TRACEROUTE(1) Traceroute For Linux TRACEROUTE(1)
traceroute - print the route packets trace to network host
traceroute [-46dFITUnreAV] [-f first_ttl] [-g gate,...]
[-i device] [-m max_ttl] [-p port] [-s src_addr]
[-q nqueries] [-N squeries] [-t tos]
[-l flow_label] [-w waittimes] [-z sendwait] [-UL] [-D]
[-P proto] [--sport=port] [-M method] [-O mod_options]
traceroute tracks the route packets taken from an IP network on their
way to a given host. It utilizes the IP protocol's time to live (TTL)
field and attempts to elicit an ICMP TIME_EXCEEDED response from each
gateway along the path to the host.
traceroute6 is equivalent to traceroute -6
tcptraceroute is equivalent to traceroute -T
lft , the Layer Four Traceroute, performs a TCP traceroute, like
traceroute -T , but attempts to provide compatibility with the original
such implementation, also called "lft".
The only required parameter is the name or IP address of the destina-
tion host . The optional packet_len`gth is the total size of the prob-
ing packet (default 60 bytes for IPv4 and 80 for IPv6). The specified
size can be ignored in some situations or increased up to a minimal
This program attempts to trace the route an IP packet would follow to
some internet host by launching probe packets with a small ttl (time to
live) then listening for an ICMP "time exceeded" reply from a gateway.
We start our probes with a ttl of one and increase by one until we get
an ICMP "port unreachable" (or TCP reset), which means we got to the
"host", or hit a max (which defaults to 30 hops). Three probes (by de-
fault) are sent at each ttl setting and a line is printed showing the
ttl, address of the gateway and round trip time of each probe. The ad-
dress can be followed by additional information when requested. If the
probe answers come from different gateways, the address of each re-
sponding system will be printed. If there is no response within a cer-
tain timeout, an "*" (asterisk) is printed for that probe.
After the trip time, some additional annotation can be printed: !H, !N,
or !P (host, network or protocol unreachable), !S (source route
failed), !F (fragmentation needed), !X (communication administratively
prohibited), !V (host precedence violation), !C (precedence cutoff in
effect), or !<num> (ICMP unreachable code <num>). If almost all the
probes result in some kind of unreachable, traceroute will give up and
We don't want the destination host to process the UDP probe packets, so
the destination port is set to an unlikely value (you can change it
with the -p flag). There is no such a problem for ICMP or TCP tracer-
outing (for TCP we use half-open technique, which prevents our probes
to be seen by applications on the destination host).
In the modern network environment the traditional traceroute methods
can not be always applicable, because of widespread use of firewalls.
Such firewalls filter the "unlikely" UDP ports, or even ICMP echoes.
To solve this, some additional tracerouting methods are implemented
(including tcp), see LIST OF AVAILABLE METHODS below. Such methods try
to use particular protocol and source/destination port, in order to by-
pass firewalls (to be seen by firewalls just as a start of allowed type
of a network session).
--help Print help info and exit.
-4, -6 Explicitly force IPv4 or IPv6 tracerouting. By default, the pro-
gram will try to resolve the name given, and choose the appro-
priate protocol automatically. If resolving a host name returns
both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, traceroute will use IPv4.
Use ICMP ECHO for probes
Use TCP SYN for probes
Enable socket level debugging (when the Linux kernel supports
Do not fragment probe packets. (For IPv4 it also sets DF bit,
which tells intermediate routers not to fragment remotely as
Varying the size of the probing packet by the packet_len command
line parameter, you can manually obtain information about the
MTU of individual network hops. The --mtu option (see below)
tries to do this automatically.
Note, that non-fragmented features (like -F or --mtu) work prop-
erly since the Linux kernel 2.6.22 only. Before that version,
IPv6 was always fragmented, IPv4 could use the once the discov-
ered final mtu only (from the route cache), which can be less
than the actual mtu of a device.
-f first_ttl, --first=first_ttl
Specifies with what TTL to start. Defaults to 1.
-g gateway, --gateway=gateway
Tells traceroute to add an IP source routing option to the out-
going packet that tells the network to route the packet through
the specified gateway (most routers have disabled source routing
for security reasons). In general, several gateway's is allowed
(comma separated). For IPv6, the form of num,addr,addr... is
allowed, where num is a route header type (default is type 2).
Note the type 0 route header is now deprecated (rfc5095).
-i interface, --interface=interface
Specifies the interface through which traceroute should send
packets. By default, the interface is selected according to the
-m max_ttl, --max-hops=max_ttl
Specifies the maximum number of hops (max time-to-live value)
traceroute will probe. The default is 30.
-N squeries, --sim-queries=squeries
Specifies the number of probe packets sent out simultaneously.
Sending several probes concurrently can speed up traceroute con-
siderably. The default value is 16.
