If you are a Windows user and you want to trace the route from your computer to a specific target, the easiest option is to use the tracert command. With just a simple text command, you will see the hops.
What is the Tracert command?
The Tracert command is a Windows command with CLI that you can access through the Command Prompt, or if you prefer the PowerShell too, and use it to trace the route to a target. You will see statistics about each hop that show the response time (it sents 3 packets), IP addresses of the hops, and their hostnames.
The targets can be hostnames or IP addresses.
Use the tracert command to see how much time it takes to reach a target, through where exactly does the query goes if some of the hops take too much time to respond. Later, you can focus your attention on the spots that responded slowly and see if you can improve anything.
What makes the tracert great is that it is already on your computer, and it is very simple to use. After this article, you will learn how to use it for your needs.
How to use the Tracert command?
If you are using Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, or even Windows Vista, you can use the tracert command through the Command Prompt or the PowerShell. Choose the one you like. You will get the same functionality.
You can use the following tracert syntax to see better how to for your queries:
tracert [-d] [-h maximum_hops] [-j host-list] [-w timeout] [-R] [-S srcaddr] [-4] [-6] target_name
You can use additional options to specify the tracert command. Add them after the “tracert” in the command, separated with a single space. After the option, leave one space and put the target (hostname or IP address).
See the examples below and try the tracert command yourself. In our examples, we are using Google.com, but you can change it to your domain or your site’s IP address and see the results.
Tracert command options and examples
Don’t show the hostnames.
tracert -d google.com
You will see each hop’s IP addresses and time for the response, but no names.
Change the maximum hops for the query.
tracert -h 45 google.com
You can set a number that you like. The default is 30, but if you want to check a very far away target, you can set it at 45, like in the example of tracert above.
Loose source route along host-list (IPv4-only)
tracert -j google.com
This command will show only IPv4 addresses.
Set the maximum time for waiting for a response.
tracert -w 125 google.com
tracert -R google.com
In some cases, you would like to use the tracert command to check the route back, not only going forward. You want to see if there is any strange host, which was not there, in a normal query.
Source addresses IPv6-only.
tracert -S google.com
Set only IPv4 addresses.
tracert -4 google.com
That way, you will see only the IPv4 addresses of the hosts through the route.
Set only IPv6 addresses.
tracert -6 google.com
That way, you will see only the IPv6 addresses of the hosts through the route.
The tracert command is a small software that you already have on your computer and can serve you to trace the route of a query to a target. The best part is that it is included in Windows by default, so it will always be there when you need it.