Broadband Speed Test

Is your broadband connection slower than it should be? Use our broadband speed test to:

  • Compare your connection with different providers in your area
  • Enter your details into our speed-checker tool below
  • Switch to a faster provider

 

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How does our broadband speed test work?

Compare the Market’s broadband speed checker is a free, quick and easy way to check the speed of your broadband connection. 

Before you check your broadband speed, make sure you’re connected to the WiFi network you want to test. Enter your postcode and select whether you’re testing a home or work connection. Then find your current provider from the drop-down list and hit the ‘test my broadband’ button.

You may find your broadband speed is slower than you expected, or that faster speeds are available in your area. Your results compare connection speeds to your neighbours’ average speeds. If you think you’d like to switch providers, we’ll give you some options.

What happens during the broadband speed test? 

Our broadband speed checker sends a signal to a test server, which goes back to your device. The checker then measures the time it takes your device to respond. The server also sends your device packets of test data and measures how quickly this is transferred.

Measuring upload speed is basically the same thing in reverse, with data being sent back to the test server. This is done several times to test your connection’s capacity and to make sure you get the most accurate reading. You’ll notice that your upload and download speeds are measured in milliseconds.

Why should you use our broadband speed checker? 

Accurate

Check your actual speed to see if you’re getting the best value broadband for your needs and compare what options are available in your area.

Quick

Quick and easy to use, our free broadband speed test runs straight from your browser, giving you results in a matter of seconds.

All types of broadband

Can be used for testing all types of broadband connections including ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line), fibre-optic, cable and mobile broadband.

Author image Holly Cox

What our expert says...

“Our broadband speed test is a quick and easy way to see if you’re getting the speeds you’re paying for. We recommend running the test a few times a day to get a helpful snapshot of your average internet speed. You can then use the results to compare your broadband speed with other providers in your area. If you can access faster broadband where you live, you might want to start looking for a better deal.”

- Holly Cox, Digital expert

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^For the period 1st June to 31st August 2021, 8944 people responded to the recommend question. 8,226 responded with a score of 6 or above, therefore 92.0% are likely to recommend.

Frequently asked questions

Are broadband speed tests accurate?

A broadband speed test only provides a snapshot of your internet connection at the time you test it. For thorough results, you’ll need to check your broadband speed at different times of day. Try it during peak hours (8pm to 10pm), then again at quieter times.

This is useful because broadband speed can depend on several factors, including: 

  • How many people in your house use broadband.
  • How many people in your area use broadband.
  • Whether your network uses fibre-optic cables or copper-wire phone lines (fibre-optic networks are usually much faster).
  • How close you are to the telephone exchange.
  • WiFi results are slower than wired or ethernet connections, so make sure you’re close to your router – ideally within 10 metres – before starting your test.

How can I get the most accurate results?

When testing your broadband speed, here are some factors to consider: 

  • Make sure no one else is using the internet when you run the test. If your children or flatmates are streaming and gaming, it’ll drain your speed. Stop downloads on all devices that use your WiFi network, and remember to stop them on mobiles and TV services too.
  • If possible, turn off all devices using the WiFi network, along with any other devices that could affect signal strength.
  • Make sure all cables to your router are properly connected.
  • Check there are no large objects between your device and the wireless router.
  • Make sure your router is placed in an elevated position (on a table or shelf, not on the floor) away from electronic devices, such as cordless phones and monitors.
  • Use a wired connection – an ethernet cable will be most reliable. Your WiFi speed probably won’t be quite as strong as it would be with a wired connection, but your broadband provider simply needs to hit the advertised speed. If your WiFi isn’t reaching that, you have grounds to complain.

What broadband bandwidth will you need?

When carrying out your broadband speed test, consider how you use the internet. If you’re working from home, you’ll need plenty of bandwidth for video conferencing and file sharing, especially if there’s more than one of you in the home office. If you like to stream TV and movies or listen to music through Spotify, you’ll want to make sure you have enough for everyone.

What do the results of my internet speed test mean?

Once you have the results of your speed test, you can work out if it’s enough for your needs or whether you should search around for a faster broadband package.

To give you an idea, here’s a breakdown of the broadband speeds you’ll need for popular online activities:

Activity

Minimum bandwidth speeds Mbps

BBC iPlayer

1.5 Mbps - SD

5 Mbps - HD

Netflix

3 Mbps - SD

5 Mbps - HD

25 Mbps - Ultra HD/4K

Xbox One

3 Mbps

Spotify

0.096 Mbps – mobile

0.160 Mbps - desktop

What factors affect my internet speed?

Plenty of factors can impact your broadband speed. Here are some examples: 

  • The type of connection
    There are three main connection types: ADSL, fibre to the cabinet (FTTC) and fibre to the premises (FTTP). The speeds of each vary massively. ADSL averages speeds of up to 10 Mbps. FTTC connections usually manage around 50-70 Mbps. FTTP connections offer the fastest speeds – up to 1,000 Mbps.
  • How many people are online
    If you have a busy home with many people online at the same time, your speeds are bound to suffer because the bandwidth is being split between all of you.
  • How you use the internet
    If you’re using your broadband to download huge files or you constantly stream content, your speeds for other internet activities may suffer.
  • Your WiFi hub
    If your WiFi router is hidden away or at the other end of a big house, your connection might suffer. That means you won’t be working with the best speeds available to you.
  • Wired vs. wireless
    Generally, the best internet connections are wired. These are more reliable because you’re plugged straight into the source. If your speed isn’t fast enough over WiFi, you could try boosting it by plugging in an ethernet cable.

