What is a Good Internet Speed?

A good internet speed for most people and households is any internet connection above 25 Mbps. This speed is ideal for basic online activities. A good download speed is at least 100 Mbps, and a good upload speed is at least 10 Mbps.

With 100 Mbps, you can connect up to 5 devices and perform most activities online simultaneously. You can watch 4K on Netflix or YouTube, attend zoom meetings and play most online games.

However, the internet speed you need will depend on a variety of other factors such as the number of users or connected devices and the type of activities you do on the web.

Creative illustrative image of how much internet speed you need to answer the question of what is a good internet speed

In this guide, we break down every single internet speed recommendation for different categories of people and every major online activity, to help you determine how much interned or WIFI speed you need, based on how many internet users are in your home and how they use the internet.

At the end of this guide, you will know how much internet speed you need, what is considered a fast internet and what a good WIFI speed is.

Quick stats and key takeaway

  • Anything above 100 Mbps is considered fast internet. This is because it can connect multiple devices at once.
  • Netflix recommends you have a speed of up to 5 Mbps to stream full HD content and a data rate of 25 Mbps (megabits per second) for 4K Ultra HD content. If you plan to connect several devices at once, you’ll want even faster speeds. The same is applicable for other streaming services as well as game-streaming services like Twitch.
  • According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a good internet speed is anything above 25 Mbps. These speeds will typically support most online activities including HD streaming, web surfing, online gaming and basic file downloading.

In reality, however, a good internet speed these days is much higher than 25 Mbps. Especially as technology is gradually taking us to the 8K resolution streaming era.

What the experts say:

“A fast data rate will ensure you have enough bandwidth when you really need it — for example, if you have a big file to upload or you’re doing sophisticated work on your network”. Says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance in Minneapolis.

PS: If you’re currently experiencing slow WIFI speed, here is how to improve your Wi-Fi speed.

If you’ve ever searched for information on good internet speeds or what is considered a fast internet and were left confused by numbers and acronyms, you are not alone.

The quick and easy guide below breaks down the terminologies and simplifies the whole things, so that you can easily understand what internet speed means, the terms used and what speed will fulfill your online needs in the most basic and easy to understand way.

What does “Internet Speed” mean?

Internet speed is the number of bytes per second that data travels from your device to the internet and vice versa. Simply put, Internet speed is the rate at which the internet is able to operate.

How internet speeds are measured

Internet connection speed is measured in Mbps, which stands megabits per second. Internet uploading and downloading speeds are measured in MBps which stands for megabytes per second.

Simply put, Mbps tells you how fast your internet is whereas MBps tells you how quickly you can upload or download files.

If you’re shopping for a good internet service, you will need to know what minimum speeds will be necessary to accommodate your intended internet usage.

Will you be doing general web surfing, checking emails or shopping? Will you be downloading music or videos or doing some minor video streaming? Will you be actively streaming HD videos, playing games and connecting many devices at once?

With all of that in mind, let’s now take a look at some internet activities and their speed needs to help you get started.

How much Mbps do you really need?

Number of DevicesUse CasesRecommended Mbps
1-2Basic web surfing such as checking email, social networking, moderate videoUp to 25 Mbps
3-5Online multiplayer gaming, 4K streaming, zoom meetings50 – 100 Mbps
5 and aboveEvery major online activity including large files and HD live streaming video.150 to 200 Mbps

The internet speed you need depends on a large variety of factors including the number of connected devices, your household internet usage and online activity.

Below are the various types of internet speed you’ll need for different activities. From what a good internet speed is to what is considered a fast internet, whether for downloading or uploading.

Here is how much internet speed you need for different online activities

  • If you plan to use the internet for: Sending and receiving emails, downloading documents, e-books, and other small files including general web browsing, you are a basic internet user and will likely be satisfied with speeds of 0.5 to 5 Mbps.

  • If you plan to use the internet for: Downloading audio files, Streaming Standard Definition videos, or Connecting 2-3 devices at a time, you are considered a medium internet user and will likely need internet speeds from 6 to 18 Mbps.

  • If you plan to use the internet for: Streaming shows or movies, downloading multiple music files, Gaming, or Connecting more than two to three devices at a time, you are considered a heavy internet user and will need speeds above 25 Mbps.

Here’s a breakdown of common download speed ranges in Mbps and their use circumstances.

