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Speed test

Test your speed now!

Want to know how fast your broadband really is? Our free internet speed tester can help you find out. Read on for instructions on how to use it, or get started now by clicking the big orange button above…

Our broadband speed tester

Our free online internet speed tester tool tells you how fast your broadband is, giving you an accurate reading of the upload speeds and download speeds you’re currently getting.

Download speed - How quickly data is transferred from the internet to your computer. The better it is, the faster it’ll be to browse the web, stream movies and TV, play games and more.

Upload speed - How quickly data is transferred from your computer to the internet. Determines how quickly you can send files, upload photos to Facebook. Typically much slower than download speeds

For more information, read our full guide to download and upload speeds.

Using our speed tester

Our free speed tester is easy to use, and just takes a few seconds. Simply click the button to get the speed test going.

It normally takes less than 30 seconds to run. It works by sending a small file to your computer and measuring how long it takes to be downloaded, and sending a file from your computer and to measure the upload speed.

Bear in mind, though that broadband speeds are variable and can be affected by loads of things - including the time of day, how many people are using the connection, things others are doing online and more. So don’t just do one test - run the speed tester a few times throughout the day if you can, to get a more accurate picture..

Average download speeds

Many broadband providers advertise broadband speeds - for example, they might tell you can get up to 16Mb, up to 76Mb and beyond. However, that doesn’t mean those are the speeds you’ll actually receive.

In fact, those advertised speeds refer to what at least 10% of a providers’ customers can expect to get for real. To put it another way, as much as 90% of people probably won’t see those kind of speeds.

You’re much more likely to get speeds closer to those advertised if you get fibre optic broadband - a technology that’s much more reliable and less prone to interference and ‘slow down’ than a standard telephone line.

Why can’t I get my advertised speed?

There are loads of factors that affect the speed of your broadband. A big one for anyone with standard non-fibre broadband is distance from the local telephone exchange - the further away you are, the slower your connection.

Something that affects all types of broadband is internet traffic. The more people online, the slower your connection will be, so during peak times you may notice your broadband slow down. Similarly, if you have a lot of people in your house, all online at the same time, you’ll see your speeds start to drop. That’s why large households are better with fibre optic packages - they’re nippy enough that the drop in speed is much less of an issue.

Your speed may also drop if your provider uses traffic management. Some providers slow down certain types of activity and prioritise others during peak times, to ensure everyone gets a consistent experience. It often applies to unlimited packages, which is why some providers now do ‘truly’ unlimited broadband with no traffic management.

Using your broadband over Wi-Fi instead of connecting devices with an ethernet cable will also have an impact on speed. The signal will weaken further the more walls and doors it has to pass through. A wired connection’s always the fastest option, although not always the most practical.

How can I speed up my broadband?

If your broadband’s slower than you want it to be, you do have a few options. Firstly, if you’re on Wi-Fi, test your speed, then switch to a wired connection and test again. This will tell you if the problem’s with the line, or your hardware setup.

Once you know it’s your broadband, contact your provider to see if there’s anything they can do to improve your connection. They should be able to fiddle with a few settings, or give you advice on how to make it better.

There are lots of other things you can do to get your connection to pull its socks up, from moving your router, to getting a powerline adapter that uses the wires in your house to improve a wireless signal. Read our guide to boosting your broadband speed for more information.

If you’re still not happy, you should consider switching to a package with a faster download speed.

Switch broadband provider

If slow speeds are a problem, you should consider upgrading your package, or switching to different provider. A fibre optic broadband

It’s faster and more reliable than broadband delivered over the copper wire telephone network, as fibre optic cable can carry more information across greater distances, and it’s the perfect solution to slow broadband woes. Most major providers, including Plusnet (www.Plus.net), Sky (www.Sky.com) and TalkTalk(www.TalkTalk.co.uk) offer fibre broadband packages

However, not all fibre packages are available in every part of the country. Some areas will be able to get BT Infinity, for example, but not Virgin Media. Make sure you use our postcode checker to see what’s available in your area.

How our service works

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We don’t want to show you a load of deals that you can’t actually get, that’s just annoying. So, by giving us your postcode we can just show you only the deals available where you live. Easy, and, contrary to popular opinion, we know it’s not always good to share, so we won’t be passing your postcode or details on to anyone else. Take a look at our privacy policy to find out more.

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Switching broadband FAQs

  1. How do I switch broadband provider?
    The process of changing your broadband provider is actually pretty straightforward. First, you put your postcode into our impartial comparison tool. We’ll display the broadband, phone and TV deals available where you live, then you can use our search filters to narrow down the options and find the perfect package for your household. Finally, you sign up with your new provider online. They’ll contact your existing provider and take care of everything else for you. The actual switch should be virtually seamless, and in the vast majority of cases it is. Your new broadband provider will send you all the stuff you need to get set up, like a new wireless router and/or TV set-top box.
  2. Which broadband provider’s the best?
    There’s no straightforward answer to this one, as the broadband provider that’s best for you might not the right choice for everyone. It depends on your budget, what’s available where you live and how much you want from your broadband package. For example, if you’re bundling with TV, Sky has the biggest range of channels overall and because it’s delivered by satellite - not aerial - you can get Sky TV just about anywhere. However, Sky is one of the more expensive broadband providers, so it isn’t right for everyone’s budget. When you’re thinking of switching, take the time to weigh up the costs and benefits of all the packages available.
  3. Why can’t I get fibre optic broadband?
    Superfast fibre optic broadband is slowly making its way across the UK as part of a nationwide roll-out part sponsored by the government. The aim is to have reached 95% of the population by the end of 2017, and over half the UK’s home and businesses already have access if they want it. You can use our postcode checker to see whether fibre optic broadband’s reached your area yet. If not, don’t worry - it should be arriving within the next few years, unless you live in a very remote area not included in the 95% set to benefit from the roll-out.
  4. Why can’t I get Virgin Media?
    Virgin Media’s cable network, which delivers the provider’s broadband, phone and TV services, now covers the majority of the UK. If you live in a town or city, or at least a built-up suburb of one, then chances are you’ll have access to Virgin Media cable. The network is always growing, though, so if you can’t get it now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be able to get it in the future. Enter your postcode into our comparison tool to find out if Virgin Media is available where you live.
  5. Why do I have to pay line rental?
    Even if you never use your home phone to make calls, you still need a phone line to receive your broadband connection. This is true of virtually all broadband providers, so paying line rental is pretty much unavoidable. Virgin Media is the only widely available broadband you can get without taking a phone line as well.
  6. How long does it take to switch broadband?
    When you sign up to a new provider, they’ll contact your existing one and request a transfer of your service. While switching times vary depending on the type of package, it shouldn’t usually take more than 14 days. It can take longer if you don’t currently have a phone line, as an engineer will need to come out and install one for you.
  7. Can I keep my email address if I change provider?
    If you currently use an email address that was supplied by existing broadband provider, then you’ll more than likely have to give it up when you switch. There’s no harm in asking your current provider if you can take your email address with you, but most of the time it’ll be a no. Your provider doesn’t want you to leave and won’t make it any easier for you to do so than they have to. However, changing your email address isn’t too much of a hassle these days. You can move your contacts in one go to a specialist online email service like Google’s Gmail or Microsoft’s Outlook - formerly Hotmail - then you’ll never again be tied down to a provider by your email address.