Traceroute programs are used to identify the Internet path and time taken for communications between your PC and a remote Internet server. Technicians typically use them to identify network performance problems but end users sometimes employ them to help identify the location of a remote website and the path taken in between.
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3D Traceroute is a good example of a traceroute tool. Just type in the address or IP of a remote server and it displays the route taken between you and the server in an easy to an understand graphical format. Full details are provided including the time taken for each link in the chain and full details of all servers en-route. Sometimes the full route information cannot be resolved, however, the resolved points in between can usually provide enough information to "get close" to the source.
You can use it for technical tasks such as diagnosing slow connections or for general purpose snooping like determining the location and owner of a web site or tracing spammers.
VisualRoute Lite is an excellent route tracer when you goal is to identify reponse time issues. The very effective route graph display is great in identifying those hops that slow the round trip time down.
VisualRoute has been available for many years now and I used it a lot in my job. It is based on Java (so you need a runtime version to run it) but if you don't want to install it locally you can also use the online service that is basically doing the same.
Unfortunately, the attractive world map trace is disabled in the Lite version, as well as the list view. That the latter is not available in the Lite version I can't understand and is a drawback for me. But still, the Lite version is great value for free and surely worth a try.
Alien IP is a simple streamlined world map based traceroute tool. It utilizes many of 3D Traceroute advantages with an easy to use interface and easy to undersand controls. Simply input an IP# or URL address and Alien IP takes you right there by maping the hosts world location. Alien IP can also locate a host, ping a host, resolve an IP range, create trace lists, ID local information, and it even provides a nifty IP calculator.
You might want to check out these articles too:
- Understanding Traceroute
- Free Tool Analyses Email Header To Show Route Taken
- Best Free Network Analysis Tools
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