Linux servers come packed with a plethora of useful commands and tools. Knowing when to use the right ones can save you a lot of time and give you insight into your dedicated server and its networking environment. Here are three tools that are indispensable for any server administrator.
Ping – Perhaps the most basic of networking tools, ping checks your server’s ability to contact and receive confirmation from another server. Although it is common to use ping to test network outage, it can also be used for less critical tests, like connection time, packet loss, and general trouble-shooting.
Nslookup – The primary function of Nslookup is to confirm the nameserver ip address for a particular server. This is particularly useful if you are trying to determine if a DNS change has taken effect or if you want to know the actual ip address of a particular domain.
Traceroute – Traceroute is a connectivity tool that tests a host’s ability to connect to another server, detailing each step of the connection. It literally traces the route from one server to the other. Traceroute can be an invaluable tool in testing spotty connections. Sometimes, what appears to be a broken connection may just be a problem with one of the hops in the connection route. In other words, you may find it to be a larger Internet problem rather than a local one.
All three of these tools are powerful and can be run remotely. To learn more about any of them, type “man” followed by the command from the Linux shell (Ex: man traceroute).