Internet service providers like to make a lot of claims about upload and download speeds when you sign up, but do you ever wonder how those numbers compare to the speeds you’re actually getting once the connection is set up?
These alternative browser-based speed tests will help you determine your upload and download speeds, as well as identify other issues with your network such as packet loss, latency issues, or physical connection problems.
There are a number of factors involved in deciding which speed test results you should take seriously, and which might be hokum. These tests specifically performed better than a lot of others, offering multiple test server locations, more detailed connection information and comparison tools, and better-designed user interface than some of the more basic tests.
Speedof.me is an HTML5-based speed test that’s lightweight and designed to replicate real-world browsing and downloading conditions by requesting a series of files in increasing size and recording the speed at which they’re downloaded.
Not only does the site display a graph of speeds achieved in real-time, but also allows you to track your results against previous tests. Rather than selecting a location, the website calculates the quickest and most reliable server from 59 available servers, and all files are downloaded and uploaded in sequence–rather than simultaneously–to imitate real internet browsing conditions.
If you’re looking for a test that offers more data than the average speed sight, TestMy.net runs a series of tests and provides a lot of useful comparison data. There are separate options for both download and upload tests, so be sure to try them both.
When it’s done, the results show your speed as rated against other recent users, so you can get a good idea of where you stand. It also displays a graph with your connection over time, so you can see if you had trouble sustaining a good connection the whole time. If these numbers are a little unfamiliar to you, there’s also plenty of documentation and easy-to-understand guides that can help you better identify what the problem is with your internet connection.
Ookla’s bandwidth diagnostic software shows up on a number of the other speed test sites listed here, but the most full-featured iteration of the test is on Speedtest.net, which is owned by Ookla. The tech used here is both intelligent and speedy: It picks five nearby servers (out of a list of more than 1,000), runs a full test, and returns upload and download speed, latency, and packet loss.
You can fill out a survey after the test, answering questions about the claimed speed of your ISP and monthly connection costs, which allows Ookla to amass an impressive database of consumer connection information, which can be viewed and broken down by region on their NetIndex site. The site uses a flash-based applet, but it’s lightweight and didn’t seem to have a noticeable impact on testing speeds.
VisualWare’s Myspeed internet test isn’t the definition of user-friendly, but it is a powerful, fast, and detailed tool for more than just measuring how fast you can download that new video game or stream a movie.
The test provides a wide range of data not included in other tests listed here, including network consistency percentages, latency, jitter, round trip time, TCP settings, and even a margin of error for its own timing so you know if data didn’t quite get recorded correctly.
Myspeed’s site also allows you to check for network performance based on different tasks, like using VOIP and video services, or to check for firewall settings and potential issues. While this is great for professional testing in specific areas, Visualware is showing its age a bit, and will not work on some browsers like Google Chrome.
Another HTML5-based speed test, Bandwidth Place, pushes aside anything that might get in the way of accurate results, and is lightweight enough to run on a large number of devices. The site has been around since 2002, but adopted the new HTML protocol in early 2013 to expand its compatibility and allow easy access from mobile devices.
Server selection is either done by lowest available ping, or using specific locations and servers that allow you to see how distance alters your latency and speeds. In addition to offering internet speed information, Bandwidth Place also provides news about broadband services and offers regarding more comprehensive connectivity options.
Speakeasy is a net speed test created by MegaPath, and it functions a little differently from the others on our list. Here, instead of just a country or a state, you pick a major city from a drop-down menu. Cities around the edges of the United States are purposefully offered — sorry, flyover states — to give a broad range of comparison options. Apps are also available for different devices and operating systems. However, Speakeasy does run on Flash and is thus incompatible with some browsers depending on your settings.