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Wiki > traceroute

traceroute is a computer network diagnostic tool for displaying the route (path) and measuring transit delays of packets across an Internet Protocol (IP) network. It's a great way to inspect the routing to your box.

How does it work

On Windows

  • Open the command prompt:
    • Windows 7 or Vista: From the Start menu, in the search field, type "cmd" and then press Enter
    • Previous versions: From the Start menu, select Run... . In the "Open:" box, type "cmd" and then press Enter
  • At the command prompt, enter tracert server.whatbox.ca

On Linux and macOS

Open the Terminal app and type traceroute server.whatbox.ca

What does it mean?

You will get something like this:

Tracing route to www.indiana.edu []

over a maximum of 30 hops:

1   <10 ms   <10 ms   <10 ms 
2    10 ms    20 ms    20 ms  indy-bloomington-s4-6.ivy.tec.in.us [] 
3    10 ms    10 ms    20 ms  akicita-lena.ivy.tec.in.us [] 
4    20 ms    30 ms    30 ms  indnet.ivy.tec.in.us [] 
5    71 ms    40 ms    50 ms  ind-s1-0-7-T1.ind.net [] 
6    80 ms    40 ms    40 ms  serverfarm-atm0.ind.net [] 
7    60 ms    90 ms    80 ms  iupui-atm6-0-100.ind.net [] 
8    50 ms    40 ms    90 ms  indy-dmz.atm.iupui.edu [] 
9     *        *        *     Request timed out.
10    40 ms    70 ms    90 ms  wcc6-gw.ucs.indiana.edu [] 
11     *       40 ms    50 ms  viator.ucs.indiana.edu [] 

Trace complete.

The first column, the hop count, represents the number of stops your information has made along the route to attempt to contact the other computer. The next three columns are the round-trip times in milliseconds for three different attempts to reach the destination. The last column is the name of the host that responded to the request.

The above example shows that a computer user on ivy.tec.in.us ran a traceroute to www.indiana.edu. On the fifth hop, the request left the Ivy Tech network and went to the ind.net network. On the eighth hop, the request went to the iupui.edu network. Finally, on the tenth hop, the request found its way to the indiana.edu network. Since there is a "Request timed out" message on the ninth hop, you might guess that there could be some problem between the iupui.edu network and the indiana.edu network. If you are seeing other problems, such as the web page at http://www.indiana.edu/ loading slowly, this could indicate the location of the problem.