What is a good internet speed? | How much internet speed do I need? | What is the fastest type of internet? | Why is my internet so slow? | How can I improve my internet speed? | Do I need a faster router? | How do I get faster internet? | Who are the fastest internet providers? | What is a good upload and download speed? | Why doesn’t my internet speed match my plan? | What to do if your internet speed is slower than expected | How to make sense of your speed test results | How to test your Wi-Fi speed
What is a good internet speed?
A good internet speed is at least 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. These internet speeds are the bare minimum for a broadband connection as defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). But you’ll get better results with an internet plan that supports download speeds between 40–100 Mbps.
That said, no one wants to overpay for internet speed. You can use our How Much Speed Do You Need? Tool to generate a personalized internet speed recommendation based on how your household uses the internet. Find that sweet spot of sufficient download speed without overpaying for speed you won’t use.
|Internet speed||How fast is this?||What you can do|
|0–5 Mbps||Very slow||Send emails, search on Google, stream video in SD on one device|
|5–40 Mbps||Slow to moderate||Stream video in HD on three or four devices, play online games|
|40–100 Mbps||Moderate to fast||Stream easily on multiple devices in HD or 4K, download big files quickly, run several smart devices|
|100–500 Mbps||Very fast||Stream in 4K on more than five devices simultaneously, download massive files quickly, host a livestream|
|500–1,000+ Mbps||Extremely fast||Stream in 4K on 10+ devices, run 10+ smart-home devices at a time, do basically anything on lots of devices|
|1,200–5,000 Mbps||Faster than you need||Operate a bitcoin-mining farm with two dozen computers, watch Frozen in 4K on 100 devices at the same time|
How much internet speed do I need?
You need at least 25 Mbps download speeds and 3 Mbps upload speeds to effectively stream, game, download, and Zoom online with minimal slowdowns and buffering. But if you live with three or more people, you’ll be better off with 100 Mbps download speeds and 10 Mbps upload speeds to support more users and bandwidth-heavy tasks.
Use our quick tool to test how much bandwidth you need for your home Wi-Fi network.
What is the fastest type of internet?
Fiber internet is the fastest type of internet connection. It uses cables made of bundled fiber-optic strands to transmit large amounts of data with light signals. Most fiber internet plans give you 1,000 Mbps speeds, although some providers can get you speeds of up to 2,000 Mbps or even 5,000 Mbps. Fiber is also the only type of internet that gives you symmetrical upload speeds—so your uploads will be just as fast as your downloads.
Why is my internet so slow?
Your internet can be slow for many reasons. Your internet plan may be too slow for your needs, your modem or router may be out of date, your router may be on the fritz, or you might have too many people using your Wi-Fi at the same time. We can help you identify where the problem is and how to fix it.
How can I improve my internet speed?
You can improve your internet speed by upgrading to a faster plan, updating your equipment, or taking simpler measures like closing out apps and browser windows. We can walk you through 10 steps to improve your internet speed in just 15 minutes.
Do I need a faster router?
You need a faster router if your current router is using outdated Wi-Fi standards. Anything older than Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) or Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) doesn’t get you appropriate speeds equal to what’s capable on most high-speed internet connections.
Even a router that’s just a few years old might not meet appropriate speed standards, depending on your connection. Look into your router’s spects to see its Wi-Fi standards and max speeds and get a new router if it’s an older model. We have more information on when and how to replace an outdated router.
How do I get faster internet?
You can get faster internet by upgrading your internet plan. If you can’t upgrade your current speeds and feel stuck with bad service, you can also switch to a new provider.
Run a search with your zip code to see what kinds of speeds you can get in your area.
Who are the fastest internet providers?
The fastest internet providers are Google Fiber, Verizon Fios, Xfinity, Metronet, and Cox. All of those internet providers offer fiber or cable internet plans with gigabit speeds. See our report on the Fastest Internet Providers.
What is a good upload and download speed?
