How to Ping a Website

what to know

  • You can ping a website, computer, or network using Command Prompt on Windows or Terminal on a Mac.
  • Use the ping command on either platform to get the default response, or use optional parameters to get additional data.
  • Use the command ping /? to see the available ping parameters on Windows or man ping on Mac.

This article explains what a ping test is and how to perform it on Windows and Mac. You will also learn how to interpret the response and how to view a list of additional parameters that can be used in the ping command.

Simply put, a ping test is a way to check the connectivity and responsiveness of a website, computer, or network. Using the ping command, you send a message (request) to a destination and hope to receive a message (response) back for a successful test.

In this case, ping stands for Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper, and the ping command sends what is called an Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request packet to the destination to test the connection.

If the test is successful, you will receive an echo response, which we describe below.

If the test fails, you will receive a response like "Request timeout", which means the packet cannot find the host, or "Destination host unreachable", which means the destination cannot be found.

You can use specific ping tools for network troubleshooting. But to perform a simple ping test, you can use Command Prompt on Windows or Terminal on Mac, which only requires the website or IP address.

Open a command prompt on Windows or launch Terminal on a Mac and follow the steps below to ping the website.

Where the cursor is blinking, type ping, then type the website address. For example, to ping Lifewire, you would enter:




On Windows, the default number of requests sent is 4, but you may notice that responses continue to be generated on Mac.

To stop this on macOS, press Control + C . On Windows, press Ctrl + C.

To avoid continuous responses on Mac, or to specify a certain number of requests on either platform, add a parameter to the ping command.

On Windows, add -n [number] , on Mac, add -c [number] .

To use the example above and set requests to 5 on your Mac, you would enter the following:

ping -c 5

To perform a ping test on a computer or network, you will use the IP address instead of the URL in the command. Otherwise, it works just like pinging the website.

Type ping, followed by the IP address, and optionally set the number of requests. For example, you can ping IP address five times on Windows using the following command:

ping -n 5

You will see the response to the ping command on separate lines. Although similar, these responses differ slightly on Windows and Mac.

  • Reply or bytes from : Confirms the source of the response.
  • Bytes : Size of each ping request.
  • Icmp_seq : Sequence number of the packet (Mac).
  • Time : The amount of time (in milliseconds) between sending a request and receiving a response.
  • TTL (Time to Live): The number of routes a packet travels before reaching its destination.

As long as you receive a response that contains these items, your ping test is successful. You can see that you are connected to a destination and how quickly that destination responds to your requests, two of the most basic things to look for when testing connectivity and responsiveness.

To further your ping test and collect more data, you can add more parameters to the ping command.

In addition to -n and -c which limit requests, you can include other parameters in the ping command. Options include how long to wait between requests, packet size, how long to wait for a response, and more.

To view these options:

On Windows, enter the command ping /? .

On a Mac, enter the command man ping .

You will then see a list of parameters with descriptions to help you understand which parameters are required.