Linux Administrator

Understanding The Traceroute Command

Traceroute is a command which can show you the path a packet of information takes from your computer to one you specify. It will list all the routers it passes through until it reaches its destination, or fails to and is discarded. In addition to this, it will tell you how long each ‘hop’ from router to router takes.

There is a common utility known as traceroute, or tracert in DOS and Windows. The purpose of this utility is to show you the path your traffic takes when you are attempting to connect to another machine.

In this article I will show some traceroute command example.

Traceroute on Windows

Follow the below steps to perform a traceroute on Windows machine.

1.Click on start.

2.Click in the search box.

3.Then type cmd (you may need to type command in Windows 95/98/ME).

4.Once you have your Terminal box open, just type in the following but be sure to replace example.com with your domain name:

# tracert example.com

It is also possible to run a traceroute using your access domain or IP:

# tracert rcbi-b1hp.accessdomain.com
# tracert 64.13.192.208

You will get some output like below:

Tracing route to example.com [64.13.192.208]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  72.10.62.1
2    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  10.101.248.1
3     1 ms    <1 ms     1 ms  10.104.65.161
4     1 ms     5 ms     1 ms  10.104.0.1
5     2 ms     2 ms     3 ms  10.0.10.33
6     5 ms     3 ms     2 ms  example.com [64.13.192.208]

Trace complete.

Traceroute on Mac

Follow the below command to perform traceroute on mac machine.

1. The Terminal application that you need is located in the Utilities folder. To quickly locate it, click on the search icon in the top right corner and type ‘Terminal’.

2. Open the terminal app.

3. Once you have your Terminal box open, type in the following but be sure to replace example.com with your domain name.

traceroute example.com

It is also possible to run a traceroute using your access domain or IP.

traceroute rcbi-b1hp.accessdomain.com 

You will get some output like below:

traceroute to example.com (64.13.192.208), 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
1  72.10.62.1 (72.10.62.1)  1.000 ms  0.739 ms  0.702 ms
2  10.101.248.1 (10.101.248.1)  0.683 ms  0.385 ms  0.315 ms
3  10.104.65.161 (10.104.65.161)  0.791 ms  0.703 ms  0.686 ms
4  10.104.0.1 (10.104.0.1)  1.430 ms  1.310 ms  1.063 ms
5  10.0.10.33 (10.0.10.33)  2.652 ms  2.260 ms  5.353 ms
6  www.example.com (64.13.192.208)  3.384 ms  8.001 ms  2.439 ms

Understanding The Traceroute

In the results you will see the comment, “over a maximum of 30 hops or 64.” All this means is that the diameter of the Internet is roughly 30 or 64 hops. Therefore, many trace routes will only go that far out in trying to reach a destination.

The first column is the hop number, which is the Time-To-Live (TTL) value set in the packet.

The next three columns contains the round-trip times in milliseconds for an attempt to reach the destination with the TTL value. The last column is the host name (if it was resolved) and IP address of the responding system.

Some Tips

If you see either of the following errors it is possible that the domain is not registered or does not exist.

Unable to resolve target system name example.com
unknown host example.com

Another thing to keep an eye out for is a Timeout. This can indicate you have a network/firewall issue that is preventing you from reaching your server:

Tracing route to example.com [64.13.192.208]
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  72.10.62.1
2    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms  10.101.248.1
3        *        *        *  Request Time Out
4        *        *        *  Request Time Out
5        *        *        *  Request Time Out
6        *        *        *  Request Time Out

Trace complete.
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Santosh Prasad

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