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How to Use Ping to Check Internet Availability

Something leads you to believe that the Internet is not “up”. Although the problem may not be something you can fix, it’s something you can check by using the ping command.

Ping stands for packet Internet groper. The program sends a chunk of information (the packet) to a network address. The computer at that address echoes the packet back. The ping command then reports information about the packet sent and received, such as the total length of time taken by the round trip.

You can use ping to confirm that a specific domain or IP address on the Internet is up and available. Follow these steps:

  1. From the Start menu, choose All Programs→Accessories→Command Prompt.

    A command prompt window appears.

  2. Type ping wambooli.com and press the Enter key.

    The word ping is followed by a space and then the name of a server or an IP address. In this example, wambooli.com. In practice, you can use the name of any domain or server on the Internet, such as yahoo.com, google.com, or microsoft.com.

  3. Type exit to close the command prompt window.

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When the ping command is successful, the Internet is up. Specifically, it means that the domain or IP address you typed is accessible. The information displayed indicates a successful, round-trip ping adventure.

When ping isn’t successful, it can mean any number of things.

When you see the response Destination host unreachable, the website or domain isn’t available, or “up,” on the Internet. That message may also mean that the Internet isn’t available. So, despite your having an Internet connection, something else that’s out there on the Internet is preventing you from accessing information.

The message Request Timed Out means that the host is out there but cannot be reached. It’s probably busy, although the message may also indicate that some or all of the Internet isn’t available.

In all cases, there’s really nothing you can do; the ping command merely confirms whether the Internet is reachable. When ping reports that something isn’t available, you can just sit and wait, knowing that the problem isn’t related to your equipment.

  • The IP address for most — but not all — routers is 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1. Try pinging them to ensure that your router isn’t having the issue.

  • Just because the ping command is successful doesn’t mean that a website is available. The web server on a domain might be down or busy, in which case ping reports that everything is fine even though your web browser is still unable to view the site. My advice is to try again later.

  • Another reason that ping may not work is that the router or the firewall (or both) is configured to deny all ping requests, both incoming and outgoing.

  • There’s a condition when ping sometimes falsely reports that a website that isn’t available appears to be available. Some ISPs redirect bad domain requests to a special search page. So rather than see an unknown web page message in a w browser or a Destination host unreachable message from the ping command, you see the ISP’s redirection page instead.

  • The term ping is often used as a noun in online computer gaming. It refers to the speed at which a remote server makes a connection. High pings are bad, indicating a slow connection (or long-distance connection). Low pings are best.

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