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Best internet speed tests of 2021

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You may think that the connection speed promised in your home internet package is what you consistently get – but that’s not always true. Speeds can slow down during peak use times and generally fluctuate throughout the day. They can also fail if your supplier applies data caps or accelerator connections to maintain the overall performance of the network.

Fortunately, there is an easy way to keep tabs on your home’s internet speeds and that is with an internet speed test. There are plenty of free options to choose from online, and you might even be able to run one from the same app you used to set up your router. In most cases, running a test is as easy as pressing “Go”.

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A good speed test will make it easy to see current download speeds, upload speeds, and latency (or ping) for whatever device you run the test on – but with so many options promising to do just that, which one should you trust?

Glad you asked the question: here are the ones we turn to first and why:

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

One of our favorites is the Ookla speed test, which has a solid reputation for consistency and for being one of the premier speed tests on the web. Popularity aside, we love Ookla for having everything a basic user needs from a speed test: accuracy, the ability to view your speed test history (when you create an account) , a wide variety of servers to connect to, and even a handy app for speed testing from your Android or iOS device.

Ookla has also done a good job of keeping up with the times by adding new features and capabilities over the years. Most recently, the service released a video-specific speed test that measures your network’s ability to handle 4K video streams. It also contains apps that you can run on Windows and on an Apple TV.

That said, Ookla displays banner ads while you run basic speed tests. This is not surprising, but it may have a slight impact on your results depending on the strength of your connection at the time of the test.

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

Fast.com is another great broadband test, and the interface is about as simple and straightforward as it gets. However, one of its biggest advantages is that it is owned by Netflix. It might seem odd at first, but it’s actually what makes it a great choice for online streamers, as the test is to see if your connection is strong enough to stream Netflix at full resolution without buffering.

While Fast.com is a great tool for some, it won’t be the most useful test for all users. The basic interface is easy to use, yes, but it also lacks some of the advanced settings and metrics you’ll find with other speed tests. Specifically, you cannot specify the server to which you want to connect for your test.

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

None of these speed tests are difficult to use, but the M-Lab Internet Speed ​​Test is probably the easiest to find. Short for Measurement Lab, the open source M-Lab test was developed by a collection of computer scientists and university researchers with the support of Google – and this is the test that is displayed each time you type “Internet speed test” in the Google search bar. Just click the blue “RUN SPEED TEST” button to see your upload speed, upload speed, and latency in seconds.

It’s about as simple as it gets, as you won’t need to bookmark it or remember its name exactly. There are no ads while you run the test, and the only data that is shared with M-Lab is your IP address. Just be aware that the M-Lab test does not let you choose which server you will use during the test and is only designed for internet speeds of up to 700 Mbps. If you’re trying to test the speed of a gigabit connection, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

If you’re looking for a test that offers insight into not only speeds, but consistency as well, Speedof.me is the way forward. Similar to Ookla, the test interface does a great job of showing fluctuations in your upload and download speeds. Over time, this can make it easier to spot connection issues, especially since Speedof.me allows you to compare your results with previous tests. Its mobile-friendly website is also great for running tests on your phone, allowing you to perform a quick speed test on the go without downloading an app.

Speedof.me is not a perfect option, however. For starters, there is no option to manually select the server you are connecting with. And if home networking isn’t your forte, the data viewed may seem more confusing or overwhelming than something like Fast.com, which just gives you a number.

Screenshot by Ry Crist / CNET

Testmy.net is an Internet speed test that works entirely on HTML5 and PHP. This means that it does not require third party software like Java or Flash to run your test, which can give more accurate results. This also makes it a useful tool for comparing performance between different browsers. You can also create an account to track your internet speed for future reference or comparison.

However, it is not the most user-friendly tool. With a lot of detailed data, you’ll have quite a bit of information to sift through, most of which might not be relevant to you. The design is also a bit ugly by speed test standards, and it takes a few clicks before actually starting a test, which obviously isn’t as streamlined as other speed tests that feature big “Go” buttons. “as soon as you load the page.

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