Testing Your Internet Speed with Speedtest.net
Have you ever wondered how fast your Internet connection really is? Are you subscribing to a “high-speed” service and just want to check if you are reaching the advertised speed?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, the good news is that it’s very easy to do so. There is a website that runs a speed test for you and it’s very user friendly. It’s called Speedtest.net
You can either type http://www.speedtest.net into your web browser’s address bar or you can click on this link http://www.speedtest.net/
Once there you should see this screen:
This is the home page for the site. To begin the test you will want to click on the button labeled “Begin Test”. This will start the speed test. You will notice that there is a notification saying that it is searching for the best server based on ping. In a nutshell, this means it is trying to find the closest server for best performance. Three tests will be run. Ping, download and upload. As a general rule, the lower your ping result is, the better. This is basically a measurement of how fast it takes your computer to send out a signal (packet) and receive it back. The two results that are probably the most important to you are download and upload. This is how fast you can download and upload files from the Internet. The higher the numbers are on these measurements, the better.
Once the test is finished you will see all three results in the same window. By default the measurements are in megabits per second (Mbps). I know that when it comes to computers, most people are more familiar with megabytes (MB). If this is you, then you can change the settings of the site and run the test again.
To Change Results from Megabits to Megabytes
There are four grey tabs in the upper left hand corner of the Speedtest.net home page. The third one from the left is labeled “Settings”. Click on this tab to open the following screen.
All the way down at the bottom left hand corner there is a box labeled “Speed Measurement”. There is a drop-down selector. This is where you can change how the results are presented to you. Select “megabytes” and then click the blue “Save” button at the bottom of the page. Then you can return to the home page and run another speed test. After it is finished you will notice that the results are now in megabytes per second. This usually makes things easier for people to understand.
One thing that I would like to mention is that your results will always vary. The speed of your connection depends on a lot of things from the amount of traffic on the network to the server you are trying to hit and how many servers are in between. I don’t want to get too technical here because it can get pretty confusing. But just keep in mind, that Internet speed is never “constant”. It will always vary to some degree or another.
If your Internet subscription has advertised a certain speed and after running this test you find that you are nowhere near that speed. I would suggest calling your service provider (ISP) and getting them to sort things out. If it has been going on for a significant amount of time you may be able to get them to issue a credit.
I hope that you have found this article useful. Even though it’s a simple test to run, knowing your Internet speed is something that most people would like to know. Having a base number is handy to have so that you can compare against other services and companies if you are shopping around for a new provider. You will be able to tell when something is wrong with your Internet and plus it’s just plain fun to know how fast your Internet is. For the advanced users out there, this site is a lot more powerful than just a speedtest. In order to gain access to the advanced features and tools you must register with the site which is completely free. So, run those tests and see how fast you are. If you want you can post your results here in the comments section!