If your internet connection seems slow, the first step is often to benchmark it using an internet speed test. An internet speed test can give you a fairly accurate indication of how much bandwidth is available to you at the current time.
Important: See How to Test Your Internet Speed for a full tutorial on testing your bandwidth and help determining when using something other than one of these speed testers is a better idea.
Internet speed tests are great for proving that you are, or are not, getting the bandwidth from your ISP that you’re paying for. They can also help determine if bandwidth throttling is something your ISP is engaging in.
Test your bandwidth with one or more of these free internet speed test sites and then compare that information with the high-speed plan you’ve signed up for.
Tip: The best internet speed test would be one between you and any given website you’re using but these should give a general idea of the kind of bandwidth you have available. See my 5 Rules for a More Accurate Internet Speed Test for more advice.
1. ISP Hosted Internet Speed Tests
Testing your internet speed between you and your Internet Service Provider is the best way to go if you’re planning on making an argument to your ISP about your slow internet connection.
While it’s possible that some of the other more generic internet speed tests further down my list are technically more accurate, it’ll be a hard case to make to your ISP that your internet service isn’t as fast as it should be unless you can show the same with the bandwidth tests they provide.
Here’s more on the official internet speed test sites for a number of popular internet service providers:
- Armstrong Internet Speed Test (Zoom)
- AT&T High Speed Internet Speed Test
- Cablevision (Optimum)
- CCI (SureWest)
- CenturyLink Broadband Speed Test (Quest)
- Charter Speed Test
- Comcast Speed Test (XFINITY)
- Cox Data Transfer Test
- Fios Speed Test (Verizon)
- FrontierNet Network Speed Test
- GCI Speed Test
- Midcontinent Speed Test
- Optimum (Cablevision)
- Quest Broadband Speed Test (CenturyLink)
- RCN Performance Tests
- SKYBEAM Speed Test
- SureWest Internet Speed Test
- TDS Telecommunications Speed Test
- Time Warner Cable Speed Test
- USI Wireless Speed Test
- Verizon FiOS Speedtest (Fios)
- Wave Broadband
- WOW! Speed Test
- XFINITY Speed Test (Comcast)
- Zoom Internet Speed Test (Armstrong)
Sprint no longer provides a hosted internet speed test for their service. Sprint customers, and customers without an ISP provided test, should use one of the independent bandwidth tests on this page.
Am I missing the official internet speed test site for your ISP or service? Let me knowthe name of the ISP and the link to the bandwidth test and I’ll get it added.
2. Service Based Speed Tests
These days, one of the primary reasons to test your internet speed is to make sure it’s fast enough for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO/NOW, etc.
At the moment, Netflix’s Fast.com is the only major service-specific speed test avaialble. It measures your download speed by testing your connection between your device and Netflix’s servers.
Let me know if you come across any more and I’d be happy to add them here.
Important: Tests like this are not a good way to test your overall bandwidth, nor will they hold much weight for an argument with your ISP, but they are accurate ways to test the bandwidth for one particular service that you care a lot about.
All things considered, SpeedOf.Me is the best non-ISP internet speed test available.
The best thing about this internet speed test service is that it works via HTML5, which is built-in to your browser, instead of Flash or Java, two plugins you’ll need to have installed already.
On most computers, this makes SpeedOf.Me faster to load and less of a burden on system resources… and almost certainly more accurate.
SpeedOf.Me utilizes 59 servers around the world and your internet speed test is run from the quickest and most reliable one at the given time.
HTML5 support also means that SpeedOf.Me works well in the browsers available on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, some of which, like Safari on the iPhone, that don’t support Flash.
4. TestMy.net Internet Speed Test
TestMy.net is easy to use, provides lots of information on how it works, and uses HTML5, which means it runs well (and fast) on mobile and desktop devices.
Multithreading is supported to test your internet connection speed against multiple servers at once for a single result, or you can choose just one server out of the handful that are available.
The results of a speed test can be shared as a graph, image, or text.
One of my favorite things about TestMy.net is all of the comparison data it provides. You’re of course given your own download and upload speed, but also how your speeds compare to the average of testers from your ISP, city, and country.
5. Speedtest.net Internet Speed Test
Speedtest.net is probably the most well-known speed test. It’s fast, free, and has available to it a huge list of worldwide test locations, making for more accurate results than average.
Speedtest.net also keeps a log of all the internet speed tests that you perform and creates an attractive results graphic you can share online.
Mobile apps for iPhone, Android, and Windows are also available from Speedtest.net, allowing you to test your internet speed from your phone to their servers!
The nearest internet testing server is automatically calculated based on your IP address.
Speedtest.net is operated by Ookla, a major provider of speed test technology to other internet speed test sites. See more about Ookla at the bottom of the page.
Bandwidth Place is yet another great internet speed test option with 20 servers across the world.
Like speedof.me above, Bandwidth Place works via HTML5, meaning it would be a great choice for an internet speed test from your mobile browser.
I wouldn’t use Bandwidth Place as my only test but it might be a good choice if you’d like to confirm results you’re getting with a better service like SpeedOf.Me or TestMy.net.
Speakeasy’s bandwidth test lets test your internet speed back and forth from a short list of server locations that you can choose manually.
Speakeasy might be to your liking then if you’re interested for some reason in testing your internet speed between yourself and a specific area of the US versus the closest server possible.
Ookla provides the engine and servers for Speakeasy, making it very similar to Speedtest.net, but I’ve included it here due to its popularity.
The CNET Internet Speed Test is bandwidth test that functions like most other Flash-based tests.
This isn’t my favorite internet speed test considering that there’s only one predefined testing location and no upload test. But hey, the graphics are kind of cool.
9. Ookla and Internet Speed Test Sites
Ookla has a kind of monopoly on internet speed testing, probably because they’ve made it so easy to use their technology on other sites. If you look carefully at a lot of internet speed test sites you find in search engine results, you might notice that ubiquitous Ookla logo.
Some of these speed tests however, like some of the ISP-hosted tests above, are powered by Ookla’s excellent software but use their own server as testing points. In those cases, especially when testing your internet speed against what you’re paying for, those tests are better bets than.
Many of these Ookla-powered bandwidth tests are essentially identically, meaning you’re better off sticking with Ooka’s own.