It’s more important than ever to test your Internet speeds. Bandwidth needs are becoming more demanding with streaming, gaming, and an increasing number of devices all becoming more common. Of course, some things don’t change, so ISPs are still cheating people out of the service that they pay for.
You have to take matters into your own hands and check your own Internet speeds to make sure that you’re getting what you pay for.
If you’ve taken to using a VPN or are looking into them, it’s a good idea to test out their speeds too. A VPN can make your online experience much better. A bad one can totally ruin it.
The list below includes the five best options for testing out your connection speeds. They are not from ISPs(unless you count Google), and they don’t require garbage software like Flash.
DSLReports offers their take on the Internet speed test. It’s a fairly new feature for them. Unlike many other tests, DSLReports classifies Internet connections by their type. When you arrive at the website, it asks you whether you’re on cable, fiber, DSL, or any other available connection.
DSLReports tries to bounce your connection off several different locations to collect a more accurate data sample, and it does test both upload and download speeds. While it’s testing, it displays a couple of graphs of your Internet speed in real time.
It also offers the unique option of comparing your test results to national averages. It helps to give you some perspective on how your ISP stacks up on a national level. DSLReports saves your previous results, so you can look back and see if your connection has changed too.
Ookla Speedtest is easily the most popular Internet speed testing software. It’s been around for years, and has been the trusted go-to for most of that time.
Until recently, it required Adobe Flash, but it has recently launched a new beta service that does not.
Speedtest automatically selects the best server to test with based on your location and signal strength.
It tests both upload and download speeds.
4. Fast.com By Netflix
Fast.com is something a little different. Netflix created Fast.com to test Internet download speeds by specifically testing downloads from Netflix servers.
That means that Fast.com is a great way to test potential Netflix streaming performance. It is easily the most accurate way to assess what your streaming speed would be like from Netflix.
Fast.com also serves another interesting purpose. It allows you to see if your ISP is throttling Netflix. If you are getting below your Internet plan’s speed using Fast.com but have noticeably higher speeds from a different test, your ISP might be doing something shady with connections to Netflix.
3. Google Fiber
Google Fiber is everyone’s dream Internet provider in the US, but it also provides a simple speed testing utility.
Google’s speed test is clean and simple. There’s no clutter, and the interface is accessible to anyone. It only has one button.
Google Fiber tests both upload an download speeds and does so accurately.
Speedof.me provides a much more visual solution to testing your Internet speed.
Speedof.me is HTML5 based, and tests both uploads and downloads. It uses upload and download samples of increasing sizes to test your Internet speed under different loads.
Speedof.me includes a dynamically generated graph that allows you to visualize your connection’s performance as it runs its tests. If you run multiple tests, it also draws a historical graph to display your results over time.
SourceForge offers one of the more full featured Internet speed tests. In addition to uploads and downloads, it tests latency and packet loss.
SourceForge’s test displays all four tests side-by-side in easy to understand graphs.
Latency and packet loss are important. They paint a more accurate picture of how healthy your connection is. It doesn’t matter how fast your connection is if you’re losing packets. Your downloads will be incomplete and/or corrupted.
Bonus – Speedtest-CLI
There’s something different you can try too. You can use a Python script to test your Internet speed from the command line.
Speedtest-CLI uses Python to access Ookla Speedtest without a web browser. Since it’s Python, you can use it from any operating system.
The easiest way to get Speedtest-CLI is with the Pip Python package manager. If you have it, type the following.
> pip install speedtest-cli
Depending on your configuration, you may need root or administrator privileges.
If you don’t want to use Pip, you can just clone it with Git and run it directly with Python.
> git clone https://github.com/sivel/speedtest-cli.git > python speedtest-cli/setup.py install
After you have it installed, you can run a simple command any time you want to check your Internet speed.
The Python script will automatically connect to the Ookla Speedtest servers, perform the test, and report the output in your terminal. This method can be faster than others because there is no added latency of a web browser.
Which One Should You Use?
Use all of them. Science is repeatable. The only way to know something for certain is to test it multiple times using multiple methods. It helps eliminate potential anomalies.
By running all of the tests, you can average your results and get the most accurate picture of your Internet speed possible.