Practical Ecommerce

The PEC Review: Speedtest.net

Most ecommerce merchants are digital natives, spending hours each day online, managing orders, marketing, or just staying ahead of the competition.

When so much of your working day is spent on the Internet, even modest changes in upload and download speeds can have a major impact on productivity. I found this out first hand recently, when I noticed that it was taking me a lot longer to upload files to Practical eCommerce’s proprietary content management system. Ultimately, I learned that my Internet service provider (ISP) was having some equipment issues, and I got my monthly bill sliced in half until the company fixed it.

To make sure that I wasn’t just imagining the slower performance, I used Speedtest.net, a service from Ookla, to monitor my ISP’s upload and download speeds over time and to-and-from different servers. Then, when I called to complain, I had hard evidence to show that I really wasn’t getting what I was paying for. Because Speedtest.net is a free and easy way to make sure your ISP is really delivering the goods, I am awarding it five out of a possible five stars in this “The PeC Review.”

“The PeC Review” is my weekly column aimed at introducing you to the products or services that I believe will help you improve your ecommerce business. Often my reviews focus on products aimed squarely at ecommerce marketing, order processing, or management. But, this week, I thought a little dash of productivity and monitoring wouldn’t hurt, so let me share with you why I think you should use Speedtest.net at least once a week.

Speedtest.net Is Easy to Use

Measuring All the Time

People regularly monitor automobile fuel gages, bandwidth consumption, and dozens of other variable utilities or consumables, but rarely do people make sure that their ISP is providing the upload and download speeds promised.

At its most basic, Speedtest.net does this for you. Simply surf to the Speedtest.net site, select a test server, and click “Begin Test.” In short order, Speedtest.net will return an upload and download performance report and rate your ISP against average scores of other ISPs.

ISP performance does vary, so it is not a bad idea to run three tests back-to-back to get a good baseline score.

Speedtest.net Tracks Your ISP Performance Over Time

Click on the “Your Results” link at the top of the Speedtest.net page, and you will see a history of your last several tests, including information about which server you tested against, how fast your ISP was, and if you suffered from any latency problems.

Speedtest.net allows you to download the results to a comma-separated file for viewing in spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. It also allows you to link to your result history page—perfect for emailing to your ISP when you have a question about performance or posting in an online forum when you really want to complain (or brag).

Five Stars

Comparative Data

Finally, Speedtest.net provides comparative data so you can see how your ISP performs compared to other providers in your area or in the world.

Summing Up

Speedtest.net is a free service that quickly and accurately lets you monitor your ISP’s performance. You are paying for consistent upload and download speeds, so you ought to be sure you’re getting what you pay for. Speedtest.net can help you do so.

Armando Roggio

Armando Roggio

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Comment ( 1 )

  1. researchstan May 17, 2010 Reply

    How important is speed?
    Check this Marissa Mayer (Google exec) presentation of how the details are important — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFsQvcdmLxc