Using traceroute to troubleshoot network issues
When you connect to a website, the traffic has to
go through several intermediaries like your local router, your Internet service provider’s
routers, onto larger networks, and so on. Traceroute shows us the path traffic takes to reach the website. It
also displays the delays that occur at each stop. If you’re having
issues reaching a website and that website is working properly, it’s
possible there’s a problem somewhere on the path between your computer
and the website’s servers. Traceroute would show you where that problem
How to use traceroute ?
On windows :
Traceroute is run from a command prompt or terminal window. On
Windows, press the Windows key, type Command Prompt, and press Enter to
- To run a traceroute, run the tracert command followed by the address of a website. For example : tracert mail.google.com
Traceroute in mac/linux :
- On mac or linux it works as traceroute command instead of tracert.
For example : traceroute mail.google.com
Understanding the Output
The basic idea is self-explanatory. The first line represents your home
router (assuming you’re behind a router), the next lines represent your
ISP, and each line further down represents a router that’s further away.
The format of each line is as follows:
Hop RTT1 RTT2 RTT3 Domain Name [IP Address]
- Hop: Whenever a packet is passed between a router, this is referred
to as a “hop.” For example, in the output above, we can see that it
takes 9 hops to reach gmail (i.e. mail.google.com) servers from my current location.
- RTT1, RTT2, RTT3: This is the round-trip time that it takes for a
packet to get to a hop and back to your computer (in milliseconds). This
is often referred to as latency, and is the same number you see when
using ping. Traceroute sends three packets to each hop and displays each
time, so you have some idea of how consistent (or inconsistent) the
If you see a * in some columns, you didn’t receive a
response – which could indicate packet loss.
- Domain Name [IP Address]: The domain name, if available, can often
help you see the location of a router. If this isn’t available, only the
IP address of the router is displayed.
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