Using the network utility ping to check a website’s status is a lot like knocking on a neighbor’s door. If the neighbor takes a long time to answer the door, he may be physically disabled or occupied with something more important. If the neighbor doesn’t answer your knock or ping at all, you may not be knocking loudly enough, he might not be at home or something may be seriously wrong with him.
If you are unable to successfully ping any websites you try, the problem may lie with your system, the website you are trying to reach or the infrastructure of the Internet itself.
No Internet Connection
If you apply Occam’s razor as your guide, the first thing to check when you can’t ping any websites is your Internet connection. If your Wi-Fi connection is disabled or your Ethernet cable is damaged or unplugged, you will not be able to ping any device or computer other than your own PC. A router or modem with its power cable unplugged may also be the culprit. From time to time, however, you may lose access to the Internet if your ISP or your Internet service provider is having network problems.
Your PC firewall or your local network’s router are able to block the Internet Control Message Protocol information packets that the ping utility sends to the Web server of the website you are trying to reach. The firewall may prevent pings or ICMP echo request packets from leaving your PC or they may block a website’s response or ICMP echo reply.
Check the ICMP or ping settings of your PC’s firewall and, if necessary, change them to allow ping ICMP message requests and incoming replies.
If your tried and failed to ping a website using its domain name instead of its numerical IP address, the problem may lie with the Internet’s system of Domain Name System servers. The Internet depends upon several DNS servers that maintain databases used to match a domain name to the actual IP address of the computer you want to connect to.
If one or more key DNS servers your ISP uses is down or has a corrupted database, you may not be able to ping any websites by domain name only.
Pings Blocked by Website
If you eliminate any network connectivity, firewall or DNS problems and you still can’t ping any websites, the problem may be that the websites you tried are just ignoring you. Each year, government, commercial and personal websites are crippled or brought down completely by Denial of Service attacks. Often, DoS attacks are due to a deliberate or accidental deluge of pings which overwhelm the server that tries to respond to them.
This is called the “Ping of Death.” To prevent this, Web servers may block all incoming pings or responses to pings at the router, firewall or server operating system level.