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How to Run & Use Traceroute on macOS

Like many other utility apps on MacBooks and iMacs, traceroute is comes built-in on your Mac and it’s designed to diagnose connectivity issues. It is more of a diagnostic tool than a general app. Traceroute can be a valuable tool for many Mac users although it is not Mac specific. Users can expect to use Traceroute to analyze how poor network connectivity is and what path traffic Macs use to get to a website.

This is also an educational tool to watch the magic of the internet and how your computer utilizes specific codes and commands to get to the website you see on your screen.


Traceroute is not designed to provide specific details such as network interfaces. This requires more research. The only details Traceroute provides is a hostname or an IP address.


How to Open Traceroute on Through Network Utility

You can do these one of two ways. The first way is to open it through the Network Utility app, which every Mac computer comes with. The shortcut to Network Utility is:




You can either follow the steps on your Mac that are listed in this shortcut, or you can open Finder, click Go, click Go to Folder, enter the shortcut, click Go, and then click on Network Utility. From here, there will be several tabs you can click on. Click on the one that says Traceroute.

Once you’re here, type in the address of any website you need to check the network connection of.


How to Open Traceroute through Terminal


The other way to open Traceroute is through the Terminal app on every Mac. To do this click on Finder, then click Applications, then click Utilities, and finally click Terminal. Terminal requires very specific commands to do what you want. When you finally get to this app, type the command:


traceroute hostname

Hostname is a place holder for any server or website you want to check the connection of. You can put any website or server name here.


This process may take some time, so remember that patience is a virtue. Also remember that the * character means “request timed out.” Just continue remembering that patience is a virtue when you see this and keep waiting.


While everything else about a Mac, or any Apple product, is fast and is able to give you whatever you want in the blink of an eye, traceroute is one of the only slow aspects of Apple. That’s because it relies on ICMP messaging which naturally produces a delay. It was designed on a “slow path” rather than the typical “fast path” that Apple products are known for.


Note that Traceroute lacks historical information, meaning that it will only show you the connectivity status of one day, not of past days. For example, if Traceroute shows that a website doesn’t connect successfully one day but it did the previous day, it will not show you which traffic route it took to connect successfully the day before.

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