A lot of us hear the word ping used a lot in gaming and when we are having network issues, but what exactly is ping?
ping is a command line tool that is used to measure the round-trip time for messages sent from one computer to another. This is often used to test if there is a connection between your computer and a website.
Ping the specified host until stopped. To see statistics and continue – type Control-Break; To stop – type Control-C.
Resolve addresses to hostnames.
Number of echo requests to send.
Send buffer size.
Set Don’t Fragment flag in packet (IPv4-only).
Time to Live.
Record route for count hops (IPv4-only)
Timestamp for count hops (IPv4-only).
Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
Strict source route along host-list (IPv4-only).
Timeout in milliseconds to wait for each reply.
Source address to use.
Routing compartment identifier.
Ping a Hyper-V Network Virtualization provider address.
Force using IPv4.
Force using IPv6.
Adaptive ping. Interpacket interval adapts to round-trip time, so that effectively not more than one (or more, if preload is set) unanswered probes present in the network. Minimal interval is 200msec for not super-user. On networks with low rtt this mode is essentially equivalent to flood mode.
Allow pinging a broadcast address.
Do not allow ping to change source address of probes. The address is bound to one selected when ping starts.
Stop after sending count ECHO_REQUEST packets. With deadline option, ping waits for count ECHO_REPLY packets, until the timeout expires.
Set the SO_DEBUG option on the socket being used. Essentially, this socket option is not used by Linux kernel.
-F flow label
Allocate and set 20 bit flow label on echo request packets. (Only ping6). If value is zero, kernel allocates random flow label.
Flood ping. For every ECHO_REQUEST sent a period ”.” is printed, while for ever ECHO_REPLY received a backspace is printed. This provides a rapid display of how many packets are being dropped. If interval is not given, it sets interval to zero and outputs packets as fast as they come back or one hundred times per second, whichever is more. Only the super-user may use this option with zero interval.
Wait interval seconds between sending each packet. The default is to wait for one second between each packet normally, or not to wait in flood mode. Only super-user may set interval to values less 0.2 seconds.
-I interface address
Set source address to specified interface address. Argument may be numeric IP address or name of device. When pinging IPv6 link-local address this option is required.
If preload is specified, ping sends that many packets not waiting for reply. Only the super-user may select preload more than 3.
Suppress loopback of multicast packets. This flag only applies if the ping destination is a multicast address.
Numeric output only. No attempt will be made to lookup symbolic names for host addresses.
Set Quality of Service -related bits in ICMP datagrams. tos can be either decimal or hex number. Traditionally (RFC1349), these have been interpreted as: 0 for reserved (currently being redefined as congestion control), 1-4 for Type of Service and 5-7 for Precedence. Possible settings for Type of Service are: minimal cost: 0x02, reliability: 0x04, throughput: 0x08, low delay: 0x10. Multiple TOS bits should not be set simultaneously. Possible settings for special Precedence range from priority (0x20) to net control (0xe0). You must be root (CAP_NET_ADMIN capability) to use Critical or higher precedence value. You cannot set bit 0x01 (reserved) unless ECN has been enabled in the kernel. In RFC2474, these fields has been redefined as 8-bit Differentiated Services (DS), consisting of: bits 0-1 of separate data (ECN will be used, here), and bits 2-7 of Differentiated Services Codepoint (DSCP).
Quiet output. Nothing is displayed except the summary lines at startup time and when finished.
Record route. Includes the RECORD_ROUTE option in the ECHO_REQUEST packet and displays the route buffer on returned packets. Note that the IP header is only large enough for nine such routes. Many hosts ignore or discard this option.
Bypass the normal routing tables and send directly to a host on an attached interface. If the host is not on a directly-attached network, an error is returned. This option can be used to ping a local host through an interface that has no route through it provided the option -I is also used.
Specifies the number of data bytes to be sent. The default is 56, which translates into 64 ICMP data bytes when combined with the 8 bytes of ICMP header data.
Set socket sndbuf. If not specified, it is selected to buffer not more than one packet.
Set the IP Time to Live.
-T timestamp option
Set special IP timestamp options. timestamp option may be either tsonly (only timestamps), tsandaddr (timestamps and addresses) or tsprespec host1 [host2 [host3 [host4]]] (timestamp prespecified hops).
Select Path MTU Discovery strategy. hint may be either do (prohibit fragmentation, even local one), want (do PMTU discovery, fragment locally when packet size is large), or dont (do not set DF flag).
Print full user-to-user latency (the old behaviour). Normally ping prints network round trip time, which can be different f.e. due to DNS failures.
Show version and exit.
Specify a timeout, in seconds, before ping exits regardless of how many packets have been sent or received. In this case ping does not stop after count packet are sent, it waits either for deadline expire or until count probes are answered or for some error notification from network.
Time to wait for a response, in seconds. The option affects only timeout in absense of any responses, otherwise ping waits for two RTTs.
Note: Linux uses ping and ping6 to distinuish between IPv4 and IPv6
If you are having issues connecting to the internet many will try to test the issue by sending a ping request to a known working website. We will use google.com in this example.
If we run the command ping google.com we should get the following output:
Pinging google.com [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from 184.108.40.206: bytes=32 time=22ms TTL=53
Reply from 220.127.116.11: bytes=32 time=26ms TTL=53
Reply from 18.104.22.168: bytes=32 time=23ms TTL=53
Reply from 22.214.171.124: bytes=32 time=68ms TTL=53
Ping statistics for 126.96.36.199:
Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
Minimum = 22ms, Maximum = 68ms, Average = 34ms
If all our packets get replies then we have a good connection. If some of them are lost it could mean that there is some network interference preventing a stable connection. If all of them are lost then we are looking at three different possible issues:
The website is down.
You are not connected to the internet.
You are having DNS problems.
We can test number 3 by typing in the IP Address of the website you wish to ping. If you get no packets then the issue is not likely a DNS issue. If you receive your packets then we may be able to fix the issue by flushing our DNS Resolver Catch with ipconfig /flushdns. To learn more about ipconfig look at our article here.