What is an MTR test, and how do I run it?

Sometimes, speed issues can be caused by latency or a bad hop on the route to the server you are connecting to, or the site you are trying to visit. The best way to determine this is with an MTR test.

An MTR test is a broad-spectrum diagnostic that can identify where connections are failing, and may identify what's causing your connection to fail. Please note that MTR tests can only be run on Windows, MacOS, or Linux. However, as the test being done is to assess your network, not specific devices, the device used to run the test is not relevant to the result. Also, please ensure you run the test while using the specific ISP network that is at issue.


For Windows:

You can download the MTR software from one of these sites:

(*General Disclaimer: Use of this application, or any applications made by 3rd party developers, are at your own discretion and liability*)

Under "Hostname", enter the server or site you want to run the test for (e.g us-east.privateinternetaccess.com, www.google.com, etc.)

Please run each MTR test for 100 cycles (just stop it when you see the count reach 100+ in the Sent column). Here are the tests we need you to run:

  1. WITHOUT the VPN active, to www.google.com
  2. WITHOUT the VPN active, to whichever VPN server you have been trying to connecting to. A list of the hostnames for our servers can be found here.

    Please make sure to enter the server name as it appears on that site (for example: us-east.privateinternetaccess.com )

  3. WITH the VPN active, to www.google.com

Save each test as a separate text file; label each test accordingly (e.g. To Google, VPN OFF, etc.)


For MacOS:

  1. DISCONNECT the VPN
    • Open Terminal (this program is located in Applications>>Utilities)
    • Maximize Terminal window
    • Enter this command at the prompt:
      sudo /usr/local/sbin/mtr www.google.com
    • Run the MTR test for 100 cycles (Press "P" to pause when you see the count reach 100+ in the Snt column)
    • On your keyboard, press Command + Shift + 4 and then release all keys. This will take a screenshot of the results and save it on your desktop
    • Press "Q" to quit
  2. Enter this command at the prompt:
    sudo /usr/local/sbin/mtr us-east.privateinternetaccess.com
    However, replace us-east.privateinternetaccess.com with the server you prefer to connect to. A list of the hostnames for our servers can be found here.
    • Take a screenshot of this test result
  3. CONNECT the VPN
    • Enter this command at the prompt: sudo /usr/local/sbin/mtr www.google.com
    • Take a screenshot of this test result
    • Label each screenshot accordingly (e.g. To Google VPN OFF, etc.)

If you are using Linux, the MTR utility is built in to many builds, and can be accessed through the Terminal. Open the Terminal, and type:

mtr <thenameoftheserveryouneedtotest>
(for example: mtr us-east.privateinternetaccess.com)

If the MTR utility is not available for your version of Linux, you can try using this command instead:

pathping -n google.ca
pathping -n us-east.privateinternetaccess.com

Once the MTR test begins, in order to copy the results, press the P key on your keyboard to pause the test. You will then be able to copy the results. If you need to start the test again, press the spacebar.


For further troubleshooting, please send us a support ticket and attach the above files.

Have more questions? Submit a request