MTR Command | Installation Methods for Linux

MTR Command | Installation Methods for Linux

Digital illustration of a Linux terminal depicting the installation of the mtr command a network diagnostic tool combining traceroute and ping

Are you finding network diagnostics in Linux a bit challenging? Luckily the ‘mtr’ command can help. The ‘mtr’ tool enhances your ability to monitor and diagnose your network. It’s available on most package management systems, making the installation process straightforward once you know the steps.

In this guide, we will navigate you through the process of installing the ‘mtr’ command on your Linux system. We will provide you with installation instructions for both APT (Debian and Ubuntu) and YUM-based (CentOS and AlmaLinux) distributions. We’ll delve into advanced topics like compiling ‘mtr’ from source and installing a specific version. Finally, we will guide you on how to use the ‘mtr’ command and verify that the correct version is installed.

Let’s dive in and start installing ‘mtr’ on your Linux system!

TL;DR: How Do I Install and Use the ‘mtr’ Command in Linux?

In most Linux distributions, you can install ‘mtr’ by running the command sudo apt-get install mtr or sudo yum install mtr depending on your package manager. To use it, simply type mtr [hostname].

# For Debian/Ubuntu systems
sudo apt-get install mtr

# For CentOS/RHEL systems
sudo yum install mtr

# Using the mtr command

# Output:
# MY traceroute [v0.92]
# (
# ...

This is a basic way to install and use the ‘mtr’ command in Linux, but there’s much more to learn about ‘mtr’. Continue reading for more detailed information and advanced usage scenarios.

Understanding and Installing the MTR Command

The ‘mtr’ command, short for ‘My Traceroute’, is a network diagnostic tool in Linux. It combines the functionality of the ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’ commands, providing a continuous, real-time display of the path network packets take from your machine to a target host. This tool is invaluable for identifying and isolating network issues.

Now, let’s dive into the installation process for the ‘mtr’ command in Linux.

Installing MTR with APT

For Debian-based systems like Ubuntu, we use the Advanced Package Tool (APT) to install ‘mtr’. Here’s how to do it:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install mtr

# Output:
# Reading package lists... Done
# Building dependency tree
# Reading state information... Done
# ...
# Setting up mtr (0.92-1) ...

After running these commands, your system updates the package lists for upgrades and new package installations. Then, it installs ‘mtr’.

Installing MTR with YUM

For Red Hat-based systems like CentOS, we use the Yellowdog Updater, Modified (YUM) to install ‘mtr’. Here’s the step-by-step guide:

sudo yum update
sudo yum install mtr

# Output:
# Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
# Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
# ...
# Complete!

First, you update your system’s package lists. Then, you install ‘mtr’. The process is similar to that of APT, but the commands are different.

Installing MTR with Zypper

For SUSE-based systems, we use the Zypper package manager to install ‘mtr’. Here’s how:

sudo zypper refresh
sudo zypper install mtr

# Output:
# Retrieving repository 'Main Update Repository' metadata ........................[done]
# Building repository 'Main Update Repository' cache ............................[done]
# ...
# The following NEW package is going to be installed:
#  mtr

As with APT and YUM, you first update your system’s package lists. Then, you install ‘mtr’.

Installing MTR from Source Code

For users who want the latest features or specific versions of ‘mtr’, installing from source code is an option. Let’s walk through the process:

# Download the source code from the official repository

# Extract the tarball
 tar -xvf v0.93.tar.gz

# Navigate into the directory
 cd mtr-0.93

# Install necessary dependencies
 sudo apt-get install libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev

# Configure the installation

# Compile the source code

# Install mtr
 sudo make install

# Output:
# ...
# make[1]: Leaving directory '/home/user/mtr-0.93'

In this process, you download the source code, extract it, navigate into the directory, install necessary dependencies, configure the installation, compile the code, and finally install ‘mtr’.

Installing Different Versions of MTR

Some users may need to install specific versions of ‘mtr’ due to compatibility or feature requirements. Here’s how to do it from source and using package managers.

From Source

The process is similar to installing from source code, but you need to specify the version number while downloading the source code. Replace ‘v0.93’ in the wget command with the version number you want.