Internet SpeedUse Circumstances
0-5 MbpsChecking email, Streaming music on one device, surfing the web
5-35 MbpsStreaming video on one or two devices, Video conferencing, basic online gaming
35-100 MbpsStreaming HD or 4K video on multiple devices, Multiplayer online gaming (PS4 and 5 included), uploading and downloading large files
100 Mbps and aboveFast internet. Streaming video in UHD on multiple screens and devices, fast downloading and uploading of files, gaming high resolution and graphics including PS4 and PS5 for multiple players
500-1,000 MbpsUltra-fast internet for every online activity across multiple devices at once

What is a good download and upload speed?

A good download speed is at least 100 Mbps, while a good upload speed is at least 10 Mbps. Any download speed above 100 Mbps is considered a good download speed, and any internet with upload speed above 10 Mbps is a good upload speed. With 100 Mbps, you can watch Netflix in 4K or YouTube, use video conferencing, and play most online video games on several devices at the same time.

What download speed do you need?

The download speed you need depends on how heavy of an internet user you are. But 100 Mbps for download and 10 Mbps for upload are good download and upload speeds, and will serve all of your internet needs.

What is a good internet speed for multiple devices?

For four or more connected devices, 25 Mbps is the recommended standard internet speed. For two or more users who regularly stream high definition (HD) or 4K videos, attend zoom meetings, work from home or participate in online gaming, a good internet speed of 13 to 25 Mbps or more makes the most sense.

A good internet speed for homes with over four people using four or more connected devices will certainly want download speeds of more than 25 Mbps.

What is a good internet speed for working from home?

Working from home requires a reliable internet service for email and a strong cellular signal or landline. Sharing large files and participating in videoconferences both use considerable bandwidth and will require an internet speed of at least 5 Mbps.

Videoconference platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet work better when connected to adequately fast internet. Zoom suggests download and upload speeds of at least 3 Mbps for videoconferencing with multiple participants in high definition. The same is recommended by Google support documentation.

What are the different types of Internet connections?

The type of connection you have to the internet plays a large role in determining your internet speeds. There are many different types of internet connections available today, depending on where you live, including 4G and 5G wireless, broadband, DSL, satellite, fiber, dial-up and more.

On average, fiber-optic connection is faster than broadband, though both of these options are known for higher internet speeds than others. However, depending on your usage, as discussed above, other options may be more than enough for your needs.

It is also important to keep in mind that your internet speeds will vary depending on whether or not you are using a wired (ethernet) connection or a wireless connection. Because a wired connection uses a cable for internet connectivity, the speeds are often faster than when a wireless connection has to be established.

In Summary

The FCC guidelines for broadband speeds can help you determine what speed you need when selecting an internet service provider for your household.

In all, don’t be sold on purchasing the highest speed internet at the highest price without first assessing your internet usage needs. It is very possible you can spend less and get speeds that are more than sufficient for your needs.

Without assessing your internet needs and understanding the speeds needed for your activities, you could end up either paying too much for internet speeds you don’t need or not getting high enough speeds for your needs.

A safer approach to internet speeds is to do a quick search of internet speeds available in your area and then review internet service providers before making your choice. We hope this guide has helped you to determine your most desirable internet speeds.

What you should know

“Good” is certainly relative to whoever is defining it and good internet speed is no exception. What one person may consider insufficient speed another person may find to be more than enough for their usage.

The bottom line is, the more data you will be using at any given time, the higher the internet speed you will need to achieve those things without interruption. This means the more devices you have connected to the internet at one time the more data you will use.

The more you download the more data you will use. If you are doing a lot of gaming or HD video streaming on multiple devices, the more data you will use. All of these things mean you will need higher speeds.

How to check your Internet speed

There are a few things more frustrating than having slow internet or a poor connection, especially if you’re wanting to do something that involves using a lot of data (like watching a movie online). Internet speeds are not constant, so a connection that works well in the morning may be considerably slower in the afternoon. To check how fast your connection is running in real time you can use a simple internet speed test tool like speedtest.net to check how fast or slow your internet connection is running.

Internet Speed FAQ

Craig Macaulay
Craig Macaulay

Craig Macaulay is an experienced prof. in business and human resource management. His area of expertise and interest includes business strategy, planning, Fintech and corporate social responsibility. Over the last decade, Craig has mentored several students, tried lots of software and served as a business technology analyst, operation, and marketing consultant for numerous businesses. In his words "I like to help small business owners grow their business and make money online, it doesn't hurt if we all just grow, you know".