Skip to content

What Are Good Internet Download and Upload Speeds?

Do you ever get frustrated when streaming video starts buffering or your Zoom call freezes? Or does waiting forever for files to download drive you crazy? Annoying internet slowdowns like these can happen to all of us. But often, sluggish speeds simply mean your download or upload rates aren‘t fast enough for the activities you‘re trying to do online.

Quick Preview show

The good news is there are ideal internet speed targets that can help optimize your web experience. In this guide, we’ll explore what good download and upload speeds look like in 2022 for light, moderate and heavy household internet use.

You’ll also learn how to test your true speeds to spot issues, troubleshoot slowdowns and boost performance when needed. Let‘s speed up your internet experience together!

What is Considered a Good Download Speed?

Simply put, your download speed determines how quickly you can pull data, content and files from the internet to view on your device. Downloading is essential for:

  • Loading websites and web pages
  • Streaming music and video
  • Playing online video games
  • Transferring files from cloud storage
  • Video chatting with HD quality
  • And more…

According to the FCC, the minimum download speed to meet the current definition of broadband is 25 Mbps. However, faster speeds are recommended for smoother performance, especially with multiple connected devices.

Here are good target download speeds for different household internet uses:

For light use (1-2 users, email, social media, web browsing):

25 Mbps download – Minimum speed that’s still functional for simpler needs.

50 Mbps download – Provides noticeably faster page loading and room for some streaming.

For moderate use (small family, streaming HD video, gaming):

100 Mbps download – Allows smooth HD streaming on 2-3 devices, gaming, and daily needs.

200 Mbps download – Enables great performance for a family of 3-4 with multiple streaming devices and connections.

For heavy use (large family, many devices, constant streaming):

200+ Mbps download – Helps avoid congestion and buffering with 5+ connected devices used heavily.

500+ Mbps download – Ideal speed for simultaneous 4K streaming, gaming, video calls and other use by a busy connected household.

In many cases, you want your download rate to be about 20-50% higher than what you think you need for your typical daily use. This leaves plenty of headroom for smooth performance when traffic spikes during peak congestion times.

Now let’s look at how download speeds translate for specific online activities:

Streaming Video and Music

  • Music streaming – 1 to 1.5 Mbps
  • Standard definition video – 3 to 5 Mbps
  • Full HD (1080p) – 5 to 10 Mbps
  • 4K video – 20 to 30 Mbps per stream
  • Ultra HD/4K HDR – 25 to 50 Mbps per stream

To avoid buffering during your next Netflix binge session, make sure your download speed matches the video quality you want to watch.

Online Gaming

  • Casual singleplayer gaming – 2 to 3 Mbps
  • MMORPGs like World of Warcraft – 4 to 8 Mbps
  • Online multiplayer gaming (720p) – 8 to 12 Mbps
  • Online multiplayer gaming (1080p) – 12 to 25 Mbps
  • Competitive multiplayer gaming – 50+ Mbps

Low latency is key for real-time competitive gaming. Choosing download speeds above 25 Mbps gives a smoother experience.

Downloading Files and Software

  • Small files < 1GB – At least 5 Mbps
  • HD video files (5GB) – 20 Mbps for 5 minute download time
  • UHD Blu-ray files (50GB) – 60 Mbps for 30 minute download time
  • Games like Call of Duty (100GB) – 100 Mbps for 2 hour download time

Higher speeds greatly reduce large file download times. Make sure to test directly connected via ethernet when diagnosing slow downloads.

Video Conferencing and Calls

  • HD Video calling (720p) – 1.2 to 3 Mbps
  • Full HD calling (1080p) – 3 to 8 Mbps
  • Group video call – 8 to 12+ Mbps

Minimum speeds vary by platform. But having at least 8 Mbps download leaves plenty of bandwidth for a smooth video call or meeting.

As you can see, a good download target depends entirely on what you do online. For most moderate needs today, starting at 100 Mbps is a safe bet. But assess your home’s actual demands and get the fastest affordable service possible.

What is a Good Upload Speed?

While most users focus on download speed, your upload rate also matters. Upload speed determines how quickly you can send data from your device to others over the internet. Some examples include:

  • Making video calls
  • Live streaming your gameplay
  • Sharing photos or videos publicly
  • Backing up large files to cloud storage
  • Sending emails with attachments
  • Video conferencing for school or work

Historically, home internet plans favored fast downloads over uploads. But with more remote work and video calling these days, fast uploads are crucial for a smooth experience.

