Broadband speed tester
Our free broadband speed test tool will let you know both the upload and download speeds you are currently getting from your broadband connection.
Using the broadband speed tester
To guarantee an accurate result, make sure you fill out each required field in the tool and turn off any applications that are running in the background on your computer.
The speed test should take less than 30 seconds to run. It works by sending a small file to your computer and timing how long it takes to be downloaded.
You should bear in mind that speeds can vary depending on when you run the test. Conducting multiple tests at different times of day will give you a more accurate idea of your average broadband connection speed.
Average download speeds
Although many broadband providers now advertise broadband speeds of between up to 16Mb and up to 38Mb, many people will receive considerably less than this.
A report from UK communications regulator Ofcom published in November 2012 stated that the average speed of home broadband in Britain is 12.7Mb.
Why aren't I getting my advertised speed?
A variety of factors can affect your broadband speed, but the main issue is usually how far you live from the local telephone exchange. If you are a copper wire ADSL broadband customer, then your download speed will get slower the further you are from the exchange.
Other factors that affect all types of broadband connections include peaks in internet traffic - your connection is likely to slow down when lots of people are online at the same time.
Your provider's own traffic management policy may also affect your speed. For example, certain kinds of traffic, such as downloading or streaming, might be slowed down at busy times to ensure all users receive a similar basic quality of service.
Using Wi-Fi to share your connection can also reduce the quality of service you receive as the wireless signal will weaken the more walls and doors it has to pass through, while a number of people using your broadband wirelessly via different computers and other devices is also likely to reduce the speeds you get.
Speeding up your broadband
There are a number of different ways that you can speed up your broadband. The first thing you should do is talk to your provider to see if there's anything they can do to improve your connection.
You should also ask your provider exactly what kind of speed you should be expecting, which will be based on your distance from your local telephone exchange.
If you are an ADSL broadband customer, installing an iPlate could help you increase the speed of your connection by around 1.5Mb.
If that doesn't work, download the broadbandchoices complete guide to speeding up your broadband and follow the tips and tricks to see if we can help boost your internet speed.
Switch broadband provider
If you are still struggling on slow speeds, switching to a faster provider or a fibre optic broadband package could be the answer.
Many providers now offer fibre optic broadband, which is faster and more reliable than broadband delivered via the copper wire telephone network, as fibre optic cable can carry more information over greater distances. Virgin Media (www.VirginMedia.com), for example, offers broadband with download speeds of up to 100Mb.
If Virgin Media's cable broadband packages aren't available in your area or to your liking, you could look into BT Infinity, the fibre optic broadband service from BT (www.BT.com), which offers download speeds of up to 76Mb as well as impressive upload speeds.