Note that some routers and hosts can use ICMP rate throttling.
In such a situation specifying too large number can lead to loss
of some responses.
-n Do not try to map IP addresses to host names when displaying
-p port, --port=port
For UDP tracing, specifies the destination port base traceroute
will use (the destination port number will be incremented by
For ICMP tracing, specifies the initial ICMP sequence value (in-
cremented by each probe too).
For TCP and others specifies just the (constant) destination
port to connect. When using the tcptraceroute wrapper, -p speci-
fies the source port.
-t tos, --tos=tos
For IPv4, set the Type of Service (TOS) and Precedence value.
Useful values are 16 (low delay) and 8 (high throughput). Note
that in order to use some TOS precedence values, you have to be
For IPv6, set the Traffic Control value.
-l flow_label, --flowlabel=flow_label
Use specified flow_label for IPv6 packets.
-w max[,here,near], --wait=max[,here,near]
Determines how long to wait for a response to a probe.
There are three (in general) float values separated by a comma
(or a slash). Max specifies the maximum time (in seconds, de-
fault 5.0) to wait, in any case.
Traditional traceroute implementation always waited whole max
seconds for any probe. But if we already have some replies from
the same hop, or even from some next hop, we can use the round
trip time of such a reply as a hint to determine the actual rea-
sonable amount of time to wait.
The optional here (default 3.0) specifies a factor to multiply
the round trip time of an already received response from the
same hop. The resulting value is used as a timeout for the
probe, instead of (but no more than) max. The optional near
(default 10.0) specifies a similar factor for a response from
some next hop. (The time of the first found result is used in
First, we look for the same hop (of the probe which will be
printed first from now). If nothing found, then look for some
next hop. If nothing found, use max. If here and/or near have
zero values, the corresponding computation is skipped.
Here and near are always set to zero if only max is specified
(for compatibility with previous versions).
-q nqueries, --queries=nqueries
Sets the number of probe packets per hop. The default is 3.
-r Bypass the normal routing tables and send directly to a host on
an attached network. If the host is not on a directly-attached
network, an error is returned. This option can be used to ping
a local host through an interface that has no route through it.
-s source_addr, --source=source_addr
Chooses an alternative source address. Note that you must select
the address of one of the interfaces. By default, the address
of the outgoing interface is used.
-z sendwait, --sendwait=sendwait
Minimal time interval between probes (default 0). If the value
is more than 10, then it specifies a number in milliseconds,
else it is a number of seconds (float point values allowed too).
Useful when some routers use rate-limit for ICMP messages.
Show ICMP extensions (rfc4884). The general form is CLASS/TYPE:
followed by a hexadecimal dump. The MPLS (rfc4950) is shown
parsed, in a form: MPLS:L=label,E=exp_use,S=stack_bottom,T=TTL
(more objects separated by / ).
Perform AS path lookups in routing registries and print results
directly after the corresponding addresses.
Print the version and exit.
There are additional options intended for advanced usage (such as al-
ternate trace methods etc.):
Chooses the source port to use. Implies -N 1 -w 5 . Normally
source ports (if applicable) are chosen by the system.
Set the firewall mark for outgoing packets (since the Linux ker-
-M method, --module=name
Use specified method for traceroute operations. Default tradi-
tional udp method has name default, icmp (-I) and tcp (-T) have
names icmp and tcp respectively.
Method-specific options can be passed by -O . Most methods have
their simple shortcuts, (-I means -M icmp, etc).
-O option, --options=options
Specifies some method-specific option. Several options are sepa-
rated by comma (or use several -O on cmdline). Each method may
have its own specific options, or many not have them at all. To
print information about available options, use -O help.
Use UDP to particular destination port for tracerouting (instead
of increasing the port per each probe). Default port is 53
-UL Use UDPLITE for tracerouting (default port is 53).
Use DCCP Requests for probes.
-P protocol, --protocol=protocol
Use raw packet of specified protocol for tracerouting. Default
protocol is 253 (rfc3692).
--mtu Discover MTU along the path being traced. Implies -F -N 1. New
mtu is printed once in a form of F=NUM at the first probe of a
hop which requires such mtu to be reached. (Actually, the corre-
spond "frag needed" icmp message normally is sent by the previ-
Note, that some routers might cache once the seen information on
a fragmentation. Thus you can receive the final mtu from a
closer hop. Try to specify an unusual tos by -t , this can help
for one attempt (then it can be cached there as well).
See -F option for more info.
--back Print the number of backward hops when it seems different with
the forward direction. This number is guessed in assumption that
remote hops send reply packets with initial ttl set to either
64, or 128 or 255 (which seems a common practice). It is printed
as a negate value in a form of '-NUM' .