Here are good upload speed targets for different uses:

For light use (email, web browsing, social media):

  • 5 Mbps upload – Minimum for basic needs. Allows fast photo sharing.

  • 10 Mbps upload – Smooths out small file uploads and HD video calling.

For moderate use (some streaming, gaming):

  • 20 Mbps upload – Enables smooth HD video conferencing and multiplayer gaming.

  • 25 Mbps upload – Optimized for frequent video calls, live stream gaming, steady cloud backups.

For heavy use (frequent video calls, streaming):

  • 35+ Mbps upload – Great for frequent HD conferencing, gaming streams, remote learning sessions.

  • 50+ Mbps upload – Allows professional-level streaming and video quality for remote work and learning.

Remember to consider headroom and test your actual speeds vs the advertised rates from your internet provider. Faster upload opens up possibilities – it’s not just for work video calls!

Is Download or Upload Speed More Important?

Whether download or upload matters most depends entirely on how your household uses the internet:

Prioritize download speed if you:

  • Stream lots of high resolution video
  • Play online multiplayer games
  • Download large files frequently
  • Use lots of smart home devices

Prioritize upload speed if you:

  • Use Zoom, Skype, FaceTime etc. daily
  • Upload and share high resolution photos/videos
  • Play and live stream games to platforms like Twitch
  • Frequently back up important data to the cloud

For the average family, download speed is still used more heavily on a day-to-day basis. Video streaming services like Netflix and Spotify along with multiplayer gaming rely much more on fast downloading than uploading.

However, don’t underestimate the value of quick upload rates either. As video calls for work and school become routine, fast upload speeds lead to better call connectivity and HD video quality.

Ideally, you want the fastest, most balanced download and upload speeds possible to cover all your bases.

Why is My Upload Speed So Slow?

Do you get frustrated when your Zoom video starts getting choppy during a call? Or when your Dropbox backup gets stuck for hours? There are a few common reasons your home internet’s upload speed may underperform:

You have an asymmetric plan – Most cable internet plans still offer much faster download vs upload speeds. High download rates make streaming and web browsing zippy. But slower uploads hamper video calls, gaming, and uploading files.

Too many users or devices – Like your download bandwidth, your home’s upload capacity is shared. More devices using your internet at once, like streaming, gaming, or uploading files, share and slow your upload.

Peak congestion times – Your ISP may guarantee certain upload rates. But like freeway traffic at rush hour, neighborhood broadband speeds slow during peak times when everyone is online.

WiFi limitations – Weak router signal strength, interference sources, and obstacles all slow WiFi upload and download speeds.

Router firmware needs updated – Old router firmware can have bugs that degrade performance. Manually updating to the latest firmware often provides speed boosts.

Using a VPN – VPN encryption protects your privacy online but adds a bit of speed overhead. Try using Wireguard or Lightway VPN protocols to minimize the impact.

Poor line quality – Outages and noise on the physical line supplying your internet can significantly slow uploads and downloads. Contact your ISP if line problems are suspected.

If you’ve ruled out these factors and your upload speed still drags, it may be time to look at a faster internet plan. Talk to providers in your area about new, more symmetrical speed options.

How Can I Increase My Upload and Download Speeds?

Don’t tolerate a laggy, slow internet connection that frustrates you and your family. There are steps you can take to troubleshoot and boost speeds:

Test Your Actual Speeds

The first step is testing your true upload and download speeds as you currently experience them at home. Run speed tests using multiple tools like, and your provider’s speed checker:

  • Test over WiFi and wired connections to compare.
  • Try different devices as speeds can vary between them.
  • Run tests from locations distant and close to your router.
  • Check speeds at different times of day – mornings are often faster than evenings.

This pinpoints your average real-life speeds versus theoretical maximum rates advertised. Armed with this info, you can start troubleshooting properly if needed.

Switch to Ethernet

WiFi is convenient, but ethernet cable still offers the fastest and most reliable speeds, especially for stationary devices like PCs and smart TVs. Connect your main devices directly to your router with Cat 5e or Cat 6 cables to isolate WiFi issues.

Upgrade Your Router

Using an old router can slow down performance as it may lack the latest WiFi standards like WiFi 6. Upgrading to a new router with fast wireless technology provides a 15-50% speed boost in some cases. Mesh systems also improve WiFi range and coverage.

