How to Test Network Connectivity on a Mac

Your Internet connection failed… again. It’s been happening frequently over the last few days. You called your provider and they said everything looked fine on their end.

Here’s the dreaded question: could it be your computer? You got a Mac thinking that it was perfect, and you’d never face any problems with it. Before you get nervous, allow us to ensure you: this isn’t a serious problem. Maybe it’s the network, after all.

You can use the Ping on Mac command to test the quality of your connection and see what the exact problem is.

Performing the Ping Test Mac: Why Is It Useful?

The Ping is an easy way to put the Internet quality and speed to the test. It’s a simple feature that all Macs have, but not all users know it’s there.

A Ping on Mac is quite useful before important conference calls and online interviews. If something is wrong with the connection, you can use the Internet from your mobile provider or run to the nearest cafe.

You can also use the Mac Ping command if you’re casually using your computer for research, gambling, social media time, or any other activity. The test is especially valuable to gamers, who need to measure the lag that affects their play.

Keep this in mind: the Ping on Mac functionality is not exactly the same thing as a speed test. Your Internet service provider may be offering a fast connection, but it can be low in its ping quality. This test measures the delay (latency) between your device and an Internet server. In other words, it shows if your provider delivers quality, in addition to speed.

If you feel like the Internet connection is not at its best form, feel free to perform the simple action. We’ll tell you how to do it.

How to Use the Mac Ping Command

As always, Apple computers give you options. There are three ways for you to perform the test.

1. Steps: How to Ping a Website with Terminal

Many people don’t know how to use Terminal on Mac, since they think it’s a program for software engineers. It’s not as complicated as it seems. If you want to known how to ping a website, Terminal will be of great use.

  • Go Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal
  • Type ping and the URL address of the website you want to test
  • Hit Enter and allow your computer to perform the Internet stability test
  • To stop the test, press and hold Control + C

You will get a quick report that shows you the average and minimum quality of your connection.

2. Learn How to Ping an IP Address with Terminal

Now that you know how to use Terminal on Mac through the simple steps described above, you can check if the problem is in your network. You will use the same steps from the previous point. The only difference is that you’ll initiate a ping not to a website, but to your IP address.

If you can’t ping your IP address but your modem and router look fine, the problem is definitely in your local network.

3. How to Ping an IP Address and Website with Network Utility

This is how most novice Mac users think: “I should find an app to test my Ping.” Before you start installing applications, you should know something: there’s a built-in “test my Ping” feature in Network Utility. We’re not talking about Network Preferences, which show up in the drop-down menu under the connection icon. This is a separate function that’s hidden in your computer.

  • The easiest way to find Network Utility is to search for it in Spotlight or through Siri
  • You’ll also fund it under Applications in Core Services in the System’s Library
  • There’s a clearly labeled Ping tab; click on it
  • This is how to ping a website: enter the address in the blank field
  • The default option is set to 10 pings, but you can also set an unlimited number of pings (10 is our recommendation)
  • Click Ping and wait for the report

Your computer will perform a “test my Ping” procedure to addresses associated with that website for the number of times you indicated. You’ll get a clear result of a minimum, average, and maximum. Then, you’ll see the standard deviation. If it’s under 50 ms, it’s good enough.

Here’s how the test looks like:

As you can see, the results are displayed similarly to what you see with the Terminal test. It’s not that hard to decipher the result; just look at the last number.

You can initiate this same process for your IP address.

What Can I Do to Improve the Result After I Test My Ping?

Knowing how to ping an IP address and website is good for diagnostics. You see the problem if there is one, but you’ll still need to fix it.

If you’re getting consistently low results with your ping tests, the first thing to try is moving your modem to a more suitable position. If that doesn’t work and you need a better connection, it’s best to search for another provider.

This is the moment when you’ll need a third-party app, which will perform troubleshooting. It will test your network for its stability, noise, and signal strength. If you have an option to switch between networks, you can use the app to test them all and choose the most stable one.


About the Author:
James Dorian is a technical copywriter. He is a tech geek who knows a lot about modern apps that will make your work more productive. James reads tons of online blogs on technology, business, and ways to become a real pro in our modern world of innovations.