Basics tools that can help you troubleshoot most networking issues.

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Basics tools that can help you troubleshoot most networking issues. Network troubleshooting tools are a necessity for every network administrator. When getting started in the networking field, it is important to amass a number of tools that can be used to troubleshoot a variety of different network conditions.

While it is true that the the use of specific tools can be subjective and at the discretion of the engineer, the selection of tools in this article has been made based on their generality and common use.

Following are the Basics tools that can help you troubleshoot most networking issues.

Ping

The most commonly used network tool is the ping utility. This utility is used to provide a basic connectivity test between the requesting host and a destination host. This is done by using the Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) which has the ability to send an echo packet to a destination host and a mechanism to listen for a response from this host. Simply stated, if the requesting host receives a response from the destination host, this host is reachable. 

Tracert/traceroute

Typically, once the ping utility has been used to determine basic connectivity, the tracert/traceroute utility can used to determine more specific information about the path to the destination host including the route the packet takes and the response time of these intermediate hosts. The tracert utility and traceroute utilities perform the same function but operate on different operating systems, Tracert for Windows machines and traceroute for Linux/*nix based machines.

Ipconfig/ifconfig

One of the most important things that must be completed when troubleshooting a networking issue is to find out the specific IP configuration of the variously affected hosts. Sometimes this information is already known when addressing is configured statically, but when a dynamic addressing method is used, the IP address of each host can potentially change often. 

Nslookup

networking issues revolve around issues with Dynamic Name System (DNS) address resolution issues. DNS is used by everyone using the Internet to resolve commonly known domain names (i.e. google.com) to commonly unknown IP addresses (i.e. 74.125.115.147). When this system does not work, most of the functionality that people are used to goes away, as there is no way to resolve this information. The nslookup utility can be used to lookup the specific IP address(es) associated with a domain name. If this utility is unable to resolve this information, there is a DNS issue. Along with simple lookup, the nslookup utility is able to query specific DNS servers to determine an issue with the default DNS servers configured on a host.

DNS Lookup

The DNS Lookup tool retrieves domain name records for the domain name that you provide. You can use this to help diagnose problems and see if the problem originates from the domain name server — if you cannot return a domain’s records, you’ll know where to begin troubleshooting!

Email Checker 

The Email Checker allows you to test the validity and reachability of an email address. It makes sure that the email is syntactically valid and that it is available via an SMTP server. If you’re trying to cull false email addresses from your email list or something similar, this tool will be helpful.

HTTP Headers

The HTTP Headers tool allows you to see what headers are returned by a web server for a specific domain name or IP Address. If you notice odd behavior with your HTTP connections, you can use this tool to troubleshoot the top-level domain. Alternatively, you can use it to check for redirection — minimizing these optimizes any links you might be using.

URL Encode Decode

If you need to include special characters in your URL, you’ll need to encode them so that the URL remains valid. You can do this with URL Encode. Conversely, if a URL contains special characters and has been encoded, yet you want to see it in a more human-readable form, use URL Decode to standardize the URL.

WHO IS Search

If you are curious as to who the responsible party (or parties) is behind a domain name, the WHOIS query will allow you to query multiple domain registrars’ databases. If the owner has chosen to hide their information, you can nevertheless return forwarding information.

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