How to Test Internet Connection Speed on Mac

Apr 19, 2020 - 5 Comments

How to Test Internet Connection Speed on Mac

Wondering how fast your current internet connection speed is? It’s super easy to find out how fast your internet connection is, all you need is a web browser to find how fast or slow your internet service is.

We’ll be covering how to check internet connection speed using a Mac with any web browser, but technically this connection speed testing process is the same on any other computer or device with a web browser too, including any iPhone, iPad, Windows PC, Linux, Android, or other hardware.

How to Easily Test Internet Connection Speed on Mac

Ready to see test your internet speed? Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Open any web browser on the Mac, like Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave, Epic, Edge
  2. Go to https://fast.com and let the page load, it immediately loads a speed test into the web browser
  3. Wait a few moments to get your reported internet connection speed

By default the speed test will show only download speeds, but if you click on “Show More Info” at the bottom of the results the browser will run a second speed test to check internet connection latency and upload speed too.

How to Test Internet Connection Speed on Mac

All of this data can be helpful for troubleshooting and planning what type of internet services and features you may use or have available.

Many things can impact your internet connection speed, including internet service provider, service quality, network quality, wi-fi routers, wi-fi interference, distance from wi-fi routers, other network activity, and much more.

High performing internet providers and services in major metro areas should be ultra fast and highly stable, with very high speeds that allow for large downloads and uploads and flawless 4k streaming on multiple devices in the same household.

But as you can see in the screenshots here, the internet connection currently being tested is quite slow in compared to a high speed connection you’d find in a major city. Nonetheless the slow speed shown is a fairly typical internet connection speed for semi-rural and rural areas of America even barely outside of major metro areas (in this case, the slow internet service shown is the top internet offering available in a smaller town just outside of a major US city, hooray for infrastructure?), and also fairly typical of what sort of internet connection speed you might find in undeveloped and developing parts of the world, whether as a resident or traveler. Not everyone has access to the super fast broadband services available in major global cities and suburbs! This is something important to keep in mind as developers, who are often concentrated in major metro areas with superior internet service, though they can use features to simulate slower internet connections if they’re interested in doing so.

Checking internet connection speed on Mac web browser

This speed test service is provided free (by Netflix) and can help to determine what your internet connection speed is and requirements might be for using various streaming services, cloud services, and other stuff that requires internet connections.

For example, with a slow internet speed like the one shown, doing large iCloud backups is a huge challenge and can take weeks to upload or download. Likewise, using iCloud Photos may not be ideal on this type of internet connection because the speed is too slow to handle a large photo library syncing across devices. Even some network games like Fortnite or Warcraft may have latency issues due to the connection speed, making them challenging to play.

You can also runspeed tests from the command line if you need to.

Note that your active internet connection is not going to be the same as the wi-fi connection link speed shown in Network Utility, which is more representative of a maximum possible speed rather than the actual connection speed.

As mentioned before, you can use fast.com to test internet connections on iPhone and Android too, or you can use dedicated Speed Test apps for mobile speed tests if you’d like.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Tips & Tricks, Troubleshooting

5 Comments

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  1. HelenHH says:

    FireFox v76 is now 75% slower when looking at fast.com, as compared to other browsers.

    Bye, bye FireFox.

  2. JimBob says:

    Have to wonder at the accuracy since it shows me at 16 MPS and Speedtest run right after shows me at 152 Mbps. That is several magnitudes difference. In practice, I’ve found Speedtest reflects my actual experience.

  3. Michael Spencer says:

    Gotta wonder the price for a domain name like that. Especially in “.com” land!

  4. James MacDonald says:

    Using a IPhone 6s+ in rural Maine I tested as follows:

    Verizon LTE
    Fast 3.8 Mbps
    OOKLA 40.7 Mbps

    Consolidated Communications DSL (25Mbps Rated)
    Fast 23. Mbps
    OOKLA 22.4 Mbps

    Why is the Fast test so off base on cellular?

  5. Ralph F says:

    I thought fast.com only measured the communication speed with Netflix itself, not general internet speeds. I am probably wrong on this.

    FWIW, on my Mac I use Ookla’s speedtest app, which I got directly from the App Store: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/speedtest-by-ookla/id1153157709?mt=12

    It’s also available for iOS as well as on the AppleTV (which is my only hardwired connection in my house).

    (FWIW, I’m using the Orbi system these days, with its dedicated 5G ethernet backhaul, which is a godsend in the house. Before, I was pulling at absolute best 40% of my hardwired speeds, now I’m usually at about 90% to 95%, if not 100%.)

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