Netflix has begun offering a simple tool for Internet users to test their real-time download speeds on their Internet connection. Fast.com is a simple one-click website that performs a series of downloads directly from the streaming company’s servers, to give users an idea of how well video content might stream on their current connection.
The company encourages users to also check their speed via Ookla’s popular Speedtest website, and even offers a direct link to that site. In our testing, we found both sites showed numbers within a megabit or two of each other. However, some users might want to try both, especially if they have a suspicion that their Internet provider might be throttling their Netflix connection.
Netflix tells users, via a FAQ on the Fast webpage that the test performs a series of downloads from Netflix servers. Users do not need to be logged in to their Netflix account to use the Fast site.
The website doesn’t test ping, latency, or upload speeds, as it is intended to be “a simple-to-use way for consumers to estimate what speed their ISP is providing. It is not a network engineer’s analysis and diagnostic suite.”
The video streaming company, of course, takes a small jab at ISPs in the FAQ, saying: “We want our members to have a simple, quick, commercial-free way to estimate the speed their ISP is providing. […] If results from fast.com and other speed tests often show less speed than you have paid for, you can ask your ISP about the results.”