Domain Traceroute Instructions

How to Do a Traceroute to a Domain?

In many cases, you’ll need to see a traceroute from your computer to your domain in order to diagnose connection and other problems. To run a traceroute from your machine, follow the instructions below.

To run a traceroute to your domain from a Windows machine, open your Command Prompt (Start – cmd.exe), and type the command: tracert replacing with your domain name. The results will look something like this:

 Tracing route to []
 over a maximum of 30 hops:

   1  <1 ms  <1 ms  <1 ms  mynetworkserver []
   2 150 ms  16 ms  34 ms []
   3  61 ms  60 ms  66 ms []
   4 109 ms  60 ms  72 ms
   5 111 ms  50 ms  54 ms []
   6 145 ms  67 ms  52 ms
   7 106 ms 183 ms 191 ms []
   8 135 ms 105 ms 427 ms []
   9 116 ms 176 ms  94 ms []
  10 272 ms 158 ms 178 ms []
  11 213 ms 130 ms 114 ms []
  12  97 ms  79 ms 155 ms []
  13 103 ms 110 ms 128 ms  193.ATM7-0.XR1.CHI6.ALTER.NET []
  14 163 ms 165 ms 209 ms  191.ATM11-0-0.GW2.CHI6.ALTER.NET []
  15 285 ms 200 ms 174 ms []
  16 159 ms  67 ms  83 ms

 Trace complete.

Interpreting Traceroute Results

Traceroute is a tool that traces the route that packets travel across a network connection between two hosts. The route between your computer and your domain on our servers will vary from time to time as the network routers involved attempt to find the fastest and most reliable route.

The name (if available) and IP address of each gateway (router) is displayed, along with the round trip time (in milliseconds) for each of three trace packets to reach the specified gateway and return. These intervals may vary widely as a function of network load. Lost packets are indicated by an asterisk (*). There are several factors responsible for lost packets: Some gateways don’t return the appropriate message requested by traceroute. Some firewalls use packet filters which block packets used by traceroute. (If you are behind a firewall that blocks traceroute, the results show the route to your firewall, followed by a line of asterisks.) Finally, packets may be lost as a result of network congestion (heavy load). World Wide Web clients and servers normally recover automatically when a small percentage of packets are lost with no indication to the user except for slower response time.

What you want to look for in your traceroute results are any asterisks (*) or excessively high numbers in the time columns. “Excessively high” is a relative term, and depends in part upon your own Internet connection speed. For example, users connecting via a 28.8 dial up connection will tend to see higher round-trip times than cable-modem or DSL users. A general rule-of-thumb might be that times of under 350 ms are “normal”, times between 350 – 1000 ms are “moderately slow”, and any times over 1000 ms are “slow” and indicate a potential problem. Asterisks indicate that the router did not return a response at all. If a particular router did not return any times at all, then that’s a good indication of the source of your problem.

The first 2 or 3 “nodes” or “hops” represent your computer and your ISP’s server(s) and router(s). The last two nodes represent your domain and the server it resides on (which are the only two nodes that we have any control over.) All nodes in between represent “Internet backbone” routers. These routers are provided by independent companies (like AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.)

If the traceroute indicates that the problem may be at your domain or its server, you should contact support so that we can investigate the problem. If the problem appears to be at your ISP, you should contact their support department for assistance. If the problem appears to be somewhere in between, there’s really no one to contact, since the backbone providers do not support end users. On the other hand, they generally do an excellent job of monitoring issues on their network, probably knew about the problem long before you did, and are working hard to get it corrected.

Sending Traceroute Results

To copy the traceroute results from the Windows command prompt:

  1. Right-click your mouse and select “Mark”.
  2. Highlight the full text of the traceroute results by positioning your cursor at the beginning, holding down your left mouse button, and dragging the cursor to highlight the contents.
  3. Hit your Enter key to copy the results.

To paste the results in an e-mail or web-based form, just right-click and select “Paste”, or type CTRL-V.

Other Traceroute Options

If the command prompt option sounds like too much trouble, or if you’re using a Mac instead of a Windows machine, there are software programs available that make the process easier:

Windows Traceroute Software:

Mac Traceroute Software