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Download vs. Upload Speed

Every Internet product comes with a download and upload speed. Each is important and provides a function. We'll explain what each does and what the most common uses are for each.


Your download speed is how much data can transfer from a server to your device. Thisdownload is usually measure in Mbps (megabits per second). The bulk of personal Internet traffic comes from downloading. 

Some of the common uses for downloading are:

  • Streaming video (Netflix, YouTube, Crave)
  • Streaming music (Spotify, Apple Music)
  • Video Calling (Facetime, Skype)
  • Downloading files
  • Game or Application Updates
    • Automatic or compulsory updates for your devices take up a large amount of data. The more applications you have, the more updates you'll have overall.
  • Browsing the Internet or using apps
    • As of 2019, the average daily social media usage for Internet users worldwide was 144 minutes per day.


Upload speed is how much data you can transfer from your device to others. Likeupload download speeds, upload is measured in Mbps.

Some of the common uses for uploading include:

  • Video Calling (Skype, Facetime)
    • Video calling applications will require both download and upload speed. You are uploading your side of the call and downloading the other caller's.
  • Live-streaming
    • Similar to a video call, you are uploading your feed for others to watch. This is the same for any livestream application, whether it be Facebook Live, Instagram Live, YouTube Live, or Twitch.
  • Cloud Applications like Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud
  • Attachments on outgoing e-mail
  • Uploading video or photo to cloud or social media platforms


Sometimes download and upload speed are both required for a task. If you're loading a web page - the upload would be sending data from your device to the server, the download aspect would be loading all of the page's content from the server and on to your device. 

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