Before buying a virtual and dedicated server, it would be nice to check how it works. However, not all hosting providers offer a free test period.
We don’t offer it either. But we do have a tool that you can use to check connectivity and select the optimal location. It’s called Looking Glass.
In this article, we’ll explain what it is and how to use it.
Looking Glass is a dedicated service that can check routing. It is used to test server connectivity before purchase and to look for faults in the network.
The service provides the following capabilities:
The service interface is simple.
You only need to specify the parameters and choose the command:
1. Choose the location you want to check. The list includes all locations where our hosting is available.
2. Select the protocol: IPv4 or IPv6.
3. Specify the IP address to connect to.
4. Select the command.
Let’s talk about each command in detail.
This command can show how much time it takes to transfer a packet from your IP address to the node.
The command utilizes the ICMP protocol. It works as follows:
It does not only show the packet transfer speed but can also be used to check the node’s overall availability.
Let’s see how this command works in practice. For our tests, we’ll be using a free public IP address: 126.96.36.199. Here’s what the ping command returns:
PING 188.8.131.52 (184.108.40.206) 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from 220.127.116.11: icmp_seq=1 ttl=119 time=0.325 ms
64 bytes from 18.104.22.168: icmp_seq=2 ttl=119 time=0.311 ms
64 bytes from 22.214.171.124: icmp_seq=3 ttl=119 time=0.315 ms
64 bytes from 126.96.36.199: icmp_seq=4 ttl=119 time=0.301 ms
64 bytes from 188.8.131.52: icmp_seq=5 ttl=119 time=0.309 ms
--- 184.108.40.206 ping statistics ---
5 packets transmitted, 5 received, 0% packet loss, time 3999ms
rtt min/avg/max/mdev = 0.301/0.312/0.325/0.013 ms
We can see that 5 packets were transferred. For each packet, the command specifies how much time was used for the transfer. The lower line says that all packets were transmitted and received, none of them were lost, and the overall transfer time was 3,999 ms.
These numbers can help you understand whether you’re happy about the speed and whether the node you selected is suitable for your goals.
This command allows you to see all the intermediary routers on the packet’s way to the target node.
Each packet has a parameter called TTL (time to live), showing how long this packet can stay in the network. TTL can be expressed either as a number of hops (switches from one router to another) or as time, in milliseconds.
Every router the packet goes through lowers the TTL hop number by one. When the value reaches zero, the packet is destroyed, and the sender receives the response “time exceeded.”
Traceroute utilizes this parameter to calculate the number of intermediate nodes:
Let’s try to apply this command to the same address. Here’s what we get:
traceroute to 220.127.116.11 (18.104.22.168), 15 hops max, 60 byte packets
1 vrrp.gcore.lu (22.214.171.124) [AS199524] 0.418 ms
2 126.96.36.199 (188.8.131.52) [AS199524] 0.378 ms
3 10.255.21.177 (10.255.21.177) [*] 0.366 ms
4 core1-0-0-8.lga.net.google.com (184.108.40.206) [AS10026] 0.848 ms
5 220.127.116.11 (18.104.22.168) [AS15169] 2.483 ms
6 22.214.171.124 (126.96.36.199) [AS15169] 1.419 ms
7 dns.google (188.8.131.52) [AS15169] 1.347 ms
What do we see here?
This command shows, in detail, the best BGP routes to the destination point.
BGP is a dynamic routing protocol for the Internet. It connects autonomous systems (AS)—systems of routers and IP networks with a shared online routing policy.
With the help of BGP, autonomous systems exchange information about networks and their availability. Based on this data, they build the best route for the packets.
This is what the command show route for all can show. The result might look as follows:
184.108.40.206/24 via 220.127.116.11 on eth0 [ipv4_1 2021-07-27 from 18.104.22.168] * (100/?) [AS15169i]
Type: BGP unicast univ
BGP.community: (65000,1162) (65000,1728) (65000,1903) (65000,4212) (65101,2087) (65102,2000) (65103,840) (65104,19)
BGP.large_community: (6695, 1000, 1)
via 22.214.171.124 on eth0 [ipv4_2 2021-07-19 from 126.96.36.199] (100/?) [AS15169i]
Type: BGP unicast univ
BGP.community: (24115,15169) (24115,65012) (65000,1105) (65000,1728) (65000,1903) (65000,4212)
BGP.large_community: (24115,1000,1) (24115,1001,1) (24115,1002,1) (24115,1003,1) (24115,=1004,15169)
The last command available in our Looking Glass is show route for (bgpmap). It provides a graphic image of the BGP route and shows what autonomous systems the data has to go through on the way from the node to the IP address.
The result will look like this:
So, we’ve examined all aspects of the interface of our Looking Glass feature. We hope that it will be easy for you to use it. And if you still have any questions left, you can always ask our managers.
Choose the server that perfectly matches your needs with our handy configuration tool. And Looking Glass will help you select a location with the best connectivity.