Change the Router’s Location

Where you place your router matters – move it to a central spot at least a few feet high to optimize signal range to all your devices throughout your home. Away from objects that block and absorb signals leading to dead zones.

Reduce Devices Connected

Every extra device on your network eats up a bit of your available bandwidth. To maximize speeds temporarily, disconnect idle devices like tablets and secondary TVs.

Avoid bandwidth-heavy activities during important tasks

When you really need speed for an important video call or gaming session, ask others in your home to pause streaming video and large downloads which congest your overall bandwidth.

Check for signal interference

Microwaves, baby monitors, garage door openers and Bluetooth devices can all interfere with WiFi signals. Make sure your router isn‘t located near common interference sources.

Update router firmware

Manually check the manufacturer’s website for any new firmware or settings updates for your router model. Updating the firmware and resetting the router often helps stabilize speeds.

Inspect and replace cables

Over time, ethernet cables can become damaged, causing severe speed issues. Swap out suspect cables for new Cat 5e or Cat 6 models to eliminate any cable bottleneck.

Disable bandwidth limiting settings

Some routers have QoS settings and bandwidth “traffic shaping” enabled by default to manage speeds. Turn these off in your router’s settings if enabled.

Try a different wireless band

Dual-band routers offer a congested 2.4 GHz band and a faster 5 GHz band. Make sure your devices use the 5 GHz band when available.

Switch providers or plans

If you’ve optimized your gear and network but still have slow speeds, upgrading your overall internet plan or provider is likely the ultimate solution.

Use a faster connection type

Fiber, cable, and 5G home internet offer much faster download and upload speeds than old DSL. Check availability in your area. Most plans are very affordable.

Bottom line – optimized hardware, settings, and your internet plan all contribute to faster wifi. Fixing weak links provides the best overall speed boost.

Common Upload and Download Speed Questions

What download speed is good for 4K streaming?

To stream 4K video smoothly without constant buffering, a download speed of at least 25 Mbps is recommended per stream. 50+ Mbps per stream allows room for other activities.

What is a normal download speed?

For households with moderate usage, the FCC considers download speeds of 50-100 Mbps to be typical and sufficient for most needs today like streaming HD video and browsing.

What download speed do I need for gaming?

An internet download speed of at least 25 Mbps gives a smooth experience for online multiplayer gaming up to 1080p resolution. For competitive esports gaming, 150 Mbps or higher keeps latency minimal.

Is 100 Mbps good for Zoom?

Yes, 100 Mbps is an excellent download speed for Zoom and HD video conferencing. It allows a smooth connection with room for other household internet activities occurring simultaneously.

Is 10 Mbps upload speed good for streaming?

10 Mbps upload is usable for HD streaming from a single device. However, for the highest quality streams with other activities, an upload speed of 25+ Mbps is recommended.

Is download or upload more important for gaming?

For online gaming, download speed tends to be much more important than upload. Fast downloading keeps latency low so you see the game update instantly. Upload mainly affects broadcasting your game live.

How can I tell if my internet is too slow?

If you constantly experience lag, buffering and performance issues across different devices, it likely indicates your available speeds can’t keep up with your household demands. Upgrading service could help.

Why is my internet so slow on one device?

If your internet is slow on just one particular device, it may have connectivity problems specific to that device, instead of your whole home network. Directly connecting it via ethernet can help isolate the issue.

Should I get faster download or upload speed?

Most households still benefit more from maximizing download speed for streaming, gaming, etc. But don’t neglect upload speed – faster uploads prevent video call lag and improve streaming quality. Symmetrical fiber plans deliver the best overall balance.

The Bottom Line

There isn’t a single internet speed that’s ideal for every home. The download and upload rates that feel “fast” for you depend on factors like:

  • Number of users and devices connecting at once
  • Types of online activities you frequently do
  • Peak usage times in your household

Use the speed recommendations in this guide as a starting point. Perform speed tests during typical household usage, and upgrade your plan if needed until you have the experience you expect.

Faster fiber and cable plans delivering 200, 300 and even 1,000 Mbps are becoming widely available and affordable across suburban and urban areas.

The bottom line is that a smooth, responsive internet connection is critical for work and entertainment. By understanding your ideal download and upload speeds, you can troubleshoot issues and make informed choices when selecting internet service for your home.


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.