Upload Time Calculator

Created by Marcelina Wiśniewska
Reviewed by Dominik Czernia, PhD and Rijk de Wet
Last updated: Jun 08, 2023

Whether you want to send a video to a friend or back up your files to the cloud, this upload time calculator will help you figure out just how long it will take for your data to be transferred. Alternatively, you can use it as an upload speed calculator, if you know how much time it takes for a given file to be uploaded.

In the article below, we will explain the most common units used for measuring data size, what upload speed is and how to find it, and how to calculate the time needed to upload your files, step by step.

Understanding data size units

How exactly do we measure the size of information stored on our computers?

A bit (short for binary digit) is the smallest unit of information used for storing and processing digital data. It can assume only two values: 0 or 1, which correspond to the electrical values of off and on, or the truth values of false and true. A group of 8 bits is what we call a byte.

Bits and bytes are small units and can only store little information. In order to create a single text file, a photo or a video, we might need thousands, millions, or even billions of bytes. That is why most file sizes are expressed in kilobytes, megabytes, and gigabytes. In the table below, you can see how these units are defined.

A byte conversion chart.

8 bits

1 byte (B)

1000 bytes

1 kilobyte (KB)

1000 kilobytes

1 megabyte (MB)

1000 megabytes

1 gigabyte (GB)

1000 gigabytes

1 terabyte (TB)

1000 terabytes

1 petabyte (PB)

1000 petabytes

1 exabyte (EB)

1000 exabytes

1 zettabyte (ZB)

1000 zettabytes

1 yottabyte (YB)

💡 You might also want to check out our data unit conversion tool!

What is the difference between download and upload?

When using the internet, you participate in a constant data exchange. Streaming movies, online shopping, reading online articles, and many more activities all rely on downloading data. On the other hand, when you send email attachments or participate in a video conference, you are uploading data from your device to the internet. That's exactly what the difference between download and upload is — the direction of information flow.

Obviously, you would like for your movie to stream as smoothly as possible, and you would not want to wait an hour until your email is sent. The quality of your online experience largely depends on the speed with which you can upload and download data. This speed is limited by the bandwidth that is made available to you by your internet service provider. Bandwidth is the capacity of your network, it describes how much data can be transferred in a given amount of time. It is typically measured in megabits per second, often written as Mbps.

❗ Be careful not to confuse megabits (Mb) with megabytes (MB). One megabit is equal to 1000 bits, and one megabyte to 1000 bytes. One byte contains eight bits, so 1MB is equal to 8Mb. Data size is often expressed in megabytes, while internet speed and bandwidth are measured in megabits per second (Mbps). If you are unsure how to convert the units, check out our Mbps to MBps converter.

Typically, your internet service provider will reserve more bandwidth for downloading than for uploading, as the average internet user engages in more activities that retrieve data from the internet than activities that upload data. For this reason, the internet speed advertised by your provider will often refer to your maximum download speed and you might find your upload speed to be lower.

So, what is my upload speed?

In order to find out your current upload speed you can use any of the speed tests available online (for example, Speedtest by Ookla). Alternatively, you can use our calculator as an upload speed calculator:

  • Choose a file that you can upload to the internet and check its size.
  • Upload the file and measure the time it takes to upload.
  • Fill in the file size and upload speed fields in this upload time calculator.
  • You can find your upload speed in the upload speed field.

💡 Don't forget to check out our download time calculator to learn more about downloading files.

How to calculate upload time

Let's resume all of the above upload definition by calculating the upload time for an example file:

  1. Firstly, we need to find out the size of the file. Let's assume we want to upload a short video clip. In the file's properties, we discover its size to be 40 megabytes.

  2. The second parameter we need is our internet connection's upload speed. We check it using a speed testing website and find out that our current upload speed is 16 megabits per second.

  3. As mentioned, there is a difference between megabits and megabytes. Let's calculate how many megabytes of data we can upload in a second. As one megabyte is equivalent to 8 megabits, we need to divide our upload speed by 8 in order to convert from megabits per second to megabytes per second:

    16 Mbps = 2 MBps

  4. Now we can apply the upload definition for calculating upload time:

    upload time = file size / upload speed

    In our case:

    upload time = 40 MB / 2 MBps = 20 s

  5. Done! It will take 20 seconds for our short video clip to be uploaded.

Marcelina Wiśniewska
File size
Upload speed
Upload time
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