How much internet speed do I need?

We’ll give you a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how you use the internet.

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Question 1/6Speed need: 0 Mbps

How many people in your household use the internet/WiFi on a daily basis?

How many devices in your home connect to the internet, including tablets, gaming consoles, and smart devices?

How many people in your household work from home?

What video quality do you use for streaming TV and movies?

How intensely does your household participate in online gaming?

Does your household download large files from the cloud or via the internet?

Our minimum speed recommendation for you:

00 mbps

Want to find an internet plan that fits your needs? Scroll below to see plans
available in your area and pick the right one for you.

What is a good internet speed?

A good download speed is at least 25 Mbps, and a good upload speed is at least 3 Mbps. Some people can get away with fewer Mbps and others need more—but that’s a good internet speed for most people.

Internet speeds are usually given in terms of download speed—for example, a plan with our recommended 25 Mbps of download speed and 3 Mbps of upload speed would simply be called a 25 Mbps internet speed. We’ll be following this trend, but it is important to pay attention to internet upload speeds as well.

With 25 Mbps, you can stream Netflix or Youtube, attend Zoom meetings, and play most online games on one or two devices.

If that doesn’t seem like a good fit for you, use the tool above to get a personalized recommendation or calculate the internet speed you need using the steps below.

To start things off, here’s a breakdown of common download speed ranges in Mbps and what they’re good for.

Internet speedWorks for
0–5 Mbps-Checking email
-Streaming music on one device
-Searching on Google
5–40 Mbps-Streaming video on one device
-Video calling with Skype or FaceTime
-Online gaming for one player
40–100 Mbps-Streaming HD video on a few devices
-Multiplayer online gaming
-Downloading large files
100–500 Mbps-Streaming video in UHD on multiple screens
-Downloading files quickly
-Gaming online for multiple players
500–1,000+ Mbps-Doing a lot of almost anything on numerous devices simultaneously

What is fast internet?

Fast internet is a connection with speeds of at least 100 Mbps.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) defines broadband or high-speed internet as 25 Mbps for download and 3 Mbps for upload speed. That’s a good speed for most people, but we wouldn’t necessarily call it fast by today’s standards, since many providers offer 100 Mbps speeds on basic-level plans.

A 100 Mbps internet speed will be plenty for many internet users. It gives you enough Mbps to stay online on as many as five devices without limitations like network stuttering, buffering, or long wait times for downloads.

On the high end, residential internet speeds can reach up to a gigabit per second (Gbps) of download speed, or 1,000 Mbps or more. A couple providers even offer 2 Gbps in some areas. Gigabit speed—as anything above 1,000 Mbps is called—is good for large families, multifamily homes, and businesses. That said, the extra speed (and cost) might be overkill for most people. But you can’t deny that it’s fast.

How to calculate the internet speed you need

Your internet speed requirements depend on two main things:

  • How you use the internet
  • How many other people are using your internet

How do you use the internet?

Different online activities use different amounts of bandwidth. Streaming The Mandalorian in 4K requires more download speed than watching it in standard definition. And online gaming takes more speed than checking your email.

Internet bandwidth vs. speed

Internet speed and bandwidth are often used interchangeably, but they’re not exactly the same thing.

If the internet is a road and data are the cars, speed is how fast the cars travel, and bandwidth is the number of open lanes.

So, say you have 100 data cars all going the same speed—you’ll get your data faster if those cars are traveling on a five-lane highway compared to a one-lane back road.

How many Mbps you need per device for common internet activities

MinimumRecommended
Email1 Mbps1 Mbps
Web browsing3 Mbps5 Mbps
Social media3 Mbps10 Mbps
Streaming SD video3 Mbps5 Mbps
Streaming HD video5 Mbps10 Mbps
Streaming 4K video25 Mbps35 Mbps
Online gaming3–6 Mbps25 Mbps
Streaming music1 Mbps1 Mbps
One-on-one video calls1 Mbps5 Mbps
Video conference calls2 Mbps10 Mbps
Email
Minimum1 Mbps
Recommended1 Mbps
Web browsing
Minimum3 Mbps
Recommended5 Mbps
Social media
Minimum3 Mbps
Recommended10 Mbps
Streaming SD video
Minimum3 Mbps
Recommended5 Mbps
Streaming HD video
Minimum5 Mbps
Recommended10 Mbps
Streaming 4K video
Minimum25 Mbps
Recommended35 Mbps
Online gaming
Minimum3–6 Mbps
Recommended25 Mbps
Streaming music
Minimum1 Mbps
Recommended1 Mbps
One-on-one video calls
Minimum1 Mbps
Recommended5 Mbps
Video conference calls
Minimum2 Mbps
Recommended10 Mbps

How many people use your internet connection?

The second thing you need to consider is how many people and devices will be connected to the internet at any one time. Don’t forget about devices that are connected in the background, like smart home tech.

For example, you live with a roommate, and you each have your own laptop, smartphone, and gaming console. If all six devices are ever in use at the same time, you’d want enough bandwidth to cover all six connections simultaneously. But if only two are ever on simultaneously, you can get away with a slower internet speed.

Find the speed you need in your area.

