Why you get high speed in Speed Tests but not in real world downloads?

High speed in tests but not while downloads! Why so?

There are often times when people complain that they get great speed on Speed Tests but the real speed during downloading anything or while browsing the web, their speed is quite slow. It is frustrating when you don’t get the speed promised by your ISP. However, it is not always fault of your ISP or the server.

So, if you are one of those who don’t get the promised speed on your broadband connection while real world usage but get on speed tests then this article would be useful for you.

High speed in Speed Tests but not in downloads or web browsing:

The automatic speed tests are not the best way to test Internet speed. And apart from that, there are other reasons as well for lower speed or slow browsing speed even if your Internet is fast. So, let see the reasons why you might be getting high speed during Speed Tests but not while downloading or browsing the web.

Speed Test Servers:

Why you get better speed in Speed Tests but not in real world downloads?

The automatically selected servers are usually closest to you or your ISPs own server. So, they will obviously give the best possible speed. With increasing distance and variety of servers, the speed might differ. So, try to test speed on different servers of known companies. That’s because some random servers are slow themselves.

And you will also notice that when local ISP employees are at your home to demonstrate the Internet speed, they always test in local servers.

ISP Bandwidth:

It’s one of the most common reasons for slow downloading speed and browsing experience. You might be getting great speed on Speed Test servers because the automatically selected server is usually ISPs own.

ISPs have to buy bandwidth from tier-1 ISPs and they serve you using that bandwidth. Often, local ISPs tend to register more customers with their service than what their purchased bandwidth can handle. For example, let say the local ISP have 1Gbps bandwidth with around 100 customers. And the speed they are subscribed to ranges from 10Mbps to 300Mbps.

So, during peak usage times there is extremely high chances that the bandwidth limit will be touched. And to provide everyone with decent services, the ones with higher speed plans will start facing speed throttling.

However, when you use Speed Test website or apps, they automatically choose the best server for you. It is usually by your ISP and that’s the reason why you get great speed on it.

Target Server:

There are times when the server from which you are trying to connect is slow itself. So, downloading from such servers would be slow even from the best possible Internet connection.

Besides that, some servers might be far away from your location. And if your ISP don’t have good international bandwidth, then it would result in really poor experience. Yes, small ISPs often cheap-out on this.

So, if the server is fast for your friends or people you know then you can use a good VPN for faster downloading experience. Often, Cloudflare WARP would be enough for this.

This is also one of the reasons why some websites are really slow to browse. They mainly don’t use any kind of CDN and their server location must be far away from you.

Multiple Connections:

Speed Test servers mainly use multiple connections while testing speed. And at times, they even use multiple servers to max out the speed out of your connection.

Some ISPs don’t work great with single thread downloads. So, you can use download managers to have high speed download speed. Download Managers usually use multiple threads while downloading files and it helps you in getting better download speed. However, not every server supports this but most do. These are available for Windows, Linux and even Android devices.

Wi-Fi Router:

Your Wi-Fi router could be behind this as well.

If your download speed is fine initially, but tends to go down after a little while then it could mean that your router is experiencing thermal throttling. I have not seen it happening with recent Wi-Fi routers but some old models start heating when there is high-speed data transmission.

Speed Tests generally take around one minute to complete, so you might not notice it if you perform speed test before starting your download. You can test it when you’re experiencing slow speed though, so it would be easy to diagnose the cause behind it.


These are the most common reasons when you get ideal speed in Speed Test but not while downloading files or browsing the internet. So, were you able to know the exact reason why you are experiencing slow speed? Let me know if you were able to get it fixed. 🙂

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Akash Deep Satpathi

I am the creator of this blog who mainly like to write articles about topics related to computers and smartphones. Besides those, my interest includes the telecommunication field and cats.

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