Get to Know the Online PC Speed Tests
How fast is your internet connection? Learn how to measure your connection speed with these simple, free tools.
PC users, start your engines.
Hundreds of online speed tests allow you to gauge everything from PC performance to Internet speeds, right from your browser. This kind of information can be valuable for determining whether it's time for a hardware or software speed upgrade, or whether your Internet connection needs attention.
Here's a trio of top tests to check out.
This speed test is provided by Ookla, a firm that also delivers stats on an array of network metrics like packet loss, jitter and latency three aspects of connectivity that affect Internet performance.
For the free speed test, the site measures upload and download rates through broadband testing and analysis. So, you'll get a glimpse of how fast your PC performs when it copies data from one system to another or transfers data to another system. You can then compare your stats to national averages and get a letter grade (e.g., B+) to determine how your speed stacks up.
A simple speed test that gives you a look at your current rates, Bandwidth Place offers fast and free service. The site also interprets the numbers. For example, a "solid" connection speed would be between 5.5 Mbps and 10.5 Mbps for both uploads and downloads.
Bandwidth Place is an online shopping site for bandwidth-related products like DSL and satellite Internet, so it does have a "sales pitch" element. But you're not required to buy anything, and the company isn't pushy about selling its offerings (no pop-ups or flashy animation).
This barebones site measures download and upload speeds quickly and for free. The software developer running AuditMyPC, "Jim," also offers a broadband speed test to Web site owners so they can put the tool on their own sites.
The site was developed to promote security awareness, and the developer has created tools that test PCs for vulnerabilities. These tools include firewall tests and a Web site monitoring service that detects unauthorized content changes to a site.
Like many freeware developers, Jim doesn't get paid for his work, so he elicits contributions from those who find his tools useful. The donation page of AuditMyPC lets you buy Jim a chai, deluxe hot dog or gift card.
Speed tests are useful for verifying that your Internet service provider is delivering the appropriate connection speed. But remember: Speed tests should be browser-based, so nothing should download to your computer. If a site only has downloads as an option, find another site to prevent the risk of viruses.
Also, be careful with sites that require you to disable your security program to run the scan. But if everything looks legit (e.g., it's a well-known company), then feel free to get on one of these online racetracks and test your speed.