SpeedTest.net Command Line App

A while back, I wrote a post about how to test your bandwidth from the command line as to avoid using a Flash-based website like Speedtest.net. The method I wrote about was essentially a download test that would place the file into /dev/null, saturating your connection and effectively telling you your download speed.

A friend of mine suggested some additional tools, including the one I'm about to tell you about. It's called speedtest-cli and it gives all the benefit of using Speedtest.net but without the Flash website and cumbersome ads.

Like the previous method, it does require use of a package manager for OS X. My preferred manager is Homebrew, which, by the way, is finally able to be installed on Yosemite. You can pull the app down through several methods: wget, git, pip, curl, or easy_install. I chose easy_install, simply because it was the least verbose of all the options. If there are any dependencies required and not installed, they'll be pulled down at this time as well.

The syntax of the application is pretty simple, using speedtest-cli to launch, followed by these optional arguments:

-h, --help Show this help message and exit
--bytes Display values in bytes instead of bits
--share Generate a URL to the Speedtest.net results image
--simple Suppress verbose output, only show basic information
--list Display a list of speedtest.net servers sorted by distance
--server SERVER Specify a server ID to test against
--mini MINI URL of the Speedtest Mini server
--source SOURCE Source IP address to bind to
--version Show the version number and exit

A few things to note are:

  • When using the --list argument, the results are extremely verbose. The best way I've found to cull through this list is to ⌘+F and search by city/state.
  • To use know what server number to enter in --server SERVER, you must first run --list.
  • Using --simple has no effect on the --list argument. It is intended to decrease the verbosity of running the actual speedtest only.


This is a great tool for fans of Speedtest.net and Terminal. Personally, I don't like using Adobe Flash for anything (I've even gone so far as to completely remove it from my MacBook Air). It's a very simple app to install and use when you need a quick-and-dirty way to run a bandwidth test with the easy of the website, without staring at ads and a grotesquely loud interface. Someone needs to tell the folks at Speedtest.net that it's not 1993 anymore.

That being said, I'll leave you with a short video showing the basic functions of the app.