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Trace the route of communication across the Internet.

To Open

Command Prompt tracert


tracert [-d] [-h max_hops] [-j list] [-w timeout] target


The Internet is a decentralized interconnection of computers. This means that there is rarely, if ever, a direct connection between two computers on the Internet. Instead, information is transferred across several, if not dozens, of computers to make it from one place to another. The further the geographical distance between two machines, the greater the likelihood that there will be more hubs and other intermediate computers along the way. Tracert is used to list all the computers encountered on the journey from one computer to another.

Type the following at a command prompt (while connected to the Internet) to trace the route from your computer to microsoft.com:

tracert microsoft.com

Tracert accepts the following options:


The name or IP address of the computer to contact.


If you specify an IP address, Tracert will attempt to resolve the host name (using NSLookup). Include the -d option to skip this step.

-h max_hops

Specifies the maximum number of "hops" (servers along the route) to display before giving up; the default is 30 hops.

-j list

Loosely imposes a route to follow, where list is a list of hosts.

-w timeout

Sets the amount of time to wait (in milliseconds) for each reply.


Tracert has many uses, but probably the most valuable on a day-to-day basis is for troubleshooting. For example, if you are trying to contact a web server, email server, or any other machine on the Internet, and it does not appear to be responding, you can perform a Tracert to see if it is the fault of the actual machine or one of the hosts along the way. If it turns out to be one of the hosts along the way, your network administrator or Internet service provider may be able to use your Tracert report to help solve the problem.

See Also

NSLookup, Ping

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