The ultimate speed test test 2020

The best free online speed tests

TL;DR

The best free online speed tests in 2020 are:

  1. Most accurate: SpeedOf.Me
  2. Quickest insight: Internet Speed at a Glance

The advice above is based on a comprehensive test as described below.

 

Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Declaration of Interest
  3. What is the best?
  4. Method of measurement
  5. Speed tests to test
  6. The results
  7. Conclusions
  8. Other findings
 

Introduction

An internet speed test is often used to check if there are any problems with the internet connection.

If your internet is to slow it is difficult to watch a movie or play a game. For example, Nexflix recommends a download speed of 5 Mbps for HD quality TV shows and movies, Google recommends a download speed of at least 10 Mbps to stream games on Stadia.

When you contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) about your Internet issues, your ISP will likely ask you to test your Internet speed with their own speed test. This speed test is almost always based on Ookla's speedtest.

In addition to the Ookla Speedtest, another commonly used speed test is Measurementslab's speed test. When googling speedtest, Google gives you the option to immediately start a speed test based on the speed test from Measurementslab.

However, more independent speed tests are available to measure your internet speed in bits per second.

This ultimate speed test test must make clear which speed test is the best speed test.

 

Declaration of Interest

In the past I (Hans van der Graaf) programmed my own speed test Internet Speed at a Glance. This because I was often not interested in the exact internet speed. Usually I want a quick indication if there are any problems with the internet connection.

In this speed test test I will treat Internet Speed at a Glance like all other speed tests being tested.

 

What is the best?

To find the best speed test, you need to know in advance, "What is the best?".

BroadbandSearch lists the following requirements for a speed test:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Accuracy
  3. Commitment to real-world testing conditions
  4. A simple design
  5. A wide server range
  6. Freedom from bias

Lifewire states that: The best internet speed test would be one between you and any given website you're using, but these should give a general idea of the kind of bandwidth you have available.

For this speed test test, it is assumed that the best speed test has the following characteristics:

The best speed test

The best speed test is ...

  1. Accurate
  2. Free to use
  3. Easy to use
  4. Consistent
  5. Fast
 

Method of measurement

The following measurement method is used for this ultimate speed test test:

Accuracy and consistency

Based on an earlier test, the assumption is that the real internet speed I have is 56Mbps.

Each speed test is tested at least 3 times with a clean browser on a wired Windows desktop.

The average of the measured download speed and the standard deviation is calculated for all speed tests. If the download speed deviates more than 2Mbps, the speed test is excluded from this test.

Based on these results, all speed tests with significant results are selected. The resulting speed tests are sorted by the average of the measured download speed and the standard deviation. Number 1 on the list earns 20 points, number 2: 16 points, number 3: 12 points, number 4: 8 points and number 5: 4 points.

Free to use

When the speed test is free to use and there are no ads, the speed test earns 1 point. If the speed test is free, but there are ads, the speed test does not earn points. If the speed test cannot be used for free, it will be excluded from this test.

Easy to use

The speed test must work in:

  1. Edge on Windows
  2. Chrome on Windows
  3. Chrome on Android
  4. Safari on iOS
  5. Firefox on Linux

If not, the speed test is excluded from this test.

The speed test must be mobile-friendly according to Google and Bing. If not, the speed test is excluded from this test.

The accesibility of the speed test is tested with AChecker (unfortunately this excellent tool is gone). If the speed test passes the automatic WCAG 2.0 (level A) test, the speed test earns 1 point.

When the speed test could be started with a single click (or no click at all), the speed test earns 1 point. If 3 or more clicks are required, the speed test is excluded from the list.

Fast

It is manually timed how long it takes to take a speed test to display the final download speed. If the time it takes to display the final download speed exceeds 30 seconds (when testing at 30 Mbps), the speed test is excluded from this test. The speed tests are ranked (fast to slow) based on the average of the measured time. Number 1 on the list earns 5 points, number 2: 4 points, number 3: 3 points, number 4: 2 points and number 5: 1 point.

 

Shortlist

Taking into account the basic requirement of 56Mbps plus minus 2Mbps, the following speed tests will be placed on the shortlist:

Shortlist
  1. Comparitech
  2. Internet Speed at a Glance
  3. LibreSpeed
  4. SpeedOf.Me
  5. Speedsmart
 

The results

Based on the test results of

  1. Comparitech
  2. Internet Speed at a Glance
  3. LibreSpeed
  4. SpeedOf.Me
  5. Speedsmart

the following can be noted.

Free to use

4 of the 5 speed tests tested have no ads. These speed tests are:

  1. Comparitech
  2. Internet Speed at a Glance
  3. LibreSpeed
  4. Speedsmart

Easy to use

1 of the 5 speed tests tested passed the WCAG 2.0 Level A test. This speed test is:

  1. Internet Speed at a Glance

4 of the 5 speed tests tested could be started with a single click (or no click at all). These speed tests are:

  1. Comparitech
  2. Internet Speed at a Glance
  3. LibreSpeed
  4. Speedsmart

So far the scores are:

  1. 3 points: Internet Speed at a Glance
  2. 2 points: Comparitech, LibreSpeed and Speedsmart
  3. 0 points: SpeedOf.Me

Accuracy and consistency

The list below shows the average download speed, the standard deviation and the points achieved on this part.

  1. Comparitech - 55.0Mbps, 0.34Mbps, 20 points
  2. LibreSpeed - 54.3Mbps, 0.15Mbps, 16 points
  3. SpeedOfMe - 53.5Mbps, 2.25Mbps, 12 points
  4. Speedsmart - 53.0Mbps, 3.69Mbps, 8 points
  5. Internet Speed at a Glance - 4 points

However, when you use the max. download speed of SpeedOfMe, you get this list:

  1. SpeedOfMe - 56.2Mbps, 0.05Mbps, 20 points
  2. Comparitech - 55.0Mbps, 0.34Mbps, 16 points
  3. LibreSpeed - 54.3Mbps, 0.15Mbps, 12 points
  4. Speedsmart - 53.0Mbps, 3.69Mbps, 8 points
  5. Internet Speed at a Glance - 4 points

With the caveat that when looking at the maximum download speed, SpeedOfMe is clearly the most accurate speed test.

Fast

The list below shows the average time to get the final download speed, the standard deviation and the points achieved on this part.

  1. Internet Speed at a Glance - 1s, 0s, 5 points
  2. LibreSpeed - 10s, 0.5s, 4 points
  3. Speedsmart - 16s, 0.4s, 3 points
  4. Comparitech - 21s, 0.3s, 2 points
  5. SpeedOfMe - 25s, 0.7s, 1 point
 

Conclusions

Based on the above research, these are the final scores:

Overall score
  1. 21 points: SpeedOfMe
  2. 20 points: Comparitech
  3. 18 points: LibreSpeed
  4. 13 points: SpeedSmart
  5. 12 points: Internet Speed at a Glance

Note that this list is very different from the curated top 5 based on different speed test comparisons.

Most accurate speed tests

The most accurate speed test is SpeedOf.Me based on the max. download speed.

Comparitech is second best.

Fastest speed tests

The fastest speed test is Internet Speed at a Glance.

LibreSpeed is second best.

 

Other findings

In addition to the previous findings:

  1. Also LibreSpeed allows you to select a specific test server. So this the complete list of speed tests where you are able to select a specific test server is:
    1. Bandwidth Place
    2. DSLReports
    3. Fireprobe ®
    4. LibreSpeed
    5. Ookla Speedtest
    6. SpeedSmart
  2. Almost every speed test has a false accuracy.