A download speed of 25 Mbps and an upload of 3 Mbps is good for most people. That’s enough to let one or two Wi-Fi users play online games, stream video in HD, and attend Zoom meetings with minimal slowdowns or buffering. You will likely want a faster speed if you live in a larger household or do more activities online.
|Typical speed range||Max speeds up to||More information|
|DSL||10–25 Mbps||140 Mbps||Learn more about DSL|
|Cable||50–100 Mbps||1,200 Mbps||Learn more about cable internet|
|Fiber||100+ Mbps||10,000 Mbps||Learn more about fiber internet|
|Satellite||15–25 Mbps |
(3–5 Mbps after data cap)
|100 Mbps||Learn more about satellite internet|
|Fixed wireless||20–30 Mbps||1,000 Mbps||Learn more about fixed-wireless|
Why doesn’t my internet speed match my plan?
You likely won’t ever see the maximum speed advertised by your provider in the speed test, but your speed test results should come close. The speeds promised by your internet plan are the max speeds you can expect. Most of the time, your internet speeds will fluctuate within a small range of that max speed. What you see on the speed test is simply where your internet speeds are currently.
Internet providers will state “up to” when advertising maximum speeds because many variables can prevent you from hitting that top speed. You may even see disclaimers like “wireless speeds may vary” because Wi-Fi speeds are always inconsistent no matter what provider you choose—it’s just how Wi-Fi works.
For example, there may be issues with the provider’s service area, like faulty connections somewhere within the neighborhood. Speed may be slow because you’re using the internet at peak times, or your router may be outdated. Roots may be growing into the cable buried in your yard.
What to do if your internet speed is slower than expected
There are several reasons why your speed test results might not be as fast as you expected. Try these tips to see if you can get a more accurate reading:
- Temporarily disable your firewall (but don’t forget to turn it back on afterward) and rerun the test.
- Reboot your modem and router, and rerun the test.
- Unplug your router from the modem, plug a desktop or laptop into the modem’s Ethernet port, and rerun the test.
- If you have a wireless gateway rather than a separate modem and router, plug a desktop or laptop into one of the Ethernet ports, and rerun the test.
If you see inconsistent results, there might be a bottleneck on your end. You can troubleshoot poor internet speeds with our guide on how to fix slow internet. But your internet connection may just be slow either from your plan or your internet type.
If nothing helps, call your internet provider or look for a new one.
How to make sense of your speed test results
Here’s a brief overview of what your speed test results mean and how they affect your internet’s performance. For more in-depth information, check out our consumer’s guide to internet speed.
The speed at which your device pulls data from the internet. Usually measured in Mbps or Gbps.
The speed at which your device sends data to the internet. Usually measured in Mbps or Gbps.
The time (measured in milliseconds) it takes for a signal to travel from your device to an internet server and back. Lower latency means your connection has a better response time for activities like gaming and livestreams.
A company that provides internet services in a local area. Examples include Xfinity, Spectrum, and Google Fiber.
Internet protocol address—the unique numerical code that identifies an internet-connected device and its geographic location.
The location of the server you connect to in order to run the speed test.
How do I test my Wi-Fi speed?
You can use our internet speed test to check your Wi-Fi speed. Just follow these steps.
Test your Wi-Fi speed with a separate modem and router
Step 1: Run our speed test on a smartphone, tablet, or laptop connected to your Wi-Fi network while standing next to your router and record the speed test results.
Step 2: Connect a wired desktop or laptop to one of the wireless gateway’s Ethernet ports.
Step 3: Rerun our speed test with the wired connection, and compare the results against the first Wi-Fi speed test.If you see a huge difference between the two tests, check out our guide on what to do if you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi.
Looking for provider speed test results?
*Average of HighSpeedInternet.com speed test results for all provider’s users.
- Federal Communications Commission, “Measuring Fixed Broadband — Eighth Report,” December 14, 2018. Accessed September 30, 2021.