Tracing your path to a Host

Sometimes it is necessary to know the route your packets take to reach a host to diagnose an issue, such as determining if there is a lot of hops between you and a point causing a timeout issue or slowness.

Most operating systems feature a utility to run this basic test known as traceroute , a command-line program.

Example:

byet@tutorials:~$ traceroute google.com
traceroute to google.com (72.14.204.99), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
 1  lunargate (192.168.1.1)  0.646 ms  1.471 ms  1.717 ms
 2  10.91.64.1 (10.91.64.1)  38.575 ms  50.119 ms  50.292 ms
 3  tge11-0-0-1601.clmboh1-rtr1.columbus.rr.com (24.95.87.5)  51.757 ms  51.975 ms  52.067 ms
 4  tge3-0-0.clevoh1-rtr0.mwrtn.rr.com (65.25.137.41)  57.725 ms  57.949 ms  58.043 ms
 5  ae-3-0.cr0.dca20.tbone.rr.com (66.109.6.70)  69.031 ms  69.124 ms  68.748 ms
 6  ae-1-0.pr0.dca10.tbone.rr.com (66.109.6.165)  66.539 ms  60.333 ms  60.493 ms
 7  74.125.49.181 (74.125.49.181)  82.529 ms  46.946 ms  59.339 ms
 8  216.239.48.108 (216.239.48.108)  48.794 ms  48.644 ms  48.950 ms
 9  66.249.94.46 (66.249.94.46)  46.627 ms  46.735 ms  60.791 ms
10  iad04s01-in-f99.1e100.net (72.14.204.99)  45.837 ms  48.216 ms  46.058 ms

How to run a traceroute in Windows XP and pre-XP

  1. Click Start
  2. Click Run
  3. Type: cmd
  4. Press Enter
  5. Type: tracert example.com
  6. Press Enter

At this point the trace is running, allow it to finish, you will be able to copy the results as needed by highlighting and copying into your clipboard.

How to run a traceroute in Windows Vista or Windows 7

  1. Click the Windows Orb
  2. In the Search/Run box type and run: cmd
  3. Type: tracert example.com
  4. Press Enter

Your trace should now begin, allow it to finish and you'll be able to copy the results as needed for pasting into a support ticket or elsewhere.

How to run a traceroute for Mac OS X or Linux

  1. Open a console
  2. Type: traceroute example.com
  3. Press Enter

Your trace is now running, allow it to finish and then copy the results as necessary.

For those more advanced you can also use:

  • mtr
  • pingpath
  • tracepath
  • lft