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How can I make the Linux ping to show the requests 'time out' instead of omitting the output?

Just like the Windows version of ping.

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migrated from Apr 12 '11 at 21:43

This question came from our site for system and network administrators.

up vote 10 down vote accepted

fping did not work for me... In my case, most of the time I want to see this is basically during server rebooting... this works pretty nice on Windows...

I build a simple script (expanding @entropo answer) to help me on that, which may help answering this question:



if [ -z $host ]; then
    echo "Usage: `basename $0` [HOST]"
    exit 1

while :; do
    result=`ping -W 1 -c 1 $host | grep 'bytes from '`
    if [ $? -gt 0 ]; then
        echo -e "`date +'%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S'` - host $host is \033[0;31mdown\033[0m"
         echo -e "`date +'%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S'` - host $host is \033[0;32mok\033[0m -`echo $result | cut -d ':' -f 2`"
        sleep 1 # avoid ping rain

And usage is something like:

enter image description here

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Can you please modify it to report packet loss percentage and count on every line? – Pol Hallen Jul 1 at 19:39

The best thing I found was to use the -O flag (Note that it does not work on all distros - using Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca IPUTILS-PING 3:20121221-4ubuntu1.1)

$ ping -O

64 bytes from icmp_seq=53 ttl=245 time=460 ms
no answer yet for icmp_seq=54
64 bytes from icmp_seq=55 ttl=245 time=265 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=56 ttl=245 time=480 ms
no answer yet for icmp_seq=57
64 bytes from icmp_seq=58 ttl=245 time=348 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=59 ttl=245 time=515 ms
no answer yet for icmp_seq=60
64 bytes from icmp_seq=61 ttl=245 time=320 ms
64 bytes from icmp_seq=62 ttl=245 time=537 ms

From the man page:

-O Report outstanding ICMP ECHO reply before sending next packet. This is useful together with the timestamp -D to log output to a diagnostic file and search for missing answers.

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Hi scoy, welcome to Super User and thank you for the answer to this question! This appears to be dependent on version of ping; on Debian Wheezy I get "ping: invalid option -- 'O'", but on Jessie it works as you note. You may wish to update your answer to include this information. (I have also submitted a suggested edit to use preformatted text for output and the info from the manpage) – bertieb Jul 6 '15 at 13:59

When I use ping to see if a host is up in shell scripts, I do something like this:

ping -W 1 -c 1 $HOST 2>&1 > /dev/null || (echo -n "dead!"; false) && command-that-needs-host-to-be-up

Basically, sends one ICMP that times out in a second with no output and uses the exit code to gate further action.

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There's no way for the common ping to do that. If you are trying to script something you have some options:

ping -c 2 <ip>
echo $RESULT

If the ping fails, $? will be 1, if the ping is successful, $? will be 0.

The other option is using fping that works a lot like Cisco ping:

$ fping is unreachable
$ fping is alive
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I am afraid but there is no 100% solution to that with standard ping. Even with ping -v for verbose output ping would be silent in case of timeouts. You could try to use:

ping -w 2
PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.

--- ping statistics ---
2 packets transmitted, 0 received, 100% packet loss, time 1007ms

This would stop ping after 2 seconds and then show the number of packets transmitted and packet loss. Another option would be to use mtr.

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nomad@local:~$ fping -l -e : [0], 92 bytes, 183 ms (183 avg, 0% loss) : [1], 92 bytes, 61.4 ms (122 avg, 0% loss) : [2], 92 bytes, 164 ms (136 avg, 0% loss) : [3], 92 bytes, 163 ms (143 avg, 0% loss) : [5], 92 bytes, 158 ms (146 avg, 16% loss) : [6], 92 bytes, 122 ms (142 avg, 14% loss) : [7], 92 bytes, 134 ms (141 avg, 12% loss) : [8], 92 bytes, 130 ms (140 avg, 11% loss)

nomad@local:~$ fping -version
fping: Version 3.2
fping: comments to
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Note however that after fping runs for a couple of minutes sporadic timeouts have zero effect on the printed loss (1 packet out of 1000 is 0.1% loss and fping will keep printing 0%). Not to mention that it's far-far easier to notice a "request timeout" than catching the time that 18% turns to 19% (not to mention that you have to ignore the moment that 18% drifts back to 17%) – ndemou Apr 24 '15 at 10:30

I really like the shell script from Bruno. I added a line to create a file with all of the failures.

echo -e "date +'%Y/%m/%d %H:%M:%S' - host $host is \033[0;31mdown\033[0m" >> ./lostpackets.txt

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Without scripting anything

ping -f -i 1 hostname

Advantages: standard Linux command - nothing to install or script.


  1. NOTHING is printed for packets that get replied successfully
  2. It makes an annoying beep for packets that get replied successfully
  3. The visual indication of timeouts is as minimal as can get (a small dot stays on screen when a packet times out).

With a minimal script

while :; do
    ping -W1 -c 1 "$@" | grep 'bytes from '
    case $? in
        0 ) sleep 1 ;;
        1 ) echo -e "request timeout" ;;
        * ) exit ;;

Disadvantages: You get no statistics at the end and you can't use these 3 ping options:

  1. -i to alter the interval between sending packets (it's hardcoded to 1sec)
  2. -W to alter the timeout (it's hardcoded to 1sec)
  3. -c to stop after sending N packets

BTW: This is one of the extremely rare examples of functionality I really miss from a Linux CLI tool but I find in a windows tool. The execption that proves the rule as they say :-)

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