When it comes to your home internet service, you may think that the connection speeds you’re paying for are consistent with the speeds you’re getting throughout the day. Annoyingly, this is not the case. The reality is that speeds fluctuate throughout the day, and if your service provider enforces data caps or throttles connections in order to maintain overall network performance, you may find that speeds seem to have been brought to a standstill.
We’ve all seen the telltale signs of a sluggish internet connection: frequent lags in streaming, glitches in conference calls, failed backups, and downloads that seem to take forever.
For the 31% of Americans who are constantly online (per PEW Research), keeping an eye on internet speed is likely common practice. However, even for those who only use the internet a few times a day, internet speed can significantly impact your browsing experience. An internet speed test, whether by app or online, can quickly do this for you.
Although not all home speed tests are created equal — one of the best internet speed tests to check your home connection, according to just about all online sources, is the Ookla speed test.
Why Ookla ranks as one of the best internet speed tests
Established in 2006, Ookla is one of the oldest speed tests on the web, but that doesn’t mean it’s outdated. Over time, the company has adapted by adding relevant features and capabilities that have kept it competitive — the most recent of which is the ability to measure your network’s capability to handle 4K video streams.
You’re also offered the ability to choose which server you’d prefer to connect to when initiating a test and the option to view reported problems with your ISP once the test is complete, making Ookla a great “all-rounder” speed test. If you create an account, you can even store your speed test history to refer to as needed.
Ookla reports that it performs approximately 10 million consumer-initiated tests daily, either on Speedtest.net or via the company’s mobile, desktop, and even TV apps. This, it says, is what sets it apart from its competitors: consumer-initiated testing provides an accurate measurement of internet speed while measuring the full capacity of your connection.
It’s not just us — Experts agree that Ookla is the gold standard
A lot of other reputable speed tests refer to Ookla’s bandwidth diagnostic software because it is so accurate and widely respected, according to Digital Trends. Its Speedtest Global Index is universally accepted by experts as the industry standard for measuring internet performance around the world.
There’s a definite advantage to this because some comparisons, such as the one offered by CNET, suggest that the banner ads displayed while doing a speed test might affect the accuracy of your results. We’re not going to deny or explore this possibility here, but if you share your Speedtest.net result or test history with your ISP, there isn’t a great chance that they will argue with your data source.
Ultimately, there are a lot of great options available to check your home connection, and the best internet speed test is going to be the one that you prefer using — whatever the reason. For us (and many industry experts), though, Ookla has our vote.