Internet providers all over the world often boast about ultra-fast internet speeds in their advertisements and consumer-facing public relations broadcasts. Whether it's the latest in fiber optics or just your run-of-the-mill WiFi, you can be sure that your internet provider will make exaggerated claims about consistency, upload, and download speeds.
Whenever you sign up to a new internet contract, the first thing you should do is perform an internet speed test. This article provides an unbiased overview of the 10 best free internet speed test solutions for your phone and desktop:
- Google Fiber Speed Test
- Online Speedtest by Ookla
- Verizon Speed Test
- AT&T Internet Speed Test
- Xfinity Speed Test
Read on for the detailed analysis of each solution.
Test My Internet Speed
Internet speed tests are free online services or apps that allow you to test the real-time speed of your internet. Most of the time, we don't think of using an internet speed test unless our internet is already slow. But it’s important to test your internet anytime you sign up for a new plan or switch internet providers. If there’s anyone principle behind this process, it’s that broadband providers are notoriously dishonest when it comes to marketing their internet speeds.
Performing a speed test will indicate your download and upload speeds. Speeds are usually measured in megabytes per second with download speeds often performing much faster than upload speeds. The reason for this is that most internet services are optimized for downloading information, such as streaming or loading web pages. Upload speed measures how quickly your connection sends information to others and is thus often slower.
If your internet feels laboriously slow or you just switched to a new plan, test your new connection with one of the best speed tests. Internet speed tests give you an accurate indication of the real-time speed of your connection meaning how much bandwidth is available to you at the current time.
Best Internet Speed Test Solutions
There is no need to worry about how to test internet speed. Testing is easy. Simply open one of the many free internet speed tests and run it. It will quickly tell you the real speed of your connection. With this information, you can then determine whether you’re getting what you paid for. Test your speed then compare it with the speed your internet service provider advertised.
Continue reading as we review the 10 of the most popular free internet speed tests.
Google Fiber Speed Test is the best speed test from Google, one of the original providers of fiber optics around the world. While fiber optics are known for offering some of the fastest speeds, most people rely on wireless connections to power their internet connections.
While designed with Google Fiber in mind, Google Fiber Speed Test can be used to test any internet speed. The user interface is clean and minimalist, something users have come to expect from Google. Free from cluttered ads, users are directed to click the play button. Clicking the play button will begin the test, with results quickly appearing in the speedometer in the middle of the screen. Here Google also offers a link to learn more about speed testing in general, what affects speeds, and how to improve internet speed.
- Simple User Interface
- No Ads
- Potential Bias/not an Independent Service Provider
Ookla is the original provider of free online speed tests. As the global leader in internet speed testing, users can trust Ookla to deliver accurate results measuring performance and network diagnostics. With the click of a single button, users can take advantage of Ookla’s free speed test to find out the most unbiased information regarding their real-time internet speeds. Unlike some of the speed test providers here, Ookla is not an internet provider and thus does not have a conflict of interest when it comes to providing free speed tests.
What’s great about Ookla’s Speedtest is that it offers users the opportunity to choose a test server anywhere in the world. While Ookla will automatically pair you up with a regional service, you can choose your own by clicking the ‘Change Server’ link and entering a search in the search bar. This is great for those who are curious about ping times between themselves and others in distant geographical regions.
- Relatively Unbiased
- Global Leader
- Server Selection
Far more than just a simple speed test, NetSpot is a complete wireless auditor solution for analyzing wireless area coverage, network security, network feasibility and much more. NetSpot can help individuals and consumers determine the optimal set up for wireless networks through its analysis of wireless radio frequency behavior. With a full site survey, NetSpot can help you determine your WiFi coverage, find "dead" zones as well as help you to understand where to place the equipment to enable maximum coverage. With its data collections and data visualization software, users can collect important information about their networks and workplaces to optimize wireless network solutions.
NetSpot also works wonders as a troubleshooter for solving issues related to network connectivity. Use NetSpot to resolve connection issues and identify sources of wireless interference all while receiving professional service and advice.
- Holistic Wireless Diagnostic Service
- A Huge Array of Features
- Great for Businesses
- Free for Personal Use
- Complicated User Interface
- Far More Than a Simple Speed Test
Verizon Wireless is the largest internet service provider in the United States with over 147 million customers. With so many customers and so many different internet plans, its no wonder Verizon offers a free speed test. While it’s simply good customer service to provide a free speed test to your customers, you have to wonder whether Verizon speed test results are actually impartial.
