Broadband speed test

Use our free broadband speed test to find out

  • Your current download speed
  • Your current upload speed
  • The ‘ping’ speed of your connection

(unsure what these are? Check out our broadband speed guide)

Broadband speed test

When you take out a broadband contract it is required by your provider to stipulate to you the average broadband speed that you should receive at your contracted location. Previously a provider could say you will receive “up to xxMbps” but since the intervention of the Advertising Standards Authority all broadband providers must give an average broadband speed. This is important because if you are not receiving a line speed within the average range of speeds that has been promoted to you by your provider you may be able to get money back or choose to cancel your contract penalty free.

By using our broadband speed checker tool you will be able to check just how fast your broadband connection really is.

Take the broadband speed test

Using our broadband speed checker tool couldn’t be easier. You simply need to click the “start test” button and the test will begin. We recommend that you do not have any other devices connected to the Internet and any unnecessary applications or computer programs are closed prior to starting the test. This is because if you have a program using data in the background you won’t get a true speed test result because the broadband connection is being shared with another device, program or application.

You can take the speed test using any kind of Internet capable device such as a computer, laptop, tablet, mobile phone, games console, etc. but depending on the type of equipment used you may receive a different test result. Similarly if you are physically connected to the router or accessing via Wi-Fi the results may differ. The optimum test will be from a modern PC or laptop connected to the router by an Ethernet cable with no data being transmitted over the broadband line whatsoever apart from when you start the speed test.

How does the speed test work?

When you click the “start test” button the tool will measure the time it takes to download a data file and upload a data file to servers based in the UK. The time your broadband takes to download and upload the packets of data will determine how fast your broadband connection is at that given time and an average download, upload and ping result will be provided free of charge.

Download speed

The download speed is the headline figure that you will usually see marketed against a broadband product. It is measured in Mbps (Megabits per second) and ADSL, fibre and superfast fibre will all use the Mbps metric to determine download speed. Don’t confuse Mbps with MB (megabytes) which is a measure of size as opposed to Mbps which measures data speed.

Upload speed

In many cases the upload speed can be just as important as the download speed. When you are sharing files on the Internet or posting pictures to social media for instance you are using your upload speed capability. You will find that your upload broadband speed will be a lot lower than your download speed.

Ping

The term “ping” is a technical computing term that you might not be familiar with but essentially it is a measure of “reaction time”. Your ping will be measured in milliseconds (ms) and the lower the score the better because it means your broadband has taken less time to respond. The quicker response time the better – particularly if you are an online gamer. At the top ends of the online gaming fraternity a low ping rate can be the difference between success and failure!

Why should I test my broadband speed?

There are a number of reasons why it is important that you test your broadband speed – both if you are thinking of moving broadband or even if you are happy with your current broadband:

  • By testing your broadband speed you can see whether the speed you are actually receiving is the speed you should be getting as per the average speed guarantees provided by your broadband operator.
  • If your speed test gives you a result which is lower than the average you are paying for you could be liable for money back on your bill or have the option to cancel your contract with no penalty to you. If for example you use Vodafone for your broadband they have a policy which is called the “Ultimate Speed Guarantee” which means if your broadband speed falls below the guaranteed broadband sync rate as stipulated by Vodafone for your service you can claim 15% off your broadband bill.
  • A speed test result that is significantly lower that you expect could mean there is a problem with your line. A simple call to your provider could result in your broadband line being fixed or upgraded so that you receive much faster broadband going forward.
  • It is good to test your broadband speed against friends or neighbours in the area who you know are with the same provider as yourself to ensure that you are getting a decent download rate.
  • Ultimately if you get a bad speed test result from your current broadband it could help you to make the decision to move your broadband to a faster broadband provider. Switching broadband is simple and can save you money on your current deal.

What factors could affect my broadband speed?

