Broadband speed is very important for internet users, particularly when you're consistently browsing the web for work, online shopping, video streaming and so on. You'll want to know what good upload and download speeds are for these things to run smoothly.

There are so many broadband providers on the market, and they each have several deals to choose from. Regardless, you definitely want to be sure you're getting what you're paying for. Find out what some of the best broadband services are when making a choice.

Before we explain whether your speeds are what they should be, you need to find out what they are. This requires running a benchmark speed test. You can do this easily by going to speedtest.net and clicking 'GO.'

Be sure to test your connection more than once and at different times of day before going to the bother of contacting your provider. Find out more about testing your broadband speed and connection.

If there are things you don't understand, skip to our broadband speed jargon buster at the end. Also find the best broadband deals right now and how to get broadband without a landline.

What are good upload and download speeds?

There are multiple ways of looking at this. Firstly you should check whether you are getting the speeds advertised by your broadband provider or ISP (internet service provider).

For example, if you're broadband package is supposed to give you a download speed of 100Mbps then you would be understandably upset if you're getting a speed of 10Mbps.

Remember that the advertised speed is the peak speed so you possibly won't ever reach that figure. However, you should expect to get a decent amount of it most of the time – IPS may throttle speeds at busy times to ensure customers get a stable connection.

What is the best broadband speed?

The internet speed that you need is dependent on what you use the internet for on a day-to-day basis. Regardless, the speed should take into consideration the number of people online at once.

On average, a good internet download speed should be above 25Mbps. This is based on a small family or office with a few people connecting to the internet. This level of speed can support online activities such as gaming, music downloads & general browsing online.

In the US, the average internet speed is 42.86Mbps. However, a good download speed goes up to around 204Mbps whilst the average upload speed is 74Mbps.

For a good upload speed, the average should be at least 3Mbps. This will support music streaming and video calling. 

What internet speeds do I need for Netflix, Skype and gaming?

The other way of looking at whether you have good upload and download speeds is whether they are good enough to do various tasks. Let's take a look at the recommended speed you need for things like streaming video and online gaming without buffering or lag. You can compare these with the results of your speed test.

Internet speed for Netflix

  • 0.5Mbps - Required speed
  • 1.5Mbps - Recommended speed
  • 3.0Mbps - SD quality
  • 5.0Mbps - HD quality
  • 25Mbps - Ultra HD 4K quality

Internet speed for Zoom (download/upload)

  • 0.6Mbps – High-quality 480-pixel Video calling
  • 1.2Mbps – 780-pixel video calling
  • 50-75kbps (0.05Mbps) – Screen sharing
  • 1.5Mbps – Group video calling (up to 3 people)

Internet speed for YouTube

  • 2.5Mbps – Recommended for non HD
  • 4Mbps - Recommended for HD
  • 15Mbps - Full HD

Internet speed for online gaming

What you're looking for when it comes to gaming is a low ping. Generally, you want the ping to be lower than 100ms but ideally under 50ms if possible.

Jargon buster

Download speed

This is how fast your connection can receive data from a server (ie the internet). A bit like the digital equivalent of your postman arriving with letters. It's typically measured in Mbps (Megabits per second) unless you have a slow speed.

Upload speed

This is the opposite of a download speed and is how fast your connection can send data to the internet. It's also measured in Mbps unless you have a slow speed.

Ping

This is effectively a digital reaction time; it's the time it takes for you to get a response after making a request and is normally measured in milliseconds.