a blog from CenturyLink

What is a good internet speed?

by | Jan 11, 2023


The average person spends about 8 hours actively online every day, not including passive activities like streaming music or TV in the background. However, not everyone spends that much time online. Some people prefer to spend their time outdoors instead of browsing the web. Instead of gaming and streaming, you might only use the internet to check your email or video chat with your loved ones. So, what is a good internet speed for people who use less internet?

Father and son using fast internet

How does internet speed work?

Before we get into which speed is right for your household, let’s talk about how internet speed works. Megabits per second (Mbps) is a measure of how fast data is transferred and is used to describe internet bandwidth and speed. You’ll see this unit when testing your network connection’s download and upload speeds or when you’re looking at the connection speed of specific devices.

You can accomplish most of your internet-related tasks on speeds as low as 100 Mbps. However, if you have multiple devices all working at once or if you want to stream and game without interruptions, you’ll need more bandwidth to support those devices. For example, you might only use your internet to check emails periodically. But when your family comes to visit during the holidays, you’ll probably want more speed so they can stream and game during their stay. After all, you’ll want plenty of bandwidth to watch Frozen and Bluey with the little ones.

What is my internet speed?

If you’re not sure what your internet speed is, you can find out with the internet speed test from CenturyLink. After running the test, learn what those results really tell you about your internet performance and how you can improve your speed by troubleshooting your connection.

So, what is a good internet speed for your needs?

What can you do with 200 Mbps?

Woman using fast internet for telehealth

For those who use less internet than the average person, we recommend an internet speed of 200 Mbps. If you live alone or with one other person, this connection will likely be enough to do all of the things you want to do. You’ll be able to accomplish all of your daily internet tasks and more! Next, we’ll go over some of the things you can do with 200 Mbps.

Surf the web

With 200 Mbps, you’ll be able to surf the world wide web with ease. Google your favorite recipes, share family photos online, and stay connected to your friends on Facebook. If you aren’t familiar with how the internet works, surfing the internet can feel like venturing into the great unknown. With a little refresher on internet basics, you can feel confident about getting online.

Check your email

What is fast internet?

Is there anything more annoying than waiting for your inbox to load at slow speeds? With 200 Mbps, you won’t have to wait to check your email. Instead, you’ll have plenty of bandwidth to browse through the latest email ads and messages from friends and coworkers.

While many people are tech-savvy and regularly use their email, there are some best practices to keep in mind.

Video chat with family

Anything you do online that involves video will eat up your bandwidth—from streaming movies and TV to video calling with your loved ones. However, 200 Mbps is still plenty of speed to see your favorite grandkids and fur babies. Keep in mind that if your network has high latency, high bandwidth can only go so far. You may still experience choppiness while streaming.

Whether you’re using Microsoft Teams®, Zoom, Google Meet™, or any other leading video platform, there are some common tips you can follow to maximize the performance of your internet and devices.

Connect select smart devices

Business owners using fast internet

Smart home devices are a great way to automate your life and increase the functionality of the appliances you use daily. Many of these smart devices are helpful for people who need increased accessibility options in their homes. Plus, they’re convenient. Using just a smartphone or a voice assistant, you can control your smart home devices from another room, the office, the gym, the store, or even the beach.

Although you might think smart devices will zap your internet, they actually use very little bandwidth once they’re connected to your network. Learn more about how to secure your smart devices here.

Understanding internet speed

If you want to learn more about your internet speed or find out what impacts it, check out our article on understanding internet speed and WiFi. Here, you can learn the difference between speed and bandwidth. For more information on choosing the right internet speed, our guide to comparing internet speeds can help you decide what’s best for you. And if you need more speed, you can always upgrade your internet service with CenturyLink.

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<a href="https://discover.centurylink.com/author/emilyr" target="_self">Emily Richey</a>

Emily Richey


Emily Richey is the Content Manager for the CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber blogs. A recent graduate of Pace University NYC, she's an avid reader and writer. She spends most of her free time in bookstores and cafes, seeking the perfect cup of coffee.