A simple way to test your internet connection is to ping Google.com – the Ping network command is built into all versions of Windows.
This command tests whether you can reach a particular website – it also measures the round trip time to receive a reply from that website.
Ping is an ideal way to check if your actual internet connection is faulty – if you have problems web browsing it may be an issue with your web browser, not your broadband connection…
When reporting a fault to your broadband provider, you may be asked to ping Google to test if you have internet access – so it helps to know how to do it.
The Ping command is run from a Command Prompt window – to open it:
XP – Click ‘Start’ then ‘Run’ and type CMD into the ‘Open:’ text box then press ‘OK’ to open a Command Prompt window.
Windows 10, 8, 7 and Vista – Click the Start button (not required in W10) and type CMD into the ‘Search’ text box then click on the cmd.exe or ‘Command Prompt’ program/desktop app at the top of the search results to open a Command Prompt window.
- Type ping www.google.com then press Enter to ping Google (you can ping any other website in the same way). Note that you can use either www.google.com or google.com
After a few moments you should see some responses, similar to this:
What Do The Ping Test Results Mean?
The ping command sends 4 small ‘packets’ of data to Google – each packet asks Google to send it back if they received it ok. We can see in our example that all 4 requests did reach Google successfully because we got 4 Replies – so we know our internet connection is working.
This is summarized at the bottom of the results: 4 packets Sent, 4 Received, 0 Lost (0% loss) i.e. no packets lost in transit.
The test also shows how long it took for each packet to reach Google and get a Reply back. The ‘time=’ value next to each reply is measured in ms (milliseconds) and lower numbers are better (quicker).
This is summarized at the bottom of the results: Minimum = 23ms, Maximum=24ms, Average=23ms
The ’round trip’ reply time is often called ‘lag’ and is particularly important for gamers (when super-quick responses can be beneficial).
A time of 20ms to 60ms is very quick (good broadband), over 250ms is slow (typical of satellite internet) and over 1000ms is very slow – not suitable for gaming but common with slow mobile broadband.
Ping Google.com Continuously
Instead of pinging just once (which sends 4 requests to the website), you can run a continuous ping by simply adding a space followed by -t to the end of the original command:
- type ping www.google.com -t then press Enter
This command will send continuous ping requests (not just 4) so you should receive a constant stream of Replies that scroll down the window – this is very useful for testing if your internet connection is intermittently faulty:
Keep an eye out for error messages and also check that the ‘time’ in ms stays fairly consistent (it should do if your internet connection is good).
- Press CTRL and C when you want to stop the continuous pings
Tip: it is not nice to constantly ping a website for hours as it uses up a tiny bit of the website’s resources. We used Google in our examples because they are so big that your pings won’t matter, but they might do to a small website.
Common Ping Test Error Messages
Because 4 requests are sent to the website, you may see these error messages repeated up to 4 times – once for each request.
- “Request timed out” – either your network/internet connection is faulty or the website you pinged is itself having problems
Try pinging a few other sites to test if the problem is with that specific website or with your network/internet connection.
- “Ping request could not find host www.google.com … etc” – either your network/internet connection is faulty or you pinged an incorrect website name or there is a DNS fault (see next section below)
Check spelling or try another website e.g. ping www.yahoo.com
Ping An IP Address
It is also possible to ping an IP address, rather than a website name – this is a good way to rule out a DNS (Domain Name System) fault.
Choose either of Google’s Public DNS servers – 126.96.36.199 or 188.8.131.52 as they are the most likely to be constantly available. In the Command Prompt window:
- Type ping 184.108.40.206 then press Enter to ping the Public DNS server
If you still get an error then there is not a DNS fault and you have no internet access – most likely your network/internet connection is faulty. Try to reset Windows internet settings to fix any network configuration errors.
Ping is a useful first step in troubleshooting possible ‘internet’ issues – if you receive replies with no errors from a range of websites then you know that your internet connection itself is working ok.
If so, any issues with web browsing are more likely to be due to a faulty web browser (try a different one) or perhaps a firewall issue (temporarily disable it).