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What is a Traceroute?

Common questions:

  • How many network hops to resolve this domain?
  • How is this system connected to the Internet?

A traceroute gives you a detailed log of all the network hops between your users and your target system. Traceroutes show you each sequential hop and the RTT (round trip time) for each successful hop. You can use traceroutes to quickly identify the source(s) of latency. 

Try It Yourself

You can use the hyperlink above and use our web based tool or if you have the Sonar Lite extension for Google Chrome then select 'Tools' to pull up the traceroute function. 

How It Works

Traceroutes are used to track transit delays of packets across a network. Rather than a ping which tells you the total RTT between a user and a system.

A traceroute will fail if two of the three packets sent are lost. This likely means that there is a faulty configuration somewhere.

Example

Here, we have a simple traceroute for a website that goes from my computer to my ISP, to the CDN, and finally the web server for that website.

You’ll notice there is a really long wait between the third and second to last hop. I would want to find out what that IP is for (most likely my CDN) and find out why there is so much latency.

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