Start Testing Your Internet Speed Right From the Desktop
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Slow internet is a blasphemous charge in the age of Netflix. You should be busy watching House of Cards instead of the roundel that says the video is buffering — and fortunately, there’s more than one way to test how fast your internet speed truly is.

Pick one and make a habit of keeping tabs. It could help you catch bandwidth leaks, ISP performance, and practices like internet peering and bandwidth throttling which may be affecting your browsing speeds.

Speedtest.net is a familiar URL many of us type in our browsers. Ookla, the company behind the service, now has new apps for Windows 10 and macOS that save us those few seconds. Now, don’t bother with the browser. Just launch them from the respective desktops. As you can see below, the new app is quite visual with its minimal “speedometer” interface.

SpeedTest

On launch, it picks up the name of the service provider. Click Go and the app pings the nearest server with a sample file. The download and upload of the sample file returns the speed of your ISP and the measure of its latency.

Do note that Ping and Latency are two related measures for gauging the quality of any bandwidth. In most cases, they are the same. But as the Speedtest.net page says…

This is not always the case, however. Network throttling and congestion sometimes means that your system might have very low latency when connecting to Google, but very high latency when connecting to Netflix, or a game like League of Legends.

Is the Desktop App Useful?

It helps to have a speed measure close by. Yes, I know that there are a ton of bandwidth testing tools out there. But the easy access with a click can turn bandwidth watching into a habit. So let it do its work.

There are rules to follow for accurate test results, but the app gives you a good starting point. It gives you the first clue to why your browsing so slow. Speedtest is already a popular service. It also has dedicated apps for iOS, Android, Apple TV, and Google Chrome. So, do tell us if this is overkill.

Do you have your own favorite internet speed measuring tool? Name it in the comments.

Image Credit: Illizium via Shutterstock.com

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  1. David
    July 6, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Google has one now, not sure what it is based on. Type speed test and the top result will say "run speed test now"
    As accurate as any apps I have

    • Saikat Basu
      July 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Yes, there were reports that such a feature was run by Google's Measurement Lab | https://www.measurementlab.net/

      Haven't seen it myself yet.

  2. joebee
    April 27, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    On a LInux Debian terminal I just type "speed" and it performs a text based speed test. But first you have to install the program speedtest-cli At the terminal type apt-get install speedtest-cli then create a alias named speed alias speed='speedtest-cli' to make it permanent add the alias line to the .bash_aliases file in you home folder. If you don't want to create a alias just type speedtest-cli at the terminal.

    • Saikat Basu
      April 29, 2017 at 6:01 am

      Thanks Joebee. This makes for another nice micro-tip.

  3. K7AAY
    January 26, 2017 at 12:31 am

    sourceforge.net/speedtest is Flash free, built exclusively in HTML5.

    • Saikat Basu
      January 26, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Didn't know that SourceForge had a speed test page. Thanks for the information. It is fairly detailed.

  4. K7AAY
    January 26, 2017 at 12:17 am

    sourceforge.net/speedtest is all HTML5, no Flash.

  5. KensonPlays
    January 25, 2017 at 3:49 am

    I use testmy.net. Works on desktop, and my phone. No flash or apps required. All HTML5.

    • Saikat Basu
      January 25, 2017 at 6:36 pm

      Thanks for the comment. The community feedback on the site is a reassuring feature :)