Using Ping to Find Network Problems


  • Applies to: All Service Types
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Time Needed: 10
    • Tools Required: Internet access

Overview

Packet INternet Groper (Ping) allows you to quickly verify the connectivity of your Internet connection to our servers. Ping attempts to transmit a packet from your computer to a website on the network and listens for the response to ensure that it was correctly received. The most basic use of ping is simply the command PING and the destination IP address or host name.

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Instructions

For example, you can open a command-line window and use this command:

On Windows

  • Start -> Run -> Type in cmd -> hit enter

On Mac

  • Hard Drive -> Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

In the Terminal window, you can type in commands like this:


ping 64.207.129.35

Or like this:


ping mediatemple.net

This sort of ping command will most often result in one of two responses. You will either see something like this (which is a good response):

72 bytes from 64.207.129.35 time = 12.2 ms
72 bytes from 64.207.129.35 time = 12.2 ms
72 bytes from 64.207.129.35 time = 12.2 ms
72 bytes from 64.207.129.35 time = 12.2 ms

Or you might see something like this (which is not a good response and indicates either your internet connection is having issues, or the server is not reachable):

Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

The reason you will see multiple results is that the ping command will generally attempt to "ping" the destination four times. For example, you might see this:

Request timed out.
52 bytes from 64.207.129.35 time = 250 ms
Request timed out.
Request timed out.

In this case, ping did not locate the destination in a reasonable amount of time on the first attempt, succeeded on the second attempt, and it then failed on the last two attempts.

This should give you a basic understanding of the PING utility when troubleshooting a network. Try some of the tips given here to get started and hopefully you'll understand a bit more about how to locate the source of a network problem.

TIP:

You can check connections to various parts of the Internet by pinging different websites (mediatemple.net, google.com, yahoo.com). Slower response times than normal can indicate that the path is congested or obstructed. A failed response indicates that a connection is broken somewhere.

Use the following ping failure messages to troubleshoot problems:


No reply from <destination>

Indicates that the destination routes are available but that there is a problem with the destination itself.


<destination> is unreachable

Indicates that your system does not know how to get to the destination. This message means either that routing information to a different subnetwork is unavailable or that a device on the same subnetwork is down.


ICMP host unreachable from gateway

Indicates that your system can transmit to the target address using a gateway, but that the gateway cannot forward the packet properly because a router or gateway is misconfigured at your ISP or at your location.