Huge internet speed providers such as Verizon have vested interests in maintaining their public-facing credibility as top internet speed providers. With this in mind, users should also consider testing their internet speeds on one of the independent internet speed test sites. Nevertheless, Verizon’s free speed test is simple to use and offers a range of tips and other information for users.
- Intuitive user interface
- Links to resources and other information
- Biased source
- Large ad space for Verizon
- US only
Fast.com is an easy-to-use free Internet speed test site run by Netflix. It measures your download speed by testing your connection between your device and Netflix's servers, they use in their content delivery system.
Simply visit Fast.com — the official Netflix speed test website — and instantly your internet speed to be thrown up on the screen. If it’s a few Mbps less than what you’re expected, there’s no cause for concern.
Netflix mainly expects this to be used by people who want to test if their current speed can handle Netflix content, however, the results you get are pretty similar to the results you'd get with a speed test directly from your ISP.
- No Ads
- Super Clean Interface
- Test Runs On a Secure https Protocol
- Lack of Information About Troubleshooting or Improving Connection Speeds
Speedof.me is an HTML5 Internet speed test designed for most operating systems and optimized for mobile devices. Speedof.me offers a useful program to test download and upload speeds, visualizing the results in a colorful graph in real time. If you’re looking to perform multiple speed tests over time, Speedof.me includes a history graph to help you compare past results. This can be useful for running speed diagnostics concerning potential throttling or rush hour times. As providers can sometimes be overwhelmed by popular usage, Speedof.me can help you determine the time of day when your internet connection is most powerful.
- HTML5 Optimized For Mobile and Desktop
- Convenient Data Visualization
- Ads on Site
- Slightly Cluttered Interface
AT&T offers an online Internet speed test by DSLReports. Even though it looks a bit outdated, the service itself performs well and provides accurate results. We appreciate that it displays test results as plain text, making it easy to copy and save them for later.
- Provides Download Estimates For MP3 Files and Video Clips
- Provides Upload Estimates For Email Attachments and Photo Galleries
- No Information Regarding The Testing Location
- No Information About Your IP address
- No Information About Internet Service Provider (ISP)
- No Information Providing Ping/Latency Results on Mobile Devices
The Xfinity Speed Test by Comcast Cable Communications is a handy tool to quickly test your Internet speed. It takes just a few seconds to get your download and upload speed numbers, and it will even tell you what your latency is across the network. Like other similar services, it automatically chooses a server to ping in order to measure your speeds. However, if you want to, you can select your own testing location. The service isn’t bogged down by ads, which is awesome.
Xfinity also shares a few simple tips for increasing speeds about router placement, device capabilities, updating operating systems, etc.
- No ads
- Test Runs on a Secure https Protocol
- You Can Select Testing Location
- Support for Both IPv6 and IPv4
- Test Results Sharing
- Limited Information Regarding the IP Address Used for Testing
- No Graph View
- Doesn't Work While Switching Between Tabs or Minimizing the Browser
Meteor is a free internet speed test meter by OpenSignal available for iOS and Android that allows you to test your download/upload speeds, and do a ping test. At the bottom of your test results, Meteor has a list of apps (25 apps) with assessments of how well they'd work based on your last test. It will break down the app’s performance into four categories: Poor, OK, Very Good and Awesome - based on the current network connection available.
In the list of supported apps are the following: Gmail, Facebook, Youtube, Google Maps, WhatsApp, Twitter, and 19 apps more! Just click on a specific app, and it will provide a breakdown of how well it will work based on your current connectivity.
- Nice and Colorful UI
- Results are Pretty Accurate
- Takes Much Time to Complete a Test
- No Connection Boost Feature
SpeedSmart is a useful Internet speed test that provides information about download/ upload speeds, and ping information for your connection. That ping information could be valuable if you’re trying to do a deeper analysis of your connection.
SpeedSmart supports a series of advanced settings to get the best of your Internet connection and offers an iOS and Android apps you can download and run to keep a history of results.
Thanks to the detailed history list, chart and stats this tool saves, you can always keep track of your Internet connection speed values.
- No Pop-ups
- Takes Much Time to Complete a Test
- No Connection Boost Feature
Test Away With Free Speed Tests
Testing your internet speed regularly is the best defense against being taken advantage of by your internet service provider. While you can definitely use your service provider’s proprietary speed test, it’s always good to cross reference your results with those of an independent third party test. This way you can be sure that you’re getting what you paid for in full.