Using APT and YUM

In Debian-based systems, use the following command to install a specific version:

sudo apt-get install mtr=0.92

# Output:
# ...
# Setting up mtr (0.92-1) ...

In Red Hat-based systems, use this command:

sudo yum downgrade mtr-0.92

# Output:
# ...
# Complete!

Version Comparison

Different versions of ‘mtr’ come with various changes, improvements, or bug fixes. Here’s a brief comparison of some versions:

VersionKey Changes
v0.93Added support for Darwin and improved IPv6 support
v0.92Added DNS resolver and improved UI
v0.91Added JSON output and improved error handling

Using MTR and Verifying Installation

After installing ‘mtr’, you can use the following command to verify that it’s installed correctly:

mtr --version

# Output:
# mtr 0.93

This command displays the installed version of ‘mtr’. If ‘mtr’ is installed correctly, it should return the version number.

Now, let’s look at a basic use of ‘mtr’. For example, you can use ‘mtr’ to trace the network path to a specific host:


# Output:
# MY traceroute [v0.93]
# (
# ...

In this example, ‘mtr’ traces the network path from your machine to, providing real-time data about each hop along the path.

Alternative Network Diagnostic Tools in Linux

While ‘mtr’ is a powerful tool for network diagnostics, Linux provides a plethora of other commands for this purpose. Two of the most commonly used ones are ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’. Let’s take a closer look at these commands and how they compare to ‘mtr’.

Traceroute Command

The ‘traceroute’ command is used to display the path that packets take to reach a network host. It shows the transit delays of packets across the network.


# Output:
# traceroute to (, 30 hops max, 60 byte packets
# 1  _gateway (  0.279 ms  0.254 ms  0.237 ms
# ...

In this example, ‘traceroute’ displays the path from your machine to, showing each hop along the path and the time taken for each hop.

Ping Command

The ‘ping’ command is used to check the network connectivity between the host and the server. It operates by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) Echo Request messages to the destination host and waiting for a response.


# Output:
# PING ( 56(84) bytes of data.
# 64 bytes from ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=118 time=11.9 ms
# ...

In this example, ‘ping’ sends ICMP Echo Request messages to and displays the response time.

MTR vs Traceroute vs Ping

While ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’ are effective tools, ‘mtr’ combines the functionality of both. It provides a continuous, real-time display of the path network packets take from your machine to a target host, similar to ‘traceroute’. At the same time, it measures the response time of each hop, similar to ‘ping’. This makes ‘mtr’ a more comprehensive tool for network diagnostics.

However, ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’ are simpler to use and can be more suitable for basic network diagnostics or when you only need to measure the response time or the network path. In contrast, ‘mtr’ is more suitable when you need a detailed, real-time analysis of your network.

Troubleshooting Common MTR Issues

While ‘mtr’ is a robust tool, you might encounter some issues during its installation or usage. Let’s discuss some common problems and their solutions.

Installation Issues

If you’re having trouble installing ‘mtr’, it could be due to several reasons. Here are a few troubleshooting steps:

  • Outdated System: Your package lists might be outdated. Run sudo apt-get update or sudo yum update before installing ‘mtr’.

  • Missing Dependencies: ‘mtr’ requires some dependencies to run. If you’re installing from source, make sure to install all necessary dependencies.

  • Permission Issues: You might not have the necessary permissions to install ‘mtr’. Make sure you’re using ‘sudo’ before your command.

Usage Issues

Here are a few common issues you might encounter while using ‘mtr’ and their solutions:

  • Unresolved Hostnames: If ‘mtr’ is not able to resolve hostnames, it might be due to DNS server issues. Check your DNS settings and make sure they’re correct.

  • Packet Loss: If you’re seeing a high level of packet loss, it could be due to network congestion, faulty hardware, or software issues. Check your network hardware and software configurations.

  • Timeouts: If ‘mtr’ is timing out, it might be due to network issues or firewall settings. Check your firewall and network settings.

Here’s an example of how to check your DNS settings in Linux:

# Check resolv.conf file for DNS settings
cat /etc/resolv.conf

# Output:
# nameserver
# nameserver

In this example, the ‘cat’ command displays the content of the ‘resolv.conf’ file, which contains your DNS settings. The ‘nameserver’ lines show the IP addresses of your DNS servers.

The Importance of Network Diagnostics in Linux

Network diagnostics is a critical aspect of system administration and security. It involves monitoring and analyzing a network to identify problems, optimize performance, and ensure security. Linux provides a wide range of commands and tools for network diagnostics, one of which is the ‘mtr’ command.

The Role of MTR in Network Diagnostics

The ‘mtr’ command is a powerful tool that combines the functionality of the ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’ commands. It provides a real-time, continuous display of the path that network packets take from your machine to a target host. This can help identify network issues, such as high latency or packet loss, and pinpoint their location.

Here’s an example of how to use ