Why the vast differences in upload and download speeds?

August 10, 2019 93 views
DigitalOcean Networking Ubuntu 18.04

I recently setup a small $5 droplet in the London region. I installed speedtest-cli to test the upload and download speeds, but I saw some very different results.

Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Retrieving information for the selected server...
Hosted by Vodafone UK (Bracknell) [14.60 km]: 4.009 ms
Testing download speed................................................................................
Download: 3837.55 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed......................................................................................................
Upload: 4.16 Mbit/s

I tested on multiple speedtest servers but the results were basically the same, the downloads were betweeh 500-3300mb while the upload was around 4mb. Any thoughts on why the upload is so slow compared to the download?

1 Answer

Hello,

I've just tested that and indeed I got the same results. Then I used the strace command to strace the process and I noticed that during the Upload tests the connections to speedtest.net were timing out.

So I decided to get latest speedtest speedtest script rather than using the one available from the repository:

  • Get the latest version of the script:
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/sivel/speedtest-cli/master/speedtest.py
  • Make the file executable:
chmod +x speedtest.py
  • Run the script:
python speedtest.py

The results were much better in this case:

Retrieving speedtest.net server list...
Selecting best server based on ping...
Hosted by XILO (Maidenhead) [3.98 km]: 2.976 ms
Testing download speed................................................................................
Download: 702.54 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed................................................................................................
Upload: 800.73 Mbit/s

So my guess would be that the speedtest tool in the repository is outdated or something. It is always best to use the official instructions when installing tools on your system:

https://www.speedtestserver.com/

Hope that this helps!
Regards,
Bobby

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