Sunday, February 21, 2016

Raspberry Pi - Dedicated Speedtest Tracker

In the process of finding ways to automate my home, I stumbled upon a post on Make by Alasdair Allan entitled Use Raspberry Pi to Measure Broadband Speeds to Hold Your ISP Accountable. This project, as it sounds, will run speed tests with once an hour, and ultimately log the data to a Google Sheet on your Google Drive.

While following Alasdair's post, I ran into a few issues and felt that I should make a post that explains more of what needs to be completed as far as commands and setup as some are implied but not directly listed. This post uses mostly his post, so please make sure to give him thanks if you like it.
I will be running under the assumption that you already know how to SSH into your Raspberry Pi, but if you don't there is a nice YouTube video here on how to connect over PuTTY. I will also be using the assumption that you are logged in as the user pi, so adjust the user directory as needed if not logged in as pi.

Here is what will be needed to complete this project:
First things first, lets make sure that the Raspberry Pi is up to date. This can be done one of two ways:
  1. Scripted, using from Raspberry Pi - Update Raspberry Pi Script
  2. Manually run update and upgrade options:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade 
Once you have made sure that your Raspberry Pi is up-to-date, lets get to setting it up for our speedtest tracking. First, we'll make sure that python-pip and speedtest-cli:
sudo apt-get install python-pip
sudo pip install speedtest-cli
 Now, make sure speedtest-cli works by running it:
 You should see a result similar to this (I have modfied some information for privacy)
Retrieving configuration...
Retrieving server list...
Testing from Acme ISP (
Selecting best server based on latency...
Hosted by Acme Server (Earth) [103.82 km]: 41.753 ms
Testing download speed........................................
Download: 45.68 Mbit/s
Testing upload speed..................................................
Upload: 5.65 Mbit/s
Next, we will get another script to help format the text for easy of transferring it to a spreadsheet. Lets install speedtest-cli-extras:
git clone
Now, we will test the new script to see its output:
cd speedtest-cli-extras/bin
Please note that there will be a period of time between when you execute speedtest-csv and when it provides an output similar to below as it is running the speedtest in the background.
2016-02-22 00:59:52;2016-02-22 01:01:51;Acme ISP;;Acme Server (Earth);103.82 km;43.183 ms;22.98 Mbit/s;2.26 Mbit/s;
We could stop here now that we have a delimited output, but that leaves a few issues:

  1. If you want to use the delimited log file, you will need to provide SSH access to the device from outside your local netwrok to check it on the go, OR
  2. You will need to setup a program to take the delimited file and provide other abilities like graphs
  3. Neither Alasdair nor I cover that.
So back to it. This next section will get IFTTT setup to allow our speedtest data to be put into a Google Sheet.
First, connect with the Google Drive IFTTT channel. Make sure that you allow the Google Drive channel to have access to the account that you want your results to be saved to. Now, follow the Maker IFTTT channel. With that complete, we will then need to add the Log Speedtest results to Spreadsheet recipe to our account. 
IFTTT Recipe: Log Speedtest results to Spreadsheet connects maker to google-drive
Make sure that you set the name the recipe "speedtest" before you click the Add button
IFTTT speedtest script name
Now that the online part is setup, lets finish with the local parts. We will now get an IFTTT version of the speedtest-csv script:
This will place a copy of in /home/pi/speedtest-cli-extras/bin.
We will need to modify to include your Maker Secret Key, and then make sure that the script can be be executed. Open in nano:
Scroll to the bottom of the file, and change the SECRET_KEY text to your key from the Maker IFTTT channel page SECRET_KEY location
Once complete, save (Ctrl+O) and exit (Ctrl+X). Now, we will make sure that the script is executable:
sudo chmod +x
Lets test this to make sure that it works:
Once complete, you should see the following message:
Congratulations! You've fired the speedtest event
Now check Google Drive, you should have a new Speedtest sheet.
When you open it, you should have a new row with the results:
February 21, 2016 at 02:16PM41.27845.475.72

Now that the are able to get our results saved, lets get a a cron script make and scheduled. For the sake of logging, we will create another script to run with some extra local outputs. First, create
Paste the following:

date >> /home/pi/speedtest.log
/home/pi/speedtest-cli-extras/bin/ >> /home/pi/speedtest.log
echo "" >> /home/pi/speedtest.log
This will create a quick access log that can be checked locally from first sign on with less speedtest.log, and will append it after each running. Before we test it, lets make sure that the script is executable:
sudo chmod +x
Ok, now let's test it out:
You should see a new line in your Speedtest Google Sheet, and when you run less speedtest.log, you should see a result like this:
Sun 21 Feb 21:29:16 UTC 2016
Congratulations! You've fired the speedtest event
We will need to schedule this to run at the top of the hour.  To do this, we must  open and modify the crontab file. To open it, type:
crontab -e
Scroll to the bottom of the file, then paste the following:
# Run Speedtest script ""
0 * * * * /home/pi/speedtest-cli-extras/bin/
Now you are set to keep metrics on your Internet connect, so you can make sure you are getting the speeds you pay for. Google Sheets also has some nice features such as conditional formatting and graphs that you can use to get on the fly views of the metrics you capture.

Google Sheets formatted example


  1. Hello,
    speedtest logging works very well for more than a month. But now, ifttt does some updates and after reconnecting with new key, i have problems.
    I did change the old ifmaker key with the new one in the file now google sheet is not continued. i get an new googlesheet with named speedtest(1).

    what can i do to continue logging in my old spreadsheet after reconnect with new ifmaker key.
    thanks for your answer

  2. Could you provide any hints on how to add the --server parameter so a local server could be queried?

  3. hi, thnx for this great tool. one question doh;
    this app is recording much lower download values as on
    were records around 300 Mbps speedtest-cli records around 90 Mbit/s.
    any idea how come?

    1. If you are using an RPi, the NIC is 100 Mbit/s so that would be a limiting factor. Not being the original creator of this (see first paragraph of post), I can't say I know too much about the script's back end to provide an answer outside of that.

    2. speedtest-cli is well recorded as to not being the greatest logger, take the speeds as a recording idea and not as a given.

  4. Thanks so much for this, after everything I think I was missing the speedtest parameter from maker on the original post.
    Your explanation all the way through made everything easy and painless.
    Thank you

  5. How do I modify the date to a proper "date" format when it's input into Sheets? I'm looking for something like MM/DD/YYYY HH:MM:SS or similar that I can use to aggregate into a weekly/monthly view in Sheets. I can't seem to find this in the file.

    Also, when I ran ./, instead of the response you listed above, I received the below. Any tips on what I might have done wrong?

    % Total % Received % Xferd Average Speed Time Time Time Current
    Dload Upload Total Spent Left Speed
    100 102 100 49 100 53 98 106 --:--:-- --:--:-- --:--:-- 107

    1. For the record, despite the response I received to ./ not matching yours, it still runs on the hour as expected....

  6. Anyone know if this can work on non-RPi SBCs? Thinking about getting something like a TinkerBoard that has a full Gigabit ethernet to really test/track my connection but not sure that it will work with this method.

  7. I keep getting the message Cannot POST /trigger/speedtest/with/key/ any idea why?

  8. Hello,
    I went step by step but after entering the secret key of my raspberry maligned by a bad secret key.

    Please help me :(