when everyone is at home streaming music or movies.

Run the tests multiple times. The conditions on your internet connection can be very different at different times of day. The more data you have, the better for checking to make sure you get what you pay for.

PCMag Speed Test

We have a PCMag Speed Test, which you can use at any time, even on a mobile device. We use the data it gathers to determine the Best ISPs in the US and Canada, as well as the Best Gaming ISPs. Click it below to give it a try and see your download and upload speed, plus your latency (the time in milliseconds it takes for packets to travel from you to the server).

Ookla Speedtest

Ookla Speedtest measures the time it takes for data to transfer between your computer and a remote server by way of your local ISP connection. It determines your location and pairs you with a local Speedtest server. All you have to do is click the “Go” button. The whole process should take less than a minute to complete, and you watch it unfold in real-time. Run the test a few times by clicking the “Go” button again and again—you will see fluctuations in the data speed from test to test, depending on the network congestion at any given time.

Ookla Speedtest

(Credit: Speedtest/PCMag)

The real benefit in using comes with creating an account. With that, you can change settings, like picking a server for testing, and make it permanent so it’s saved for every visit. You can view your entire test history to see how your internet connection changes over time. To put those numbers in context, click the “Results” link to compare your results to global average speeds. If you used more than one connection (say you went from a hotspot to home and ran tests in both locations on the same PC), or used more than one connection server, click “Filter Results” to narrow down which tests/servers you want to see.

Use the Speedtest mobile apps to test on your smartphone (iOS, Android). It includes an integrated VPN option that costs $4.99 per month, which gets rid of the ads. You can go ad-free without the VPN for $0.99. Speedtest also has native apps for Windows, Mac, Google Chrome browser, even the Apple TV.

To compare your speeds with the rest of the world, go to the Speedtest Global Index, which offers average throughput for mobile and fixed broadband connections across the globe. Many ISPs run a version of Speedtest on their own servers for testing customer connections. Those tests become part of Speedtest’s overall dataset, which is used to create the Global Index.

Speedtest by Ookla (for Android) screenshot

(Credit: tries to stand out from the competition by not tying its real-world broadband tests to any particular ISPs. The results are also always based on completed tests performed start to finish, not estimates, which it says other tests do regularly. It has servers in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

It’s all browser-based using HTML5 so the same test works on mobile browsers as well as desktops—there are no separate apps for iOS or Android. The site does have ads full of ad-traps however—lots of “Start” buttons intended to trick you into clicking the commercial rather than the speed test itself. Be careful.

You can run a download-only test, upload-only test, or latency. There’s an option to sign up for an account to get results emailed to you directly. You can even use the Automatic Speed Test option to have it regularly check bandwidth in the background, then come back later to get the results.

Fast from Netflix

(Credit: Netflix/PCMag)

Netflix has a vested interest in making sure the internet used by its customers is lightning fast. So it has its very own speed test. Visit and you don’t even have to click a button. It starts an immediate download speed test. You can click for more results, get latency and upload test results, and share data on Facebook or X instantly. With, however, you can’t pick the server you test against. There is also a Fast Speed Test app for iOS and Android.

Recommended by Our Editors


Speed of Me

Speedof.Me (Credit: PCMag)

Speedof.Me has a zippy little test that works on mobile devices and the desktop—it was one of the first HTML5-based speed tests to come along as Flash and Silverlight stopped being supported by major browsers. It offers a history if you run multiple tests, and provides an “instant look” graph as the test runs multiple passes for download and upload. It has 100+ servers in North America, Europe, Asia, South America, and a couple in Australia—it picks the fastest (vs. the closest) one for you.

Search Engines

Go to your search engine of choice—if those choices are Google or Bing—and search the term “speed test.” Both will pop up a test in the top of the search results.

Bing’s test looks like Ookla’s Speed Test, because that’s exactly what powers it. It provides quick latency, download, and upload results. You can’t track multiple tests or pick a server.

Google's Internet Speed Test

Google’s Internet Speed Test (Credit: Google/PCMag)

Google’s test is run by Measurement Lab (M-Lab). The results are the usual download and upload speed plus latency, with no tracking or adjustment to settings. M-Lab also powers the speed tests hosted by sites like HighSpeedInternet and Broadbandnow.

There are plenty of other tests you can try, like Fireprobe, SpeedSmart, SpeedCheck, and Ubiquiti’s WiFiman. The FCC also offers some tests, but only in the form of mobile apps. If you have a favorite, let us know in the comments.

Disclosure: Ookla is owned by PCMag’s parent company, Ziff Davis.

Like What You’re Reading?

Sign up for Tips & Tricks newsletter for expert advice to get the most out of your technology.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

Next Post

Far-left group claims attack on Tesla factory in Germany | Technology News

Wed Mar 6 , 2024
Production halted at electric vehicle plant in Brandenburg after suspected arson attack causes power outage. Tesla has halted production at its German factory after power lines supplying the plant were set on fire in an act of “sabotage” claimed by a far-left group. Emergency services were called early on Tuesday […]
Far-left group claims attack on Tesla factory in Germany | Technology News

You May Like