Why Is Internet Speed Important?
If you're browsing the web and pages take a while to load, or a video you want to watch has trouble playing, your Internet speed could be the cause. You can test your bandwidth though by using free websites. These sites allow you to see if your connection matches up to what your Internet service provider promised you.
Speedtest.net Can Test Internet Speed
A free and trusted site is Speedtest.net. Simply load the site, and click the Begin Test button. Once this is clicked you'll get three results. Your ping speed, your download speed, and your upload speed. It's a good idea to test twice, or three times for best results. Your will likely end up with different results each time as activity on your network can influence your speed. The Speedtest results give you a general idea of what your connection speed is at the time. Ookla is the company behind Speedtest.net and most of the other testing services as well.
Test Internet Speed With Your ISP
Another way to go about testing is to check your connection with your service provider. Your provider likely uses Ookla as well. The PC Support guide for About.com has the major providers listed, you can go there to find your provider and your connection speed between it.
Use a Consumer Broadband Test to Test Internet Speed
The U.S. government also has a test you can use by going to Broadband.gov. Click on "Consumer Resources" and then on "Consumer Broadband Test". You'll have to fill out some information about where you are testing from first. This test is also provided by Ookla, and you'll need Java to run it. Once you enter your information you'll be able to begin a test. When you're done with your Ookla test you'll be asked if you'd also like to be tested by M-Lab. Try this too.
These tests are a great way for you to keep an eye on your connection speed, and they're easy and free. Remember though if you're downloading or uploading something you're bandwidth will be affected, so it's best to test when there's minimal activity on your network.
Thanks for reading.