Best Practices for Connection Speed Testing
Download speeds depend on a lot of different things. The remote server and the number of “hops” (Internet routers) in between you and the server will both impact what you see. It may not even just be the Internet infrastructure itself – the remote server may only want to give you so much download bandwidth, or it may be bogged down.
You can’t just rely on the download speeds you see when downloading normal files and documents; you’ll need to test this a bit more scientifically. The ideal would be to find a server close to you, one that has a large amount of bandwidth available. You could then try to download from it and upload to it, seeing just how high your download and upload speeds could reach. This ensures you’d just be measuring the last-mile connection speed between you and your ISP as accurately as possible.
That’s why you need dedicated tools for measuring your connection speed. For the most accurate results possible, don’t just run the tool once without thinking about it. Here’s what you really need to do:
Bypass Your Wi-Fi Router:
To get the most accurate speed test results, connect your computer directly to your cable modem using an Ethernet cord. As a general rule, connecting via your Wi-Fi router will return a lower, less accurate speed test. When connecting via your Wi-Fi router, your speed will depend on how many people around you are using the Wi-Fi connection, as well as the signal quality from your router and other factors.
Ensure You Aren’t Already Using Your Internet Connection:
Is someone else streaming Netflix in the other room, or are you downloading files on your computer? Pause all other applications and make sure only the speed test is using your connection. If the tool can’t saturate your connection, the numbers you’ll see will be low.
Measure More Than Once:
A single measurement isn’t the be-all, end-all of connection speeds. Measure more than once, preferably at different times during the day. You may have faster Internet connection speeds at night when everyone is sleeping, and slower connection speeds in the evening when your neighbors are using their home Internet connections.
How to Test Your Connection Speed
The actual process of measuring your connection speed is simple. The gold standard for this is Speedtest.net, and that’s what we recommend you use. Using it on your computer is as simple as visiting the website and clicking the “Begin Test” button.