Site/App Performance

Troubleshoot Slow Network Connections with Traceroute

If you’ve ever been in the situation where you can’t reach your server and you want to figure out what’s going on, traceroute is the tool for you. Traceroute tracks the route packets take over a network on their way to a given host, recording the hops from the computer you issued the command on all the way to the destination computer.

Traceroute is a fantastic tool. It will show you the name or IP of each hop, how long it took to get a response and — if something is wrong with the connection — where the packets stopped.

While this tool is called traceroute on Linux and Mac computers, it is called tracert on Windows machines.

To run a traceroute in Linux or Mac, open a terminal window and run “traceroute domain.com” where domain.com can be substituted for any domain or IP address.

In Windows you will need to open a command prompt, which can be done by clicking the start menu in the bottom left of the screen and typing cmd in the prompt. This will launch a command prompt where instead of typing traceroute, you will type “tracert domain.com” (again, substituting the domain to which you wish to run the traceroute).

Here is a sample traceroute to Google. It makes it all the way without issue:

traceroute google.com
traceroute to google.com (74.125.228.73), 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
1 10.15.57.99 (10.15.57.99) 12.873 ms 12.810 ms 12.781 ms
2 209.50.226.1 (209.50.226.1) 29.951 ms 29.930 ms 29.905 ms
3 xe-1-2-0.mpr4.iad2.us.above.net (64.125.195.221) 14.471 ms 15.336 ms 17.941 ms
4 xe-0-1-0.mpr4.iad1.us.above.net (64.125.31.134) 17.902 ms 17.876 ms 17.854 ms
5 xe-4-0-0.cr2.dca2.us.above.net (64.125.31.118) 17.939 ms 17.918 ms 17.899 ms
6 xe-1-0-0.cr1.dca2.us.above.net (64.125.28.249) 17.878 ms 10.722 ms 10.729 ms
7 xe-3-2-0.er1.iad10.us.above.net (64.125.29.209) 24.029 ms 14.878 ms 15.080 ms
8 above-google.iad10.us.above.net (64.125.12.82) 14.597 ms 14.573 ms 14.549 ms
9 209.85.252.46 (209.85.252.46) 14.530 ms 14.506 ms 14.482 ms
10 72.14.238.247 (72.14.238.247) 14.772 ms 25.643 ms 25.619 ms
11 iad23s07-in-f9.1e100.net (74.125.228.73) 14.994 ms 15.363 ms 14.287 ms

The thing to look for in a traceroute is high latency, where the numbers will be measured in 100s of milliseconds or more, which will display on your end as slowness or entries that say:

*** Request timed out

Time outs will indicate a routing issue. If you are having issues accessing the server, this entry is the likely culprit. If you see this entry at the very end of the traceroute it will likely be caused by your firewall or some other server configuration that is preventing access. Open a ticket in your customer portal and we can investigate. If it comes before your server, then it is an issue that is off of our network. You can reach out to your ISP, but you may have to wait for the issue to get fixed by whoever maintains the device that is failing.

And a final note, if you are just looking for a quick and dirty way to see if your server is up, you can always visit: downforeveryoneorjustme.com. This site won’t give you as much information as traceroute, but will let you know if the connectivity issue is affecting everyone trying to reach your site or just you.

Photo by Steve Jurvetson
Find out more about ServInt solutions

Starting at $25

  • Hosting Advice
  • The New York Times
  • The Hill
  • Bloomberg
  • The Seattle Times
  • Computer World
  • Ars Technica
  • MSNBC