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Free Broadband Speed Test

Boost your connection speed
Broadband speed tests

Broadband providers only need to give 10% of customers the advertised speed. But even if you're miles from the local exchange, there are lots of tricks to give your broadband connection a FREE speed boost.

This is a guide to getting the best from your broadband. See the Cheap Broadband guide for the latest bargain broadband deals.

Broadband providers only need to give 10% of customers the advertised speed. But even if you're miles from the local exchange, there are lots of ways to BOOST speed.

If you're just looking for the best deals, see the Cheap Broadband guide.

Always be careful to check any software you put on your computer is suitable and compatible with your existing set-up. No liability can be accepted for any individual problems caused by acting upon the information given.

Do a 2-min broadband speed test

Do a 2 minute speed test

If you're reading this guide, you probably think your connection's slower than it should be. But just how slow is it? Do a free speed test for an indication of your download (taking data from the web) and upload (sending data) speeds.

Spy on your neighbour's broadband speed

The distance between your house and the nearest phone exchange is likely to have the biggest impact on what speed you can achieve, as broadband signals degrade as they travel down BT's aged copper lines.

Ditch & switch to a speedier provider

If the speed tests give results much lower than advertised, consider switching (if out of contract). Do a postcode check on providers' sites to see what speed is available first. If you're in contract, your provider may allow you to downgrade or send better equipment to boost speed. Also try the quick fixes below to see if this helps. For full switching info and all the current top deals, see the Cheap Broadband guide.

Quick tips to boost your line's power

Boost your speed

To maximise your phone line, you need to ensure you have the clearest connection possible. Sadly there's little that can be done about the quality of the line once it's outside your house (short of loads of digging and lawsuits), but there are ways to improve clarity indoors.

Reposition your router

When using wi-fi, obviously the nearer you are to the router, the better your signal will be, and therefore the faster your broadband. Because wi-fi signals can't travel through big objects/thick walls, it's also crucial you have a clear path for the signals to travel to your laptop.

Fine tune your wi-fi signal

Get a special widget to cut interference

BT master socket

BT's iPlate is a bit of plastic which cuts off an unnecessary-yet-interference-prone wire in older phone sockets. iPlates cost about £4 each at BroadbandBuyer, or BT customers should get one free just by phoning and asking.

Fine tune your wi-fi signal

Using a wireless router to connect to the web is increasingly the rule rather than exception. Most providers give them "free" when you sign a contract.

Opt for wires, not wi-fi

Opt for wires

Not an immediately appealing option, but if you're desperate, reverting to cables should boost your speed. Even if you don't want to switch permanently, compare test results between a wired (ethernet) and wireless connection to see how effective your wireless is. An ethernet cable is faster because it offers quicker data transfers and doesn't encrypt data sent like wireless routers do.

Try a wireless booster

Sky recently launched a wireless booster to improve the connection for its customers who experience poor wireless signals in areas of their home. Although initially free at launch, it now costs £20. This wireless booster is designed specifically for Sky routers but Virgin Media and BT also offer wireless boosters to work with their own routers.

Give your PC a spring clean

You may be surprised at the effect changing settings and having a spring clean can have. Things to check:

Stop background PC apps in their tracks

If you use downloaded apps, such as Dropbox or Spotify, check your settings to ensure they don't automatically run in the background. This can have a big impact on your connection speeds. By default, some will use your bandwidth to send content to other users, even when not switched on. The BBC's iPlayer used to do this, but now works a different way (and tends to be a slower for it).

Consider a software boost

If your connection's so slow that even simple browsing takes forever, it might be worth considering a software solution.