We always need to check the speed of the Internet connection at home and office. What we do for this? Go to websites like Speedtest.net and begin test. It loads JavaScript in the web browser and then select best server based upon ping and output the result. It also uses a Flash player to produce graphical results.


What about headless server, where isn’t any web-based browser and the main point is, most of the servers are headless. The another bottleneck of such web browser based speed testing is that, you can’t schedule the speed testing at regular interval. Here comes an application “Speedtest-cli” that removes such bottlenecks and let you test the speed of Internet connection from command line.


What is Speedtest-cli

The application is basically a script developed in Python programming Language. It measures Internet Bandwidth speed bidirectionally. It used speedtest.net infrastructure to measure the speed. Speedtest-cli is able to list server based upon physical distance, test against specific server, and gives you URL to share the result of your internet speed test.


To install latest speedtest-cli tool in Linux systems, you must have Python 2.4-3.4 or higher version installed on the system.


Install speedtest-cli in Linux


There are two ways to install speedtest-cli tool. The first method involves the use of python-pip package while the second method is to download the Python script, make it executable and run, here I will cover both ways….


Install speedtest-cli Using pythin-pip


First you need to install python-pip package, then afterwards you can install the speedtest-cli tool using pip command as shown below.

$ sudo apt-get install python-pip
$ sudo pip install speedtest-cli


To upgrade speedtest-cli, at later stage, use.

$ sudo pip install speedtest-cli --upgrade


Install speedtest-cli Using Python Script


First download the python script from github using wget command, unpack the downloaded file (master.zip) and extract it..

$ wget https://github.com/sivel/speedtest-cli/archive/master.zip
$ unzip master.zip 


After extracting the file, go to the extracted directory speedtest-cli-master and make the script file executable.

$ cd speedtest-cli-master/
$ chmod 755 speedtest_cli.py 


Next, move the executable to /usr/bin folder, so that you don’t need to type the full path everytime.

$ sudo mv speedtest_cli.py /usr/bin/


Testing Internet Connection Speed with speedtest-cli


1. To test Download and Upload speed of your internet connection, run the speedtest-cli command without any argument as shown below.

$ speedtest_cli.py


2. To check the speed result in bytes in place of bits.

$ speedtest_cli.py --bytes


3. Share your bandwidth speed with your friends or family. You are provided with a link that can be used to download an image.

# speedtest_cli.py --share


The following picture is a sample speed test result generated using above command.


4. Don’t need any additional information other than Ping, Download and upload?

$ speedtest_cli.py --simple


5. List the speedtest.net server based upon physical distance. The distance in km is mentioned.

$ speedtest_cli.py --list


6. The last stage generated a huge list of servers sorted on the basis of distance. How to get desired output? Say I only want to see the speedtest.net server located in Mumbai (India).

$ speedtest_cli.py --list | grep -i Mumbai


7. Test connection speed against a specific server. Use Server Id generated in example 5 and example 6 in above.

$ speedtest_cli.py --server [server ID]
$ speedtest_cli.py --server [5060]              ## Here server ID 5060 is used in the example.


8. To check the version number and help of speedtest-cli tool.

$ speedtest_cli.py --version


$ speedtest_cli.py --help


Note: Latency reported by tool is not its goal and one should not rely on it. The relative latency values output is responsible for server selected to be tested against. CPU and Memory capacity will influence the result to certain extent.


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