A traceroute is a function which traces the path from one network to another. It allows us to diagnose the source of many problems.

Note: To be effective, the traceroute MUST be run during a time when you are experiencing the problem, from a computer that is experiencing the problem. A trace when you are able to connect, or one from another computer, is not helpful. Therefore, you should try to connect to your site again just before you run it. If the problem is no longer occurring, you will have to wait until the next time the problem occurs (if there is a next time) before running your traceroute.

This article includes instructions for WindowsMac and Linux. There is also brief information on how to read the traceroute results.

To run traceroute on Windows:

  1. Open the command prompt.
    • Go to Start > Run.
    • Type cmd and press the Enter key.
    • This will bring up a command prompt window. It has a line that looks like this:
      C:\Documents and Settings\yourname> _
      with a cursor blinking next to the > symbol.

  2. In the command prompt, type:
    tracert hostname
    where hostname is the name of the server connection you are testing. See the section Determining hostname below for help with the hostname.

  3. You may have to wait up to a minute or more for the test to complete. It will generate a list of the connections along the way and some information about the speed of the steps along the way.
  4. Send us the complete results (every line) for analysis. Select tracert results using your mouse cursor and right-click on it to copy into clipboard. You can now paste it into a document and send to Support.

If you have difficulty copying the traceroute information, or if it runs off the screen, you can type this command instead:
tracert hostname > C:\trace1.txt
This writes the command results to a text file named trace1.txt in the root of your C:\ drive. You can then open this file and paste the contents into your email message to Support.

To run traceroute on a Mac:

  1. Navigate to Go > Utilites.

  2. Locate Terminal.
  3. In Terminal, type: traceroute hostname

Hostname is the name of the server connection you are testing. See the section Determining hostname  below for help with the hostname.

  • You may have to wait up to a minute or more for the test to complete. It will generate a list of the connections along the way and some information about the speed of the steps along the way.
  • Send us the complete results (every line) for analysis.

To run traceroute on Linux:

  1. Open Command Line.
  2. In Command Line, type:
    tracert hostname
    where hostname is the name of the server connection you are testing. See the section Determining hostname below for help with the hostname.
  • You may have to wait up to a minute or more for the test to complete. It will generate a list of the connections along the way and some information about the speed of the steps along the way.
  • Send us the complete results (every line) for analysis.

Determining hostname:

Note: the hostname should be replaced with whatever site is not working for you.

  • If you are a Hosted Exchange email customer, you can use the hostname for the server specified in your email account settings for the email program you are using.
  • If you are having trouble accessing Intermedia's web site, the traceroute should be to the web site's URL address.
  • If you have been instructed by Support to conduct this test, we will tell you what hostname to test for.

Please also note that even if the problem seems to occur closer to Intermedia's end, it may actually be a problem at your ISP. This is why it is imperative that we see the entire traceroute ourselves.

Understanding traceroute results.

The traceroute hop consists of four tabs:

Number: This column is simply the number of the hop.

Round Trip Time (RTT): This value also called latency and displays the time (in milliseconds) which packet takes to get to a hop and back. 

Asterisk (*) under RTT means that the packet did not return. This does not necessarily mean packet loss as many Internet routers may intentionally discard ping commands.

Name: The fully qualified domain name (FQDN) of the system. Many times the FQDN may provide an indication of where the hop is physically located. Sometimes the FQDN can't be found and only IP address displayed. It is a common thing and also does not mean there is trouble with connectivity.

IP Address: The IP address associated with the Name.

Request timed out:

Request timed out means that the host you're pinging might be: down or unreachable behind a firewall that drops your ICMP echo request packets. Also. the command may be disabled for that network by the sysadmin.

If "Request timed out" appearing at the beginning (usually on hop 2) it can be ignored as it's a common hop.

"Request timed out" at the end of the traceroute may occur for several reasons.

  • The destination’s firewall or other security device is blocking the request. Request blocked by the destination's firewall or security device.
  • There could be a problem on the return path from the target system. 
  • There may be a connection problem at that destination.

In general, first hops are the network from where the traceroute initiated, middle hops are Internet services provider side, and the end is the destination point.