We're confident that our speed test tool is the most accurate around; here's why.
What is a broadband speed test?
The MoneySuperMarket broadband speed test is a free service that lets you test your internet connection in seconds. The results are sent to your inbox so you can see if you’re getting the broadband speed you’re paying for.Our speed test works on a range of connection types, including:
- Fibre optic
How do broadband speed tests work?
Broadband speed tests work by downloading and uploading sample packets of data known as ‘pings’ sent through UK servers, and measuring the speed at which the data transfers.
Are broadband speed tests accurate?
While we do everything we can to make our broadband speed test accurate, they will only offer you a result based on your connection speed at the time of taking the test. The tests won’t always represent a conclusive result about the general performance of your broadband.
What affects broadband speed test accuracy?
If you run our speed test multiple times, you might find variation in the results. This is because your broadband speed can be affected by the following factors, including:
- Current downloads: If you’re downloading anything through your connection this could be taking up bandwidth, meaning your speed is likely to seem slow
- Intensive programmes: Likewise if you run software that also access the internet this might be slowing your connection
- Other users: If you have a few people in your home using your Wi-Fi then the extra usage is probably affecting your internet speed
- Network coverage: If you’re testing a mobile connection you might find that the speed varies depending on your location, especially if you’re on the move. It’s best to run the test in a single location for a more accurate result
- Your router setup: If your computer is a long way away from your router, or you have lots of thick walls between you and it, your connection will probably be slower as it’s harder for signals to reach you
- Time of day: During times of peak usage, where more people are using the internet, speeds are likely to drop for everyone on the network. This is usually between 8 and 10pm, when the internet is most congested
How can I improve the accuracy of my broadband speed test?
To achieve the most accurate result from your broadband speed test, you should try the following before you run the test:
- Avoid downloading anything in the background or on any other devices connected to the same network
- Stay as close to your router as you can
- Make sure all wires and cables are connected properly
- Ensure there’s nothing blocking the path between your router and the device you’re running the test on, such as a case or another device
- Switch off any devices that can affect your Wi-Fi that you don’t need, such as microwaves, baby monitors and any smart home devices
- If you’re testing a mobile network make sure you can remain stationary for the whole time
Why do other broadband speed tests give me different results?
You might get varying results if you’re trying a number of different speed testers. While this can be down to any of the factors listed above, if you’ve made sure the conditions are the same for each test it might just be that the software or technology used by the tests is different.
Some tests are even adjusted to perform well on certain sites and poorly on others, so it’s worth using a variety of tests to get a more complete picture.
Why should you check your broadband speed?
Checking your broadband speed is quick and easy to do. Here’s why it’s important to find out how quick your access to the internet is:
- You might not have access to the advertised speed you signed up for
- You can compare how your speed compares to neighbours’ and friends’
- You could you get a better broadband deal for your area
- There may be something you can do to improve your broadband speed
Data collected by Lightspeed/Mintel in January 2019, accurate as of May 2019
How do I complain about my broadband speed?
You can always go to your broadband provider directly if you aren’t happy with the speed you’re getting. If they haven’t resolved the issue you can also escalate the issue to the ombudsman.
You can usually use your speed test results to back up your complaint, which can be particularly useful if you took out your broadband agreement after 1 March 2019 and your provider is signed up to the voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed.
What is the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed?
The Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed is a scheme set up by the regulator, Ofcom, to help users get a better estimate of the kind of speed they’ll get with their broadband deal when they sign up. It also holds providers responsible for making sure the customers have access to the speeds they’re promised.
If the provider you’ve chosen have opted in to the Voluntary Code of Practice on Broadband Speed at the time you sign up or renew your contract, it will give you two figures:
- The estimated broadband speed you can expect during peak hours (the busiest time on the network)
- A guaranteed minimum broadband speed
If your broadband speed isn’t meeting the minimum your provider has guaranteed, you can make a complaint – and if the problem isn’t resolved in 30 days, you’ll be able to leave your contract without a penalty.
What do my results mean?
|Broadband Download Speed||Typical Use|
|0.5 Mbps (Megabits per second)||0.5 Mbps (Megabits per second) If speeds are consistent, this should be sufficient for audio streaming, email and very basic web browsing|
|1 Meg (Mbps)||Basic video streaming should work, alongside standard web pages|
|2 Meg (Mbps)||Standard definition (SD) video via BBC iPlayer should be possible|
|5 Meg (Mbps)||Should allow high definition (HD, 1080p) video streaming to run smoothly|
|8 Meg (Mbps)||Should be able to support video streaming and other activities at the same time without buffering|
|15 Meg (Mbps)||This connection will support a few video streams as well as other activity at the same time|
|25 Meg (Mbps)||Should be able to stream pre-recorded ultra-HD video (UHD, 4k) smoothly|
|40 Meg (Mbps)||Should be able to stream live Ultra HD video (UHD, 4k) smoothly|
|Broadband Upload Speed||Typical Use|
|0.1 Mbps (Mega bits per second)||Adequate to send simple text emails|
|0.4 Meg (Mbps)||Online gaming should be possible, though remember gaming is very latency sensitive|
|0.8 Meg (Mbps)||Webcam video streams over Skype or other video chat services should be of reasonable quality|
|2 Meg (Mbps)||HD webcam streaming may be possible|
|10 Meg (Mbps)||Uploading 200MB of holiday video to the cloud will take around four to five minutes|
Date collected by Lightspeed/Mintel in January 2019, accurate as of May 2019
Compare broadband tariffs with MoneySuperMarket
If you’re looking for a new broadband provider, comparing tariffs with MoneySuperMarket is the best way to find a cheaper deal. All you need to do is enter your postcode and tell us what you want from your tariff and we’ll show you a list of deals available in your area.
You’ll be able to compare them by the usage limits – if there are any – as well as broadband speed, monthly cost, and whether you get home phone, TV, and any freebies with the tariff. Once you’ve decided which deal you want to go for, just click through to the provider to finalise your purchase.