From Lunarpages Web Hosting Wiki

Traceroutes have a few purposes the main ones are:

  • Tracking the path of the request which provides information on how your request to visit a website is being routed through the world to get there and the name of the destination.
  • Troubleshooting connectivity issues such as latency and timeouts when trying to visit a website.
  • You also can check to see if your domain that you have purchased is going to the right host as well.
  • One other beneficial purpose is also you can tell when your domain propagates when it resolves to the host you bought a plan from.

How Can You Perform a Traceroute?

Windows Info:

1. Go to Start > Run...
2. Enter cmd and click OK.
3. At the prompt, type tracert yourdomainname and hit enter.
Note: Some people are often confused by how to copy and paste from the cmd prompt (that black window your looking at). The best way to go about this is to right click on the window (anywhere in the black part) and select "Select All". Then to copy, hit the Ctrl + C keys on your keyboard. Then you can right click with your mouse, and select paste to paste it into your text file you are saving this information to.

Mac Info:

1. Double-click the Hard Drive icon > Applications folder > Utilities folder > Network Utility program.
2. Select the trace route tab and enter the hostname, where hostname can be a domain name, a machine name or an IP address.

What is Inside a Traceroute?

The biggest issue with traceroutes is understanding the timing of one. Timeouts in a traceroute can be that the packets sent out are being dumped so they timeout at that hop. So, not always is a timeout in the traceroute resulting in issues with your connection provider. Some connection providers even block traceroutes and it will only resolve when it hits the server.

A hop in a traceroute is each location the packets reach. There can be several hops in a traceroute before it reaches the requested website.

To determine if a timeout in a hop is an issue, if you perform a traceroute and you get halfway then it times out then it is likely your connection provider’s network is having issues which you should call them and advise them on the issue.

If, only certain hops on the way time out but reach the website you are tracing to then this can be simply that hop is dumping the packets sent for the test.

Here is an example situation...

In regards to time of a hop let's say a user has a computer in their room hooked up to a modem the cable that hook the computer to the modem is either 5 to 6 feet in length. Then it should take no more than 1 to 2 ms to travel from your computer to the modem. So, you can also create a simple formula from this as well. If, it takes 1 to 2 ms to pass through a 5 to 6 feet cable then you can pretty much judge the distance and time taken place when watching the times on the hop. For instance I have on the first hop (computer to modem) 1 ms using a 6 foot cable. So, the next hop reaches in 20 to 30ms. Then you can get a close idea that using the equation 6 feet travels in 1 ms and then if the next hop is 20 ms then I could say 6 multiplied by 20 will tell me the length of the next hop within an approximate idea, only certain equipment can tell you the exact distance.

Since you are seeing that distance and time are relative, then we can assume that the further away a website is located the longer it is going to take to get there. You can have less hops and have a much high broadband such as T1 and so on to have quicker response times but this example it for based on regular broad band.

Now, with this said, people who are great distances away or even overseas have higher times. This is due to as mentioned that distance and time is relative to speed. The Internet is no exception to this as it works the same. If, you have less hops you have quicker times as this reduces time per each router or switch to process your request to be routed to a specific website you want to visit. Overseas visitors are going to have very nice timing until they reach the United States, once traveling overseas you will see a significant jump in time. This can vary from 10 to 30ms depending on how your connection provider has routed you. Then you will see 5 to 15ms increases per each hop until you reach the requested website or presence.

So, the purpose of the is information is to show how that even when we want to get some where outside the internet and in a hurry distance and time is relative to speed, this is the same as when it comes to the internet. No matter what form of transmission used, copper lines, fiber optic, cellular all of these are affected the same. Including the times it takes to process the information on each hop.

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