Pro tip:

Internet speeds are usually marketed as “speeds up to” a certain number. That means the speed listed on your plan is the top speed you’ll likely see, not the average. With that in mind, it’s not a bad idea to sign up for a little more bandwidth than you think you’ll need if it’s available and you can afford it. If you have a speed buffer, network slowdowns are less likely to paralyze your Wi-Fi when your ISP’s network gets sluggish.

Upload speed vs. download speed

When internet providers advertise internet speeds, they most often refer to download speeds, or what you use to receive data from the internet. Our speed recommendations are given in download speed as well.

Both upload and download speed are important, but most people use more download bandwidth than upload bandwidth. Internet providers generally give customers much less upload speed than download speed—usually 1 Mbps of upload bandwidth for every 10 Mbps of download bandwidth. So a 100 Mbps internet package would have around 10 Mbps for upload speed.

If you often share large files, upload videos, or have a lot of stuff in the cloud, you might want to pay more attention to upload speeds. Some providers (mostly fiber internet providers) offer symmetrical bandwidth, which means you get equal upload and download speeds.

Latency

Latency is the amount of time it takes for a piece of information (called a ping) to travel from your computer to the network server and back. In practical terms, latency is how long it takes from when you click a thing to when you see the results of that click. It is measured in milliseconds, and lower latency is better. High latency causes things like lag in video games.

Should you switch internet plans if you have slow speeds?

If you know your internet speed is slower than recommended based on your internet use, how can you reconcile the two? Changing to a faster plan is a good option. But that’s not always possible if you already have the fastest internet speed available in your area or can’t afford a more expensive plan with your current provider.

The first thing you should do is make sure your experienced internet upload and download speeds are close to what your ISP advertises. If they’re not, take records and use that as a bargaining chip to either get a free speed upgrade or a discount off your service.

Also, you should shop around. There might not be much competition in your area, but most people in the US have access to at least two internet options. And ISPs are actively working on building out better internet infrastructure, so a faster plan may exist now that didn’t before.

If you truly can’t access a faster internet plan, there are ways to cut down on bandwidth use to streamline your most important connections. Here’s a guide on what to do if you feel stuck with slow internet.

Take stock of your upload speed, download speed, and latency by running an internet speed test.

Test your internet speed

Troubleshooting a slow internet connection

Even if you’re paying for fast internet, you can still experience problems with network congestion, throttling, and equipment bottlenecks—any one of which will slow down your speed and lead to long load times, buffering, and other issues. Here’s a few ways to troubleshoot a slow connection and improve your speeds.

Pro tip:

For more detailed suggestions on how to improve your network speed and performance, see our guide to getting faster internet.

Restart your equipment

Sometimes a simple restart of your computer, modem or router will be all you need to get your internet speed back to normal. Restarting clears out the bugs of a fatigued machine and sets things back to normal.

Connect to your router via Ethernet

Most people get internet on their devices over a wireless connection (hence the term “Wi-Fi”), but you can get slightly faster speeds by plugging your computer directly into your router using an Ethernet cable. That reduces the chance of signal interference and creates a more direct link.

Move your router to a better location

Your router distributes an internet signal to devices throughout the house. So the best place for a router to be is somewhere centralized, away from too many obstacles like walls, furniture or metal appliances. If the router is hidden away in your bedroom closet, try moving it to the living room.

Upgrade your router

Routers get outdated after many years of use as firmware standards improve and faster speeds become more readily available. Aim to get a router that’s certified for Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)—you can check the standard by looking on the router’s back label or on the box it came in.

Upgrade your speed

If you’re constantly dealing with buffering and slowdowns, then it may be time to boost your bandwidth. Run a speed test to see what you’re getting and ask your provider if a faster package is available.

Change internet providers

It’s possible that your internet provider simply can’t deliver on the speeds and performance you need. You might be limited to a slower connection type (like DSL or satellite instead of fiber or cable) or there might be a cap on the bandwidth you can get. In that case, you’ll want to see what your options are and consider taking the leap to a new, better internet provider.

Take a look at what’s available in your area by searching your zip code below.

Get the best internet speeds for what you do online.

Internet speed FAQ

What is the average internet speed in the US?

According to data collected from our internet speed test, the national average internet speed is 42.86 Mbps. Of course, this average is always changing, and that number might not reflect your internet experience.

What is Mbps?

Mbps stands for megabits per second. Internet providers use Mbps to measure bandwidth. One megabit is a million bits, each of which is a tiny piece of data. When your internet speed is 25 Mbps, for example, that means your connection is capable of transferring 25 megabits of data per second. The faster your internet connection is, the faster you can get your data.

Because tech language is weird sometimes, a megabit (Mb) is not the same thing as a megabyte (MB). One megabyte is actually eight megabits. You usually use bytes to talk about file sizes and bits to talk about data transfer rates.

What is a good internet speed for Wi-FI?

Anything faster than 10 Mbps is a good enough internet speed for Wi-Fi, but you can have Wi-Fi with pretty much any internet speed. Just keep in mind that connecting by Wi-Fi can dilute your internet speeds due to distance, interference, or the number of devices connected to the signal.

Wired Ethernet connections take better advantage of your bandwidth. So if you have a slower internet connection, it might be better to connect your main devices with a wired connection for the best possible performance.