How to Do a Ping Test on Mac Terminal

For Macs, you can run the ping command with Terminal by using the “ping” command followed by a URL or IP address, for example “ping

My name is Eric and as a software engineer, the ping command is something that I have learned to use over the years to ensure I have network connectivity to a system I am trying to work with. It is a simple command and I can show you how to use it on Mac Terminal 

If you would like to learn how to do a ping test on Mac Terminal, keep reading below. I will also give a little background on the command and explain an overview of what it is used for.

Running a Ping Test on Mac Terminal

For those looking to know how to run the test right away, I will get right to it now. If you would like to learn more about ping we will discuss it further in the next couple of sections. Just follow the steps below to use the command.

Step 1: Open the Terminal application.

Use your preferred method to open the Terminal application on your Mac.

Step 2: Get the address that you wish to ping.

You will need to know the address of the site or server you wish to ping. If it is a website, you can use the URL such as or if it is a server or computer on a network you work with you may be able to get the IP address.

Step 3: Run the ping command.

Now all you need to do is run the command as shown below. Type it and then hit the return key.

ping <URL or IP address>

For my example below, I have used the URL

Step 4: Stop the ping output.

You will see the output from the ping test in your Terminal window. The test and its output will continue until you stop it. You can stop it by hitting the CONTROL+C keys at the same time.

What is a Ping Test?

The ping command runs a simple test in which a signal or request is sent out to a website or IP address. If that server is up and running and accepting requests, it will respond to the request and send a signal back to the originator.

A ping test is a very simple way to test the network connection and its quality between two different systems. Most all computers and operating systems have a ping command available and this allows any computer to run this common test to check for connectivity.

What is the Ping Test Telling Me?

The first thing a ping test will tell you is whether or not the system you are trying to contact is alive (or up and running) and connected to the network. If there is no response then you will know the system is down or the network connection is broken.

The output of the command also provides you with some information such as the IP address that is returning the message, the packet size of the message, and the time it takes for the message to travel from your computer to the server and back to your computer again.

The time is measured in milliseconds and is known as latency or RTT (round-trip time). The smaller the number the better the performance. Smaller numbers indicate a very good network connection and this is what many online gamers often look for.


Below are some common questions about ping and the ping command.

What Does Request Timeout mean?

If you run the ping command and see a message saying Request Timeout, this means you are unable to contact the target server. It is either not up and running or the network connection has been broken somewhere. If you are seeing the message for every URL you try, it may mean that your network connection has a problem.

Does Ping have any other parameters or options?

The ping command does have options available, for example, you can use the -c option to tell it how many responses you would like to receive instead of just using the CONTROL+C keys to end them. 

ping -c 3

Use the man command to see all the options if you would like.

man ping

Why is it called ping?

It was originally called ping because the developer of the command compared it to the ping sound used by sonar on submarines. The ping sound is sent out and the length of time it takes for it to return provides the distance of an object, so it works in a similar way.

Later, the backronym was formed so that the letters p-i-n-g stand for Packet Internet or Inter-Network Groper. 


Running a ping test on Mac Terminal is a quick and simple way that you can check to see if a website or server is up and running and that you can connect to it through a network connection. It is also a great way to test the quality of your connection to that system.

As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you!

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