Which Port Is Standard for Ping?

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If you're accustomed to working with different computer systems to send data across the internet, you might be used to thinking in terms of internet ports. These are essentially numbers assigned to different types of data sent on the internet, from World Wide Web data to Windows file transfer to various email systems. One common internet service that doesn't use ports at all is the ping service, which is used to check if computers and connections are working properly.

What Port Does Ping Use?

When you send messages across the internet, they're normally routed using what's called the internet protocol (IP). That's a standard way for computers to talk to one another to pass messages from machine to machine to get where they're going. Probably the best-known aspect of IP is the IP address, a numerical address similar to a phone number that's used to route internet messages to a particular machine.

Most internet traffic, including email and World Wide Web data, uses a second protocol on top of IP called the transmission control protocol (TCP). This combination is referred to as TCP/IP, and it enables two computers to establish a connection and verify that data is being received. Some applications that rely on sending data quickly, such as some video and audio streaming applications, use an alternative, simpler protocol called the user datagram protocol (UDP) on top of IP.

Both TCP and UDP use what are called port numbers to indicate how messages should be routed to different software running on the same computer. Essentially, each program and task is assigned its own port number, with certain ports typically used for certain services. For example, web servers typically receive requests on port 80, and email servers using the simple mail transfer protocol listen to port 25 for incoming messages.

A third protocol on top of IP is the internet control message protocol (ICMP). It is often used to diagnose connection issues, including by a program called ping that requests a computer respond if it receives an ICMP message. ICMP doesn't use port numbers, so there is no port for ping.

Some people may use the phrase "ping a port" informally meaning to open a TCP connection to that port and see if a response is received, but practically speaking, there is no ping port.

Ping and Firewalls

Typically, when configuring firewall hardware or software to allow or disallow certain types of internet traffic, you specify a port number used by the application in question. With ping, this is impossible, since there is no ping port number to indicate.

However, many firewalls have a separate section of the configuration options where you can allow or disallow ICMP traffic. Check your firewall's documentation if you need to see how to allow or disallow pings.

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