How to do a Ping Test (Mac)

This article explains how to run a ping test on a Mac and save it to a file so you can pass the file onto another person or to your ISP.

This article explains how to run a ping test on a Mac and save it to a file so you can pass the file onto another person or to your ISP. It was originally written for people living in Australia, but will work fine for anyone anywhere around the world (just replace for another website that’s closer to you).

Also note that this information only applies to Mac computers and will not work on a Windows machine.

To run the commands, you go to the Applications Folder, then Terminal.
You will see a window come up with the text looking a bit like this (remembering that your computer name will be in place of “Adria” and username in place of “duck”:

Last login: Mon Nov 22 11:52:37 on ttys005
Adria:~ duck$

Now you can type in one of the following commands (or just copy/paste it):

ping | tee pingtest.txt

This command will send a message to the server “” and tell you how long it takes for the message to come back. The other half of it (the “tee pingtext.txt”) will save a file in your home folder called “pingtest.txt” which will also contain what you see in the terminal (useful for emailing to other people to look at).
The reason I suggest is because it’s a server in Sydney that is (almost) always there. If this test works, then your internet should be working fine, you can change the to something like or any other address.
Run the test for as long as you like, when you’re done you press Control-C and it will stop.

Results to look for:
64 bytes from icmp_seq=0 ttl=50 time=25.209 ms

This is a normal result. the icmp_seq bit is the number it’s up to (it does one every second). This should be counting up by 1 every time.
The other part to look at is the time bit. This is how long it takes for a message to get from you to the server and back.
If you’re on ADSL and no one is doing anything else on the internet on your network, then you should get between 20-70ms. Anything under 2000ms and your internet should still work, just slowly. If it’s over 2000ms, then there could be a problem somewhere in your network.
The one that really causes a problem is when you see this:
Request timeout for icmp_seq 2

This means that the information didn’t make it either to or back from the server. A good internet connection should get none of these at all, however occasionally they do happen, if you get one or two every now and then, it’s OK. But if you’re getting a lot of them (say, every 1 in 10 is missing, or you’re getting clumps of say 5 or more) then you’ve got a problem.
Remember that computers are designed to tolerate faults like this, so for example if you’re experiencing websites not loading, when bits like this don’t come back, your computer will just try again automatically.

If you’re experiencing intermittent problems, feel free to leave this running for days if you think it’s necessary (just hide the Terminal Program and continue using your computer as you normally would and check on it when you think there’s something going wrong).

When you think you’ve captured the data you like, you can then attach the pingtest.txt file to an email and send it to someone.

Thanks 🙂


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