A solid option when trying to find out the current bandwidth of your network is Fast.com. By simply going to the site in your browser, the test is automatically launched and will swiftly return not only your network download speed but also let you know the upload capacity as well as latency rates. Just like its name suggests, it’s a fast way to troubleshoot any issues.
It might sound like some kind of Jazz Funk album from the seventies, but Speedtest by Ookla is another excellent way to gauge the performance of your network. When you visit the site, you’re greeted with a large button marked Go, so it’s hardly a complicated user experience.
As the test runs you’ll see a graphic akin to a speedometer in a car, the needle of which will hopefully remain high. Once the download speed is calculated it moves onto upload speeds while also letting you know the Ping rate, which is an essential factor for online gaming.
Should you prefer, Ookla offers free apps for Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and others so you can launch a test straight from your desktop or home screen.
One tester that takes a more modern approach is Speedof.me, which uses HTML 5 rather than the normal Flash or Java to conduct its analysis. This can make the process a little bit quicker but is probably more appealing for those who want to use their mobile devices to measure the network performance. Most smartphones and tablets don’t run Flash anymore, so Speedof.me offers a great alternative.
The interface is easy to understand, with a large wave graphic indicating the speed and consistency of the signal, but of course there are numbers given so you can make sense of it all.
As well as the independent services listed above, you will also find that your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will also have a speed test available online. This can a useful way of showing them that your connection is not running as efficiently as it should, but we’d also recommend running all of the ones above before you go to the ISP as it will give you additional results to use in your discussion.
You’ll usually find the feature by Googling the name of your provider and speed test together or visiting its website and doing a search there. There’s a good chance you may need to log into your account before accessing the test, so be sure to have your details to hand.
Switch your router or your provider
If you find that the problem is with your hardware, then take a look at our roundup of the best Wi-Fi routers as this could give your network the shot in the arm that it needs. Alternatively, you could consider moving to a new provider that may offer a better service. Just be sure you check out our guide on how to choose a broadband service before you make any commitments.