Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Tuesday, April 10, 2001

Test your website from anyplace in the world for free

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April, 2001

In this article:
3. WebPerf
4. VisualRoute
5. Neotrace

For a long and interesting period Massimo Curatella, Technology Guru at IKONOS New Media, and I, have devoted our best time and resources to develop a simple but effective tool, that, once loaded on a significant number of web servers around the world, would give the non-commercial and development community to test their website easily and systematically from global locations.
(How is my site performing from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East today?)

We originally thought of calling this tool/service "GPT" or Global Performance Testing.

Unfortunately, though we arrived at having developed a fully functional software prototype (still available), we did not have the financial and marketing resources to properly organize a world network of testers as would have been needed.

Actually, the market "niche" for such a service, especially in the non-commercial arena, is still wide open, and it is certainly an interesting one to consider.
What I am saying is that there is an open and interesting market to go after, which is the one of measuring performance of web sites from gobal locations.

While some services exist as Keynote (, none is yet truly global, and none is targeting specifically the developing markets and nations.

............................................ - Professional online service network for global
performance testing.

Let's look at what happens when you attempt to connect to a site on the internet. A request (a packet of data)is sent from your computer to that of the host provider of the site you want to visit. However, the route your request must travel is rarely direct. It usually has to pass through a series of other network components to arrive at its final destination.

The site will respond by sending the requested information (the web page) which will then pass through a similar ordeal to get back to you and be displayed on your monitor. Unfortunately, the route taken by this information is not always chosen for speed and efficiency, but is more often a question of available servers and merchant agreements.

Different hosting service providers will provide different routes for the information to travel. Ultimately, the speed of the response depends on the number of steps (hops) the data has to pass through, and the capacity of the network components and the speed at which they operate.

Response times will of course vary from different locations around the globe. However, the ultimate goal is to have the fastest response time possible so as to maintain the attention of the user.

If your site takes too long to reach, your prospective clients may lose interest, give up and look elsewhere.

Until now, TRACERT (short for "Trace Route") was just a very useful DOS command which tested these factors. (Open a DOS session (in Windows click on Start/Programs/MS-DOS if using Windows 95 or higher) and type "TRACERT" followed by the URL (Universal Resource Locator) or the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the site you would like to test.) TRACERT works by sending out three individual probes/tests and reporting the routes taken, the number of hops and the amount of time it takes to get to the specified address.

Sounding too complicated? Well, there's an easier way.

Visit and you will find a very simple, user friendly interface which performs the trace route automatically, once you enter your URL or IP address in the trace field.

Furthermore, using this service, you are also able to test the type of response you could expect to receive from your site from any location in the world, simply by choosing a test location from the list provided. This means that you can determine the response time of your hosting provider from a number of various locations.

By registering at, you are also able to perform a whole range of other tests for FREE. Other measurements report the size of retrieved information and the transfer speed.

It maybe wise to perform these tests at various times during the day as response times will vary with the density of internet traffic. e-mails the results to you, as well as conveniently storing them for your easy reference and comparison online.

by Contributing Editor:
Sabina Curatolo

Click here to go to the top of this page !

............................................ - Internet organized collection of open traceroute servers around the world.
= worth knowing

Much cruder and certainly targeted at a more experienced technical audience, is a no-frill FREE online service that allows you to easily access over 200 traceroute servers in 48 different countries around the world.

The service does nothing else but group all of these "open" (accessible by anybody) traceroute servers, in an organized and simple way.

Users of the service are supposed to select a country and a specific server among the ones offered, and to input thereafter the URL/IP address of the site that needs to be tracerouted FROM that location.

The site offers no help, information or support about tracerouting, and unless you are somewhat familiar with technical issues, it maybe a little to rough for the average user.

For the smart webmaster it is instead a useful and unique resource to keep at hand for all projects.

Click here to go to the top of this page !

WebPerf - Global Performance Testing network
= interesting, promising

Measure the response time of any specified URLs from multiple locations on the Internet for FREE.

This specific free monitoring service (WebPerf) is based on a co-peering arrangement, meaning that when you join, your machine automatically becomes part of the monitoring network.

In order to become a subscriber and have your URLs monitored, you need to download and install an agent. The agent runs silently on your machine and sends back the information it collects to a central server.

