What Does the Ping Command Do?


The Ping command is most often used to test an Internet connection. It sends packets of information to the destination host and measures the time it takes for the host to return the packets. The Ping command can also be used to test local-area network connections.


  • Computer technicians have been using the Ping command since 1983, when it was developed by Mike Muuss. He named the process after the sonar sound made by echo locators, such as those in submarines, since the information packets basically bounce off the host and back to the original computer.

Connectivity Problems

  • The Ping command is commonly used to test your Internet connection if you are having trouble navigating to a website or can't get online at all. If you type in a well-known website address, such as a search engine, after the Ping command, you will quickly receive notification on whether the test was successful -- whether the packets were successfully sent. If you can't ping any site, it's likely your Internet connection is not working. If you try other sites and only one isn't working, it's likely that site is having technical issues.

Long Load Time

  • If you are having problems with slow connection speeds, use the Ping command to see how long it takes the information packets to bounce of the slow site. This will help you determine how far away the other network host is. The closer the host, the more likely you are to have a fast connection. Trying to connect to a host in another country may require multiple router transfers, which will slow down that page's load time on your computer. Knowing if the host is far away will help you determine whether it's your computer that is slow and needs repair, or if it's the website.

IP Address

  • If you need the IP address of a website, you can send a Ping command to the website name. When the information packets return, the command prompt will display the host's IP address in addition to the packets' status.

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