How To: Test Your Bandwidth From The Terminal

There are all sorts of ways that you can test your bandwidth rate from the terminal. This article is going to cover just one of them. As far as articles go, this one should be pretty easy for anyone to follow and understand. It should also be relatively quick.

So, there’s that…

Which is nice…

The tool we’ll be using is known as ‘speedtest-cli’. You may be more familiar with their website, speedtest.net. If you, like most, visit the site, you can have your bandwidth tested in a number of ways and from a variety of servers. You can do that from the terminal, if you want.

Speedtest.org is pretty handy, though I’d probably recommend librespeed.org to folks who are testing via the web. The latter has no Java, websockets, nor Flash. It is also open source. On the other hand, it lacks a way to easily test it in the terminal.

So, what is speedtest-cli? It’s a way to access the speedtest.net tests via the terminal. There are a number of options and I’ll cover the most important of those options below. For now, speedtest-cli defines itself as:

speedtest-cli – Command line interface for testing internet bandwidth using speedtest.net

That’s a pretty accurate description of what it does. It’s also the tool we’ll be using. It’s just easier and fancier than other ways. Sure, you can download a large file in the terminal and get a good idea of what your download rate is, but it’s not much of a test and doesn’t include things like your upload speed.

Test Your Bandwidth:

As stated above, you will test your bandwidth rate in the terminal. To do this, you’ll obviously need an open terminal. To open your terminal with a keyboard shortcut, just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal should open.

Install speedtest-cli:

So, speedtest-cli is unlikely to be installed by default, you’re going to have to install it. If you go to their official download page, you’ll get to download a script form of the application for pretty much every architecture out there. Those will work just fine and have directions about how to use them.

But, you can probably properly install speedtest-cli. For example, if you want to install it on Ubuntu, your installation command would look like this:

I didn’t check every other distro, but it sure looks like it’s available in the default repositories for a bunch of them. Even in Manjaro, I was able to install speedtest-cli with this command:

And all was good with it installing without any need to mess around with scripts or installing it manually. As near as I can tell, it works the same for Fedora and even CentOS. Just use your package manager to do the installation and it’s probably in there.

Test Your Bandwidth With speedtest-cli:

Next, you’re going to want to run speedtest-cli. If you’re familiar with the web interface, the terminal interface won’t seem too terribly foreign. By default, the bandwidth test will be done with the closest servers to you (based on IP address geolocation). You can also pick the server you want it to test your bandwidth with, overriding the default choice.

If you want to run the command that’d give you the results you’d get by using the defaults on the web page, you just run the command without any flags at all. It looks like:

If you want to list servers based on distance from your location, then you first need to run this command:

That will show you servers and their associated server number. Using that number, you can pick which server you want to use with this command:

Those commands will happily give you the test results right there in the terminal, but you can also opt to generate an image. To do that, you use the --share flag. So, a basic command would look like this:

After it spits out the results, it will give you a URL to an image generated based on your individual results. I suppose this is good for bragging rights or for demonstration purposes when complaining about your throughput to your ISP. An image generated from a VPS of mine looks like:

speedtest-cli results from a VPS
That’s obviously from a VPS. My bandwidth isn’t that good! It’d be pretty sweet if it was!

You can use that image to show off to your friends or, as mentioned, a demonstration for how poorly our ISP is serving you. This is one of a few ways you can tell if your provider is actually providing you with the services you purchased.

Those are pretty much the only ways you’re going to use speedtest-cli in the real world. There are a few more options, so be sure to check the man page. As a general rule, most folks are going to just want those options and those results.

Closure: 

And there you have it. You now have a new article. This one is telling you how to test your bandwidth with speedtest-cli, a test you may find useful from time to time.

The bandwidth from my house? Well, I have a lot of stuff using the ‘net on this line right now – but it’s still enough bandwidth for my needs. It’s not nearly as impressive and the results look like this:

speedteest-cli results from my home
As you can see, it’s not that high. That’s actually a bonded DSL line and twice what it used to be!

It’s useful testing to see if you’re actually getting the bandwidth you paid for. Sadly, ISPs are aware of the IP addresses speedtest.net uses and folks tell me that they’re prioritizing traffic from that service (meaning giving you better results than reality would give you) but I have no idea if that’s true or not. To be fair, it does sound sleazy enough for an ISP to do it, though I’ve had pretty good luck with the service providers I currently use.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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Monitor Network Usage On A Per-Application Basis

Today’s article is going to tell you how to use Nethogs to monitor network usage on a per-application basis. It’s actually easier than one might think and we’ll even show you how to install Nethogs on a variety of distros.

Why would you want to monitor this? Well, you may want to know which applications are eating up most of your bandwidth. Not everyone has unlimited bandwidth after all. You might also be looking for rogue applications/malware that’s using up some of your bandwidth. There are all sorts of reasons to monitor your network usage at this level. Feel free to leave a comment telling us how you intend to use Nethogs.

As stated, we’ll be using Nethogs. The man page describes it as:

nethogs – Net top tool grouping bandwidth per process

I suppose that’s mostly useful to those who know what ‘top‘ is. (There’s a future article about top and htop, when I get to it.) But, Nethogs is like a system monitor, except it’s a network monitor with some visual similarity with top. (Yes, that’s an ugly, ugly sentence.)

We’ll be using ‘sudo’ for all of these commands. It’s possible to use Nethogs without sudo, but we won’t be covering that here. If that’s something you’re interested in doing, a search engine will help you get there.

Monitor Network Usage:

Nethogs is a terminal-based application. As such, you’ll need an open terminal. Just press CTRL + ALT + T and your default terminal emulator should open right up.

