System Administration Guide: Network Services

How to Find Out If a Remote System Is Operating

Find out if a remote system is operating by using the ping command.

$ ping system-name | ip-address

The name of the remote system


The IP address of the remote system

The ping command returns one of three messages:

Status Message 


system-name is alive

The system can be accessed over the network. 

ping: unknown host system-name

The system name is unknown. 

ping: no answer from system-name

The system is known, but is not currently operating.  

If the system you “ping” is located in a different domain, the return message can also contain routing information, which you can ignore.

The ping command has a timeout of 20 seconds. Effectively, if it does not receive a response within 20 seconds, it returns the third message. You can force ping to wait longer (or less) by typing a time-out value, in seconds:

$ ping system-name | ip-address time-out

For more information, see ping(1M).