There are a significant number of things that can make a difference to your broadband speed checker score. Among them they include:

  • Taking the speed test using different devices will likely provide you with different results based on the age and sophistication of the technology within each device.
  • If you are connected by Wi-Fi your speed will potentially be lower that it would if you have a physical connection to your router.
  • Taking the test using a phone on mobile data will result in different scores based on the strength of the 4G signal wherever you are taking the test. If you are in a city your speed test score will be significantly better than if you were taking the test out in the countryside far away from the nearest phone mast.
  • If you or someone else is downloading or streaming content on the network whilst the speed test is being taken the overall result will be lower than it should be because bandwidth is being taken by the download or stream that would have been used as part of the speed test.
  • If you have programs or apps that are switched on whilst taking the speed test, they could be using bandwidth that would otherwise have been allocated to the broadband speed checker tool.
  • The location of the wireless router can bear a factor on the speed of the broadband. For example, a router that is hidden behind thick walls or is far away from the tested device can result in a slower result than expected.
  • Ideally the broadband speed test should be taken when there is only one person using the Internet at the time so all available bandwidth is allocated to the testing tool.
  • Bear in mind that there can be times during the day where there can be broadband congestion which could result in slower broadband. During peak usage times a high number of people using the broadband of your carrier could slow the overall broadband network down. Also during peak times some broadband providers can operate a traffic management policy so testing broadband speed is best done out of peak hours to get a true maximum speed result.
  • The type of broadband connection you have will determine the maximum download speeds you will obtain. In order of speed, you will receive the fastest broadband results from ADSL, fibre, then superfast fibre in that order. Mobile broadband can be very variable based on where you are in the country so speeds can be anywhere between the fixed home broadband levels.
  • Finally the quality of the phone line equipment to your property might be the reason why your broadband speed score was low. If this is the case you will need to arrange for an engineer to visit from your broadband company to improve the line quality.

Sky broadband speed test

Sky is one of the largest broadband providers in the UK – second only to BT currently. They have a wide range of broadband products on offer from standard ADSL through to faster fibre broadband contracts.

They come into their own when adding a Sky TV bundle package to the broadband deal. When TV features are added it is important to have a fast and reliable broadband line because Sky Go on demand and catch up TV is such an important and useful feature of Sky TV.

Virgin Media broadband speed test

Virgin Media have their own fibre optic network and provide the fastest fibre broadband connections of any readily available provider in the UK.

Superfast broadband from Virgin can hit in excess of 300Mbps if you are in a coverage area. If you are an existing Virgin Media customer take the broadband speed test to see where you compare against the average speed Virgin state for your account.

BT broadband speed test

BT are the largest telecommunications provider in the UK and their broadband infrastructure (BT Openreach) is what powers the broadband network or many of the broadband providers in the UK.

Test your broadband speed to see what your average BT download and uploads speeds are.

TalkTalk broadband speed test

If you are a current TalkTalk customer or you plan to move your broadband to TalkTalk you won’t receive the fastest broadband on the market, but you will get one of the most competitively priced.

If you are located in a good service area for TalkTalk you could get a decent average download speed couple with an excellent subscription price.

Plusnet broadband speed test

Plusnet (who are part of the BT group of companies) have a proud Yorkshire heritage and a strong commitment to good customer service (their call centres are UK based).

They have a no-nonsense selection of ADSL and fibre contracts at very reasonable prices and often have cashback deals on offer for new customers so overall they are a very solid choice.

EE broadband speed test

EE are primarily known for their mobile phone network but they also have a large home broadband service offering also.

If you are an existing customer of EE for your mobile phone plan you could get a good deal on your home ADSL and fibre broadband from EE. Use our broadband speed checker if you are an existing EE home broadband or EE mobile contract customer to see how fast your services really is.

If you are a customer of any of the abovementioned broadband providers and your speed check test result was below what you expected, you may want to consider switching broadband to another provider. It is extremely easy to switch broadband and great savings can be made on new contracts.