What connection types do I need to run an internet speed test?

Our broadband speed test can measure the speed for all types of broadband connections including: 

  • ADSL
  • Fibre optic
  • Cable
  • Mobile broadband.

How does distance from the exchange affect broadband speed?

If you’re using an ADSL or FTTC connection, the distance between your home and the exchange cabinet in the street can make a big difference to your broadband speed. That’s because these types of connections use the copper telephone wires, which don’t work as well over large distances. The further from the cabinet you are, the greater the drop-off in speed. To avoid this problem, a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection is best, as the fibre cables connect straight to your home, bypassing the poorer copper cables. But FTTP connections tend to be more expensive and less widely available.

Why is my internet connection so slow?

If your internet is still unreasonably slow after you’ve double-checked your cables, router and any other factors that could affect your test, there may be other reasons for a sluggish connection: 

  • Your browser needs updating – newer versions of your web browser work faster and are more secure.
  • Old equipment – older routers and computers can cause slower speeds. If your equipment is getting on a bit, it might be time to update.
  • Too many devices – the more devices connected in your home, the slower your internet will be.
  • Peak-time traffic – if a lot of people are using the internet at the same time, the local connection can get congested causing a drop in speed – usually at peak times during the evening.
  • Your password is not secure – if your router isn’t password-protected, anyone in the vicinity could piggyback your broadband. A secure network will have a padlock next to it. If yours doesn’t, someone could be stealing your WiFi and slowing things down.
  • Your broadband package is too slow – if you have ADSL and it can’t keep up with the demands of your household, it may be time to upgrade to a faster fibre package.

How can I improve my broadband speed?

If your broadband isn’t quick enough, here are some ways to get a faster connection:

Change your broadband connection type

If you’re on an ADSL or fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connection, upgrading your broadband could really jump-start your speeds. To give you an idea, ADSL connections usually offer speeds of up to 10 Mbps. FTTC connections are more than five times faster, jumping to around 50-70 Mbps. For even faster speeds, try a fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) connection. These can offer speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps – the fastest available. Unfortunately, FTTP connections are less widely available as the fibre cables need to be connected directly to your home.

Move your WiFi hub

This might sound too simple, but it can make a big difference. If you hide your WiFi router in a cupboard or behind the sofa, or it’s tucked away in a far corner of your home, your connection may suffer. Moving your hub into an open space, where the connection isn’t blocked by walls, furniture or anything else, could see your speeds improve considerably.

Keep your router away from electronic devices

Halogen lights, TV and baby monitors, dimmer switches and even fairy lights can interfere with your router’s performance. Keep your router away from both wired and wireless electronic devices to ensure you’re always receiving the best signal.

Use a wired connection

If your wireless broadband still isn’t cutting it, try a wired connection. An ethernet cable will plug your device into your connection's source. This will give you a more stable and usually faster speed. It might be a hassle to tether your device to something but can help in a pinch.

What does it mean if I get different results from other broadband speed tests?

There are quite a few speed tests out there, so if you’re trying different ones, your results may vary. It could be that the conditions have changed slightly between tests, or the software or technology used by each speed tester is different.

It’s a good idea to check your internet speed on different sites, as it can give you a better overall picture. Just make sure you run each test under the same conditions – time of day, position of your router, other devices turned off etc, to get more accurate results.

What should I do if I’m not getting the broadband speed I was promised?

Not getting the broadband speed you want can be a good reason to switch providers. But what if you’re still under contract?

If your broadband contract started after 1 March 2019, and your service provider has opted into Ofcom’s Voluntary Codes of Practice on Broadband Speed, you can complain to your provider if speeds fall short of what was promised. If the problem persists after 30 days, you can walk away from your contract, penalty-free.

For contracts starting before 1 March 2019, or those with providers who haven’t opted into the code of practice, you can still complain to the provider. And if they don’t sort out the problem, you can contact the ombudsman.

What is the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed?

Ofcom’s Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed is designed to make sure you get the broadband speeds you were promised when you signed up. It holds broadband providers accountable for the speeds they promise and encourages them to fix any issues.

If you’re signing up to a broadband provider who has opted into the voluntary code of practice (most of the big ones have), they must give you an estimated connection speed for usage during peak times. This is when your connection is most likely to slow down as there are more users, which can cause a strain on the network.

Your broadband provider must also give you a minimum guaranteed speed. If you’re not getting this speed and make a complaint, your provider has 30 days to fix the issue. If they can’t, you can leave your contract, free of charge, and find another provider.

How can I complain about my broadband speeds?

If you think your broadband speeds aren’t as fast as they should be, start by running a broadband speed test to gather evidence to support a complaint. Once you’ve confirmed your suspicions, contact your internet service provider (ISP).

Your broadband provider is required by Ofcom to give you advice on how to increase your speed. If they can’t solve the problem and guarantee their advertised speed within 30 days, you can cancel your contract free of charge. This means you’ll be able to join a new broadband provider and hopefully get a better speed.

When complaining, the important thing is to be persistent.

But first be clear on what’s in your contract. Broadband providers advertise speeds of ‘up to’ a certain amount, but they don’t promise you’ll get these speeds all the time. However, broadband providers must now offer a minimum guaranteed speed. Find out what this speed is and hold them to it.

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