LIST OF AVAILABLE METHODS
In general, a particular traceroute method may have to be chosen by
-M name, but most of the methods have their simple cmdline switches
(you can see them after the method name, if present).
The traditional, ancient method of tracerouting. Used by default.
Probe packets are udp datagrams with so-called "unlikely" destination
ports. The "unlikely" port of the first probe is 33434, then for each
next probe it is incremented by one. Since the ports are expected to be
unused, the destination host normally returns "icmp unreach port" as a
final response. (Nobody knows what happens when some application lis-
tens for such ports, though).
This method is allowed for unprivileged users.
Most usual method for now, which uses icmp echo packets for probes.
If you can ping(8) the destination host, icmp tracerouting is applica-
ble as well.
This method may be allowed for unprivileged users since the kernel 3.0
(IPv4, for IPv6 since 3.11), which supports new dgram icmp (or "ping")
sockets. To allow such sockets, sysadmin should provide
net/ipv4/ping_group_range sysctl range to match any group of the user.
raw Use only raw sockets (the traditional way).
This way is tried first by default (for compatibility reasons),
then new dgram icmp sockets as fallback.
dgram Use only dgram icmp sockets.
Well-known modern method, intended to bypass firewalls.
Uses the constant destination port (default is 80, http).
If some filters are present in the network path, then most probably any
"unlikely" udp ports (as for default method) or even icmp echoes (as
for icmp) are filtered, and whole tracerouting will just stop at such a
firewall. To bypass a network filter, we have to use only allowed pro-
tocol/port combinations. If we trace for some, say, mailserver, then
more likely -T -p 25 can reach it, even when -I can not.
This method uses well-known "half-open technique", which prevents ap-
plications on the destination host from seeing our probes at all. Nor-
mally, a tcp syn is sent. For non-listened ports we receive tcp reset,
and all is done. For active listening ports we receive tcp syn+ack, but
answer by tcp reset (instead of expected tcp ack), this way the remote
tcp session is dropped even without the application ever taking notice.
There is a couple of options for tcp method:
Sets specified tcp flags for probe packet, in any combination.
Sets the flags field in the tcp header exactly to num.
ecn Send syn packet with tcp flags ECE and CWR (for Explicit Conges-
tion Notification, rfc3168).
Use the corresponding tcp header option in the outgoing probe
sysctl Use current sysctl (/proc/sys/net/*) setting for the tcp header
options above and ecn. Always set by default, if nothing else
Use value of num for maxseg tcp header option (when syn).
info Print tcp flags of final tcp replies when the target host is
reached. Allows to determine whether an application listens the
port and other useful things.
Default options is syn,sysctl.
An initial implementation of tcp method, simple using connect(2) call,
which does full tcp session opening. Not recommended for normal use,
because a destination application is always affected (and can be con-
Use udp datagram with constant destination port (default 53, dns).
Intended to bypass firewall as well.
Note, that unlike in tcp method, the correspond application on the des-
tination host always receive our probes (with random data), and most
can easily be confused by them. Most cases it will not respond to our
packets though, so we will never see the final hop in the trace. (For-
tunately, it seems that at least dns servers replies with something an-
This method is allowed for unprivileged users.
Use udplite datagram for probes (with constant destination port, de-
This method is allowed for unprivileged users.
Set udplite send coverage to num.
Use DCCP Request packets for probes (rfc4340).
This method uses the same "half-open technique" as used for TCP. The
default destination port is 33434.
Set DCCP service code to num (default is 1885957735).
raw -P proto
Send raw packet of protocol proto.
No protocol-specific headers are used, just IP header only.
Implies -N 1 -w 5 .
Use IP protocol proto (default 253).
To speed up work, normally several probes are sent simultaneously. On
the other hand, it creates a "storm of packages", especially in the re-
ply direction. Routers can throttle the rate of icmp responses, and
some of replies can be lost. To avoid this, decrease the number of si-
multaneous probes, or even set it to 1 (like in initial traceroute im-
plementation), i.e. -N 1
The final (target) host can drop some of the simultaneous probes, and
might even answer only the latest ones. It can lead to extra "looks
like expired" hops near the final hop. We use a smart algorithm to
auto-detect such a situation, but if it cannot help in your case, just
use -N 1 too.
For even greater stability you can slow down the program's work by -z
option, for example use -z 0.5 for half-second pause between probes.
To avoid an extra waiting, we use adaptive algorithm for timeouts (see
-w option for more info). It can lead to premature expiry (especially
when response times differ at times) and printing "*" instead of a
time. In such a case, switch this algorithm off, by specifying -w with
the desired timeout only (for example, -w 5).
If some hops report nothing for every method, the last chance to obtain
something is to use ping -R command (IPv4, and for nearest 8 hops
ping(8), ping6(8), tcpdump(8), netstat(8)
Traceroute 11 October 2006 TRACEROUTE(1)