login about faq

To prove you're not a spammer, email newuser.lgqa@gmail.com with the subject "Account Request" to request an account.

Simple question, why dont i get speeds that Speedtest.net show on my actual download or upload, for example if i were to download a video file, Speedtest shows that im ment to be getting 12.90Mbps but in reality i get 1.7Mbps. Why is this?

asked Jun 30 '11 at 13:31

Ashadur's gravatar image


Hey Ashadur,

It's really confusing right. The speed is measured in bits (MB/s), not bytes (MB). Here is the the best way I can answer this (Don't ask me why it's 1024 per KB!):

1 Kb = 1024 bytes

1 Mb (KB * 1024) = 1,048,576 bytes (1,048,576 bytes / 1024 / 1024 = 1 MB)

1 Gb (MB * 1024) = 1,073,741,824 bytes (1,073,741,824 bytes / 1024 / 1024 / 1024 = 1 GB)

Hopefully that makes sense!

Now for how speediest measures:

In 1 byte there are 8 bits

1 Kilobit 1024 * 8 = 8192 Kilobits [Another way KB * 8)

1 Megabit (Kilobit * 1024) = 8,388,608 bits [Another way 1024 * 1024 * 8(bits)]

1 Gigabit (Megabit * 1024) = 8,589,934,592 bits [Another way 1024 * 1024 * 1024 * 8(bits)]

Okay there is the math done... Hope you are still with me! So let's work out your 12.90Mbps and what it means for you.

12.90 Mbps / 8 (Bits) = 1.6125 Megabytes of data a second

So when you download something it should say downloading at 1.6 MB/s - 1.7 MB/s (Megabytes per second) and that is why you see that figure.

Hope this helps!


Calum MacRae

answered Aug 08 '12 at 05:42

cmacrae's gravatar image


edited Oct 10 '12 at 01:11

It's depending on the site you're visiting and the content you're downloading. Small files don't need huge bandwidth so a web browser downloading your typical web page wont retrieve them at the fastest possible speed. If you visit YouTube, however, media like video and audio files automatically try to get the fastest (or most efficient) bandwidth available. Then a testing site like speedtest, they go for a stress test where they intentionally try to download either huge individual files (as opposed to small ones) or media files.

Some ISPs or web sites will throttle how fast you can download individual files. This is less common anymore, but it used to be beneficial to get a download manager that would split a downloaded file into multiple sessions, so you were say, downloading 3 or 4 pieces of a given file at once.

Anymore, I get about the same bandwidth breaking files up that way as I do just downloading a file straight, so I stopped using download managers like Get it Right and Star Downloader.

Oh the other thing is if you have six computers sharing the same DSL or Cable modem, you're not going to get top speed because the modem itself will be throttled to a certain speed which is then split amongst the computers using it. Now in my household we paid for really decent speed but at a given time we may have two or three consoles on Netflix and four machines on World of Warcraft simultaneously. So we use the bandwidth we pay for.

To sum, Speedtest will tell you your best possible speed. A web browser in typical usage, not so much.

answered Jun 30 '11 at 14:33

Duodave's gravatar image


Depends on hosts and such. Also are you using wireless? If so the speeds can various alot. Try downloading a direct file from a 1gbit host

answered Jun 30 '11 at 13:45

Jonher937's gravatar image


That wouldn't make a difference.

(Aug 08 '12 at 05:44) cmacrae cmacrae's gravatar image

Your ISP could have throttled your connection.

answered Jun 30 '11 at 13:59

archaeme's gravatar image


I don't think so. I have explained why below.

(Aug 08 '12 at 05:43) cmacrae cmacrae's gravatar image

It's because speedtest.com shows speed in bits and your browser etc shows speed in Bytes, which is 8 times different in size. Do the math and you'll find both results are correct.

answered Jun 30 '11 at 15:46

Implodabubble's gravatar image


edited Jun 30 '11 at 15:49

Actually Speedtest has a setting so you can represent it in different formats if you're bad with math.

(Jun 30 '11 at 15:51) Duodave Duodave's gravatar image

Well then the OP can let us know if changing these settings makes a difference. Ashadur, Mbps is bits and MBps is bytes. Give it a go and we'll see if there's anything else that can be a factor ;)

(Jun 30 '11 at 17:00) Implodabubble Implodabubble's gravatar image

It shows what its capable of.

answered Aug 08 '12 at 02:45

Dweebo's gravatar image


edited Aug 08 '12 at 02:46

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or __italic__
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text](http://url.com/ "title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: Jun 30 '11 at 13:31

Seen: 5,921 times

Last updated: Oct 10 '12 at 01:11