Finding Network Issues with a Traceroute

In the event a client is having connection issues with their services we may ask for a Traceroute (or tracert). This article explains how a Traceroute works and the steps for running a Traceroute on Mac and Windows.

Mac OS X
  1. ​​Launch Network Utility. You can do this through Spotlight by typing ‘Network Utility’ and then opening the utility.
  2. Click the Traceroute tab.
  3. Enter the domain name or IP address and click “Trace”.
  4. Select and copy the results. You can also right select copy or use COMMAND+C.
  5. Paste the results into your open case or email with us.
  1. Press the Windows Button + R to bring up the Run window. Type ‘cmd’ and click OK or hit enter.
  2. When the Command Prompt window opens, type in the following (replace with your domain or IP)
  3. Wait until you see “Trace complete”.
  4. Left click and drag to highlight the results of the traceroute.
  5. When the results are selected hit Enter. The results are now copied to your clipboard.
  6. Paste (CTRL + V) the results into your case or email and send us the results.
How a Traceroute works

When you access a website such as the traffic takes a path through multiple points or “hops” before reaching its final destination. The traffic starts at your local router, moves through your ISP, then through other larger networks until reaching the website you have requested.

Running a Traceroute shows us the path traffic takes to reach a website. It also shows us any delays that occur during each “hop”. If you’re having issues connecting to a website on your server, we may request a Traceroute from you to help locate the issue between your connection and your server.

Understanding the Output

The first “hop” represents your home or business router. The second “hop” is your ISP and each “hop” after represents a router along the way to reaching your website.

Hop, RTT1, RTT2, RTT3, Domain Name [IP Address]
  • Hop – Whenever a packet is passed through a router, this is referred to as a “hop”.
  • RTT1, RTT2, RTT3 – This is called the “round-trip-time”. RTT is the amount of time it takes a packet to reach a “hop” and then back to your computer. This is measured in milliseconds and is often referred to as latency. A Traceroute will send three packets to each hop and return the time each packet takes.
  • Domain Name [IP Address] – This is the domain, if it is available, of each “hop” to a router. If the domain isn’t available then the IP address will only be displayed.