What is MTR and How to Test Network Performance

MTR combines the purpose of ping and tracert/traceroute. MTR visualizes performance and latency issues across every machine, or hop, between your local machine and the destination.

MTR can help answer the following questions:

  • Is my server slow?
  • If the issue isn’t my server, which hop is?
  • Does a hop have intermittent packet loss?
  • Do I need to change my server location to improve the user experience (UX) for my target audience?

MTR is unlikely to be pre-installed on your local machine. Below we cover:

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How to Install MTR

Install MTR on Linux

MTR on Debian/Ubuntu

apt-get install mtr

MTR on Fedora/CentOS

yum install mtr

MTR on Arch/Manjaro

pacman -S mtr

Install MTR on macOS

macOS users need to use a package manager such as Homebrew or MacPorts to install MTR.

Install MTR on BSD

pkg install mtr

How to use MTR

MTR can be used for real-time and report style scans.

Real-time MTR

To see performance results in real-time, run mtr with a domain, server IP, or server hostname (part of your temporary URL).

mtr yourdomain.com
An MTR example from a Cloud server

During the scan you have the following options:

  • Help – View command options for the current MTR test
  • Display mode – Change how packet and ping statistics are shown
  • Restart statistics – Restart the test
  • Order of fields – Change the order of available columns (press Enter to exit)
  • quit – Stop MTR

You can copy the results at any time. We recommend waiting until you’ve sent at least 50 packets to get a clear understanding.

MTR Reports

If you need to share the results with others (e.g. our Live support), add -crw and an output option for easier archival.

mtr -rw yourdomain.com -c 100
  • -c or --report-cycles – Set how many pings are sent to test reliability of each hop (each cycle lasts one second)
  • -r or --report – Run the test in the background and print the results once complete
  • -w or --report-wide – Ensure full hostnames are present in results instead of ???

MTR will stop after 10 sent packets if you don’t specify a number with -c.

To output MTR results to a CSV file:

mtr -rwC yourdomain.com -c 100 > mtr-results.csv

Output options:

  • -l or --raw
  • -C or --csv (separator is a semi-colon “;”)
  • -j or --json
  • -x or --xml

MTR from the Server

To better understand network performance issues, you can install MTR on your web server and run it against your local machine.

If the local machine is on a Small Office / Home Office (SOHO) network, you may need to ensure ICMP Ping is enabled on the local router.

Install WinMTR on Windows

Windows users can use a fork of MTR, WinMTR, to test network connections.

As of June 2020, this application hasn’t been updated since April 2013. We recommend you use tracert instead or, if you decide to install WinMTR, remove the software after you receive your results.

  1. Download WinMTR from sourceforge.net/projects/winmtr
  2. Extract the file and run the executable as an administrator
  3. Type the domain in the Host field
  4. Select Start
  5. Select Stop anytime after 100 packets in the Sent column

Contact our Live Support directly with MTR results for further assistance.

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