How to Read Ping Test Results

By Steven French

Ping is a computer program originally designed by Mike Muuss in 1983 to troubleshoot a network and its connections by sending packets of data to another computer and then measuring the time before a response is received. The process is known as "pinging" a computer. Since its inception, the ping command can now be used on any Windows, Mac or Linux computer. The results will often tell you a lot about the speed of the connection and help to troubleshoot problems.

Step 1

Type "ping" followed by a space and an IP address, such as 75.186.129.75, or a domain name, such as yahoo.com. Press "Enter." This will start the ping command and attempt to ping the remote server. The ping command should be typed into a terminal window on a Linux or Mac machine, or in a command window on a Windows machine. You can access a command window by clicking "Start" then "Run" and typing "cmd" into the box.

Step 2

Read the first line to view the server's host name. This will confirm that you are connected to the correct server. This is followed by the number of bytes that were sent to the server, usually 32 bytes.

Step 3

Read the following four lines to view the response time from the server. The bytes entry shows how many bytes of data were sent back, the time entry shows how many milliseconds the response took to return, and the TTL entry is the total routers the packet will travel through before stopping. If this section reads "Request timed out" the packets could not find the host, and there may be a connection problem.

Step 4

Read the "Ping statistics" section to see the total numbers for the ping process. The packets line lists the number of packets sent and received, and the number and percentage of packets that were lost. If there were any packets lost, there is likely a connection problem.

Step 5

Read the "Approximate round trip times" section to obtain a general idea of your connection speed. The higher the average time in milliseconds, the slower the connection to the server. Ping times to computers and servers on your local network will usually be much faster than those on the Internet.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use the IP address lookup in the resources section to convert any domain name, such as yahoo.com, to an IP address. If your computer can ping an IP address but not its domain name, there may be a problem with your DNS server settings.