The Unknown Host Message

The Unknown Host error message is generated when the hostname of the destination computer cannot be resolved. This error usually occurs when you ping an incorrect hostname, as shown in the following example, or try to use ping with a hostname when hostname resolution (via DNS or a HOSTS text file) is not configured:

Unknown host

If the ping fails, you need to verify that the ping is being sent to the correct remote host. If it is, and if name resolution is configured, you have to dig a little more to find the problem. This error might indicate a problem with the name resolution process, and you might need to verify that the DNS or WINS server is available. Other commands, such as nslookup or dig, can help in this process.

The Expired TTL Message

The Time to Live (TTL) is an important consideration in understanding the ping command. The function of the TTL is to prevent circular routing, which occurs when a ping request keeps looping through a series of hosts. The TTL counts each hop along the way toward its destination device. Each time it counts one hop, the hop is subtracted from the TTL. If the TTL reaches 0, the TTL has expired, and you get a message like the following:

Reply from TTL expired in transit

If the TTL is exceeded with ping, you might have a routing problem on the network. You can modify the TTL for ping on a Windows system by using the ping -i command.