The Online Ping tool lets you see if a specific location on a network is responding. You can provide either an IP address or a domain name.
Note: The tool does not support the use of IPv6 addresses.
Provide one of the following:
- A domain name
- An IPv4 address (eg, 192.168.1.1)
- A Base-10 IP address.
If you provide a Base-10 IP address, check the Convert Base-10 to IP box.
When to Use It
If you’re having issues with a domain name or IP address, the Online Ping tool can determine if the site is live and if it is having problems.
To help diagnose intermittent issues, we recommend running the tool several times (with tests separated by at least a few minutes).
What the Online Ping Tool Does
Online Ping sends a packet to the destination and waits for a response. The tool does this ten times. When done, the tool will present you with the round-trip time (in milliseconds) for each ping, as well as the overall average time.
If the destination is reachable, but the server doesn’t respond, you will receive a Timed Out response. If this is the case, you’ll notice that it will take slightly longer for the command to complete.
If you provide a non-existent domain name, the results can be unpredictable. You may get:
- An error message (eg, Couldn’t resolve host name)
- A Timed Out message
- A valid response, including a set of times, for a different server.
One common error code is 1214 (transmit failed) when pinging an unreachable or non-existent host.
You can perform a broadcast (multiple-IP address) ping (eg, 188.8.131.52), but the hosts covered are not required to respond. As such, you cannot rely on the responses to provide you with consistent, trustworthy information.
A Deeper Look
The Online Ping tool uses the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP), which is an integral part of the Internet Protocol (IP). As such, any functioning host on the internet should respond to the pings sent by the tool.
The tool sends an echo request packet to the host and listens for an echo reply packet. Per RFC 1122, “Requirements for Internet Hosts,” each host must send an echo reply when pinged.
However, this may not always be the case. Some firewalls block echo requests to prevent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, to reduce the visibility of the host, or even by mistake.
In general, a publicly-accessible server should always respond, whereas the firewalls on many other types of machines block pings by default. As such, the lack of a response doesn’t conclusively prove that a host is unavailable (though it may be unavailable to communicate with your machine).
Intermittent Responses and Errors
If a host occasionally responds while timing out in other circumstances, it may be utilizing a poor connection or be handling a high number of requests for which it lacks the resources to process efficiently.
Some hosts may accept requests from a limited range of IP Addresses (such as those originating in its own country) and may not respond to requests from the Online Ping tool.
Because the Online Ping tool runs using Network Tools’ infrastructure and not on your local machine, you cannot use it to test internal addresses on your local network. To check the availability of resources on your network, you will need a local ping tool.
The round-trip time presented to you by the Online Ping tool tells you how quickly Network Tools can connect to the host. It may not be a good indicator of how fast your local machine can connect to and communicate with the host. Furthermore, it might be possible for Network Tools to reach the host, while your computer might not be able to reach the host (or vice versa).
If you receive quick responses from the Online Ping tool, while pings from your local computer are problematic, it might indicate a local problem with either your connection or the way the host treats your location.
A host that responds to a ping is functioning and available, but this doesn’t provide you with any information about the services that are running on the server. For example, its web or email server might be down (or the host might not offer these services at all).
Sometimes, responses come directly from a router, so you get an answer even if the server behind it is unavailable.
Notes of Interest
The term ping originates with sonar echolocation on submarines. The sonar sends out a ping sound and measures the time it takes to get an echo. By knowing the speed of sound in water, the sonar can determine the distance to the object on which the sound waves bounced.
Most operating systems include some version of the ping command. Mike Muuss created the first version of the program offering this command at what is now the US Army Research Laboratory in 1983. It was inspired by Dave Mills’ Fuzzball program that measured path latency on the PDP-11.