Once your terminal is open, you can go ahead and install Nethogs. Pick the command that works with your system’s package manager.

Debian/Ubuntu:

RHEL/CentOS (will need to enable EPEL):

Fedora:

Arch/Derivatives: 

Once you have Nethogs installed, you can check the help files. In this case, the help files are better than the man files (I think) so just enter the following into your terminal:

Now, to run Nethogs, we’ll use sudo and just run it in the terminal. Believe it or not, this mode is generally just fine for anything you’re going to do.

That’ll open Nethogs and start monitoring your network usage on a per-application basis. It looks something like this:

Nethogs running in the terminal.
As you can see, bandwidth monitoring on a per-application basis. Tada!

Now, if you’re going to leave it open, you can change the refresh rate. That’s done with the -d <seconds> flag. If you want it to refresh every 15 seconds, your command would look like this:

By the way, if you want to exit Nethogs, you just press Q and it closes – like top and htop do.

If you want, you can specify the network interface you want to use. It doesn’t require any flags, just the network interface name. (Read Also: how to change your network interface name.) An example of that command would be:

While the application is running, you can do some sorting/display changes with the M, R, and S keys. But it’s usually not all that complicated and sorting isn’t needed. If you’re dealing with hundreds of collections, then you may want to start sorting. Really, that’s about all you’ll ever need.

Closure:

And there you have it! You have another article to read. This one is about monitoring your network usage on a per-application basis, a pretty handy skill/tool to have. It’s pretty easy and the output is clear enough for all but the newest Linux users. If you find the tool useful, or already use the tool, please feel free to comment.

Thanks for reading! If you want to help, or if the site has helped you, you can donate, register to help, write an article, or buy inexpensive hosting to start your own site. If you scroll down, you can sign up for the newsletter, vote for the article, and comment.

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‘vnStat’ A Tool For Monitoring Your Bandwidth Usage

‘vnStat’ is a wonderful tool for monitoring your bandwidth usage. This article will show you how to use vnStat effectively. For bonus points, we’ll also look at ‘vnstati’ so you can make pretty graphs to visualize your bandwidth usage. This article shouldn’t take too long!

vnStat‘ stands for ‘view network statistics’ and has been around for like 18 years at the time of this writing. It’s so common that it has its own Wikipedia page. Of course you know that already, you can see the handy link I already provided!

Anyhow, ‘vnStat’ is a tool that runs in the terminal, a console tool as it helpfully describes itself:

vnstat – a console-based network traffic monitor

It’s a pretty great tool that generates some neat information and displays it in the terminal. It looks a little something like this:

vnStat in action!
See? I’ve stopped taking screenshots with a semi-transparent terminal! I’m pretty much a pro!

That image should save me a whole bunch of time! I trust that my readers are smart enough to figure out the gist of it with just a handy screenshot. For those not fluent in the ways of vnStat, ‘rx’ means received and ‘tx’ means sent. The rest should be pretty easy to figure out.

Install vnStat:

In order to get vnStat, you have to actually have to install it. It’s available in the default repositories in the popular distros (and even the BSD family). If it isn’t, you can always build it from source. But, you can probably install it much like you’d install anything else. For example, in a distro that uses apt you’d install it with:

(We might just as well install vnstati at the same time. Also, adjust that command for your own package management system.)

You can next go ahead and enable the service and start it next. That will be:

Once it is installed, you should set up database(s) for vnStat. This is done with:

Where you have “<device_name>” you replace it with the name of your internet adapter. For example, lots of Ethernet adapters are ‘eth0’. You can find the name of your adapter(s) by using either ‘ifconfig -a’ or ‘ip addr’. You can repeat this with all the names of the internet adapters you use, if you do in fact use more than one.

Then you can verify your vnStat installation with:

Assuming that spits out a version number you should be good to go.

Using vnStat (& vnstati):

So, by now you should have vnStat installed, and its sister app vnstati should also be installed. Let’s examine how you use them.

First, you can just call the application in the terminal. There’s nothing complicated about it and it may be your choice if you have more than one network interface. To do so, it’s just:

You can also be more specific, getting the data for just a single device:

Where ‘eth0’ is, change it to the name of your device. So, for a wireless device, it may look something like:

There are a ton of other options, so be sure to check the man page. Those are the options that I use most often, so those are the only ones we’ll be concentrating on.

Now, you can also use vnstati to make a nifty graphic that will show you your bandwidth usage. It looks a little something like this:

vnstati in action
That’s the graphical outcome I prefer.

That’s the output of this command:

As you can guess, you can change the output path to anything you want (and have permissions for). I prefer that particular graphic, but there are a ton of options and you can gather all sorts of information. For example, there’s also this to show the hourly rate from the past 24 hours:

vnstati in action
This is an hourly output, which may be of value if you have limited bandwidth.

That is the output from this command:

And, again, you can modify the outputted .png to place it where you want. There are a whole lot more options and this article isn’t going to cover them all. That’s not the kind of article I write. There are tons more options in the man page, if you want to explore them.

Find what works for you and run with it. You should be able to find a format you like that has the information you’re looking for. I’m just introducing you, you decide how you use it.

Closure:

And there’s another article in the books! This one explains vnStat and vnstati. Both are pretty great tools that go well together, and they help you monitor your bandwidth usage. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to scroll down and leave a message.

Thanks for reading! If you want to contribute, you can donate, you can write an article, you can register to help, you can buy inexpensive hosting, you can rate the articles, you can scroll down to sign up for the newsletter, or you can share this site on social media. If you can think of anything else to help, jump right in and start doing it!

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