Tracking down network problems with ‘traceroute’ on Mac, Linux and Windows

Traceroute is a handy tool to find out where exactly a request to a specific domain or IP address fails, especially in a system where there are multiple nodes and possible points of failure involved.

Here are instructions on how to perform a traceroute check on different operating systems:

Mac OS

Mac OS is a UNIX-based operating system such as Linux. This means that you can perform a traceroute check exactly as in Linux traceroute -I domain.com executed in a terminal window.

The other option is to go to the Applications folder > Utilities > Network Utility > Traceroute. Type the domain or IP address in the field under “Please enter the network address to trace an internet route to” and click Trace.

Linux

Open a terminal window and type traceroute -I domain.com. The -I option is necessary so that the traceroute uses ICMP. You can also use traceroute with an IP, i.e. traceroute -I 127.0.0.1

Windows

  1. Open Start menu
  2. Click Run
  3. Type cmd and press enter
  4. In the command prompt type tracert domain.com and press enter

This will provide traceroute results from your computer to domain.com. You can also use tracert with an IP, i.e. tracert 127.0.0.1.