How To Find Out Your Netflix Streaming Speed
There’s nothing worse than turning on Netflix to find it continually buffering, failing to load, or running in standard definition “blur-o-vision.” Honestly, how did we live before the era of HD? We had low-resolution tube TVs that blurred the pixels to make the picture look cleaner.
Thankfully, most of these problems can get solved by a quick test of your internet speed. You may have a superfast mobile hotspot or broadband internet service from Comcast, AT&T, Spectrum, Dish, Armstrong, or any other internet provider. Still, you may not be able to use Netflix at a decent speed due to internet service provider (ISP) throttling of Netflix’s servers.
Using a speed tester like Ookla’s Speedtest.net is a great tool to measure your “general” internet connection speed, but it’s incapable of measuring your Netflix service’s bandwidth.
This situation is where Netflix’s super-lightweight speed test comes into play. Simply visit Fast.com to check your Netflix streaming speed. FAST is owned and operated by Netflix and runs directly on their servers.
Netflix also offers an in-app speed test, but it is limited to select devices. For mobile and PC apps, they instruct you to use Fast.com. To check any other device’s Netflix app for the speed test option, look for a gear icon at the top of the home screen. If you don’t see the gear, your device does not support speed test functionality. Select “Check your network” if the gear icon is present.
How To Find Your Netflix Streaming Speed on a PC, Mac, or Chromebook
To get an accurate measurement of your Netflix bandwidth on a desktop, laptop, or Macbook, head over to Fast.com.
This super-minimal webpage is an excellent Netflix-owned tool for testing your internet connection, but it also gives you a direct readout of how fast you can stream content from Netflix. Unlike Speedtest.net, Fast.com connects directly to Netflix’s servers, giving you the most accurate readout for how reliable your connection is. The speed displayed is measured in realtime.
In the comparison below, you can see that Netflix servers are delivering plenty of bandwidth. You also notice that Speedtest.net shows a slightly slower bandwidth. Take note that speeds fluctuate constantly. One minute, you may have 60mbps, and the next, you get 45mbps or even 50mbps.
Keep in mind that the ISP limits speeds (establishes a threshold) based on the service subscription level. Therefore, Netflix server bandwidth gets based on the ISP’s subscription control. What does that mean? You see measurements of Netflix servers running from within the ISP’s bandwidth and a regular server showing the same. The speed you see from Fast.com is the rate you are getting for Netflix streaming.
In summary, Fast.com reports what speed your connection can handle under Netflix services and your ISP internet service. Testing bandwidth from a regular server does not produce accurate Netflix speed results, mainly because they are different servers.
How Can Fast.com Check Netflix Speeds?
You may ask, “How can Fast.com detect my potential Netflix speeds if my internet provider throttles Netflix service?” The answer is that this webpage is not any different than any other page on the internet.
Fast.com gets processed just like any other website. The throttling occurs when the Netflix app runs or the Netflix servers are accessed, regardless of use. It all depends on the ISP’s throttling capabilities. Most mobile internet providers throttle based on app and server. Home internet providers also have the ability to stifle speed through both options, although servers are the primary control method. In the end, the realtime speed report on Fast.com is the throttled speed you receive for Netflix streaming.
How to Measure Netflix Speed on iPhone, iPad, and Android
If you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or Android device, it’s simple to find out how reliable your Netflix connection speed is.
While the Fast.com website works on mobile too, Netflix has created the FAST Speed Test for iOS app and the FAST Speed Test for Android app, which lets you quickly gauge how fast your mobile connection is to Netflix’s servers.
Google Play Netflix Speed Test:
iOS Netflix Speed Test:
The app is incredibly simple to use, just like the website: just launch it from your device, and within seconds, you’ll have a live readout. It’s also a great way to check whether your data plan is fast enough for your streaming needs.
How do I improve Netflix streaming speeds?
Other than switching ISPs or mobile service, there aren’t many options to speed up Netflix. Regardless, using an ethernet connection generally surpasses the speeds of Wi-Fi, so if you are near the router or cable modem, that is the best option.
Aside from using ethernet to improve Netflix speeds, you should check the health and performance of your device. This step mostly involves PCs and Macs, but it also becomes essential for smartphones and tablets. Reduce the number of apps running in the background, and then retest your Netflix speed at Test.com. You can also try different Wi-Fi adaptors whenever possible, such as on a Windows desktop PC.
As you can see, the best way to check your Netflix service speeds is to use a tool or webpage that measures bandwidth through Netflix servers. You get a service provider readout, which, these days, delivers variable bandwidth for specific uses. Your device can play a significant role in speeds too, but the ISP or mobile carrier has the most control. Fast.com is Netflix’s tool and runs on its servers, so a readout represents what you receive (with throttling in place by your ISP) when using the app.