For webmasters, it is hard to know how their web sites are performing. Just because a site is fast and responsive from your desk, doesn't mean that it is like that from around the world.

The WebPerf project was started to help webmasters monitor the responsiveness of different URLs (webpages) on their sites (as well as their competitors) from different parts of the internet.

The "agents" which collect the data are located all over the world (these are basically small-footprint software programs that any participating member of the WebPerf network can FREELY install on its Web server), run on different types of machines, and have various types of connections.

Obviously the more agents collecting this information from different parts of the web the more useful the information will be (this is how you can participate).

As the number of monitoring positions increases, the value of the network increases, as does the reliability of the information gathered.

What does WebPerf run on ?
WinNT, Solaris, Linux, *BSD (not FreeBSD 3.2).

As I am writing the review for this service, WebPerf has taken off their free test page from the public access. You are all lucky enough, as I have kept the URL of the test page and though not available from their navigation, it is still there (I do not know for how long though).

Try a FREE test at

It is really interesting to see how each component of a web page taxes the performance and the overall download time. With this type of utility one can easily spot heavy components of a website, that if eliminated or optimized can lead to significant improvements in speed.

See for example the difference it takes to download the actual home page of IKONOS New Media ( versus their newly prototyped alternative for the same page (


***Downloadable FREE Tools to test your performance***

Click here to go to the top of this page !

VisualRoute - Professional internet tracing program -
30 days FREE trial version
= worth knowing

VisualRoute is a speedy Traceroute program that can automatically analyze connectivity problems. The program offers a map of the world, which you can use to view the routes that your IP packets take as you compute over the Internet.

VisualRoute will give you far more info than any simple Ping or Trace utility. It will list the number of hops that the host was found in and the corresponding nodes with a performance analysis. This way you can narrow down any problems in your connection and determine whether your ISP is responsible or if the host you are trying to reach has problems. VisualRoute will also display a graphic Trace Route presentation on a world map, that is updated in RealTime.

The (java)interface is very well designed and includes pop-up Whois information, server information and more. The analysis can be converted to a simple ASCII format for easy exporting via email etc.

To start the whole VisualRoute process, you'll need to enter a URL into the Host/URL box and press the return key or press the green arrow button. VisualRoute then traces the physical network path from your computer to the remote computer and then displays the path on the world map.

VisualRoute also displays all of the hops in its main window. I think its absolutely amazing to see how many computers are touched in a single Internet site connection. As each hop is made, it is displayed on the table above the world map. Details of any individual hop can be displayed by simply clicking on the server name in the Network column in the table.

If you need to see where you are having connection problems when trying to reach a specific URL, VisualRoute should be able to display where and what server is creating problems.

30-day FREE evaluation.
Registration after that costs US $ 37.50. index.html

Download Visualroute 5.1c (released March, 23!) at: index.html

Click here to go to the top of this page !

Neotrace - Professional internet tracing tool for FREE
= must have

Among my long-time favourites Neotrace holds a really special place. This tool performs the same verification and testing tasks that VisualRoute and the Traceroute services reviewed above do and more. It is a slick program with a nice and well thought out interface. It performs fast and reliably everytime I use it and its graphical interface is truly well designed and easy to use.

NeoTrace Express is a freeware version of the popular NeoTrace tool. This version offers the mapping features of the Pro version and the essential features you need to visually trace Web sites.
It's multithreaded, so it's very fast and can simultaneously check multiple hops on the route. It shows the route on a world map with details on the path taken by your Internet traffic.
NeoTrace Express can also integrate with Internet Explorer to offer one-click tracing to Web sites and URLs.

NeoTrace Express is a completely FREE tool.

Features include:

*tracing websites and IP addresses

*viewing a world map with the results of the trace

*viewing the network information associated with the trace destination

*Mail Server Tracing
Put in an email address and NeoTrace will trace to the mail server for that address.

*Dramatically Improved Map
Expanded map details for many regions of the world.

*Many New Save Formats Allows trace data, maps or both to be saved in formats such as JPG, PNG, BMP, HTML, RTF, MIME, and plain text.

Note that registration is required for this application.
The process is fast and simple. Neoworx will generate for you one free registration code for you with a customer password and email it to you. When you receive the email with the registration code, simply cut and paste it into the registration dialog on the program.

Download Neotrace Express at:

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posted by Robin Good on Tuesday, April 10 2001, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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