When you access a website, data travels to and from the site via several servers, or nodes. A bottleneck at any of these nodes can significantly reduce transfer speeds. To test a connection, you could use a browser to connect to the site, but this doesn't give you quantifiable results. The ping command does just that. It sends packets of data to a site and tells you exactly how long the packet took to travel full circle. The ping command is useful for testing website availability without the influence of browser protocols, but it also helps flag slow connections to a site.
Click "Start | All Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt" to open the Windows Command Prompt.
Type "ping" followed by the domain or IP address and press "Enter" to test the connection. This command will sent four packets of data to the site by default. As an example, enter "ping radioshack.com" or "ping 188.8.131.52" to test the ping time to Radio Shack. The results display individual packet time, packet loss and average times.
Use qualifiers with the ping command for more precise control. Adding "-t" after the ping command will keep sending packets until you press "Ctrl-C." Adding "-n ##" will sent the specified number of test packets. Adding "-l SIZE" will make the ping command use the specified number of bytes, rather than the default 32 bytes. As an example, type "ping -n 8 -l 64 radioshack.com" will send eight 64-byte packets. Using the code "ping -l 64 -t radioshack.com" will continuously send 64-byte packets until you press "Ctrl-C," at which time it will present its results.
Type "exit" and press "Enter" to exit the Command Prompt.
- The ping command is useable on Mac computers as well through the Terminal. The difference is "ping radioshack.com" continuously sends packets until you press "Ctrl-C." To specify a specific number of packets, use "-c ##." As an example, "ping -c 10 184.108.40.206" sends 10 packets to Radio Shack's IP address.
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