How to Check Internet Speed

By Bonnie Crowe

Internet service providers compete for your business by promising you top Internet speeds for your computers and various devices, but the only way to know if your ISP is following through is to test and verify its claims. The best way to check how fast your Internet is running is by measuring your upload and download speeds.

Step 1

Open your preferred browser and access the Internet.

Step 2

Navigate to one of the free Internet speed check sites, such as Ookla’s, or go to your Internet provider’s website and locate the site's speed testing tools.

Step 3

Click the “Begin Test” button. The program will scan your Internet connection and calculate how fast you are able to download files. It will then calculate how fast you are able to upload files to the Internet.

Step 4

Click “Compare your Result” to see where your Internet speed stacks up against other local businesses in your area.

Step 5

Re-test your speed using the same tool. Compare the two numbers or click “new server” and test the speed using a different server.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always measure Internet speed by bits-per-second. Bytes-per-second can be converted to bits-per-second by multiplying the number by 8.
  • The uppercase “B” means bytes, the lowercase “b” means bits.
  • Visit several pages and see how long it takes for the page to load. An isolated page that takes a long time to load is not due to your computer’s Internet speed capability, but rather problems with the host page’s server.
  • Test your speed at different times of the day. Certain peak usage times will make Internet browsing, uploads and downloads slower because so many people are accessing the server at the same time.
  • If you are using a router, make sure it is configured correctly and re-boot it by unplugging all connections, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging them in to clear the lines. Information bouncing through clogged, misconfigured or overloaded internet routers can affect your speed.
  • Call your cable company and ask them to ping your line to test that the signal is working strong and clear. From time to time, there can be problems with the signal, with the cable line or with an indoor cable splitter you may have added which can affect your Internet speed.
  • Check your computer for trojans, adware or spyware with antivirus and anti-adware or rootkit detector software. Adware, spyware, rootkits, trojans and viruses all can slow down your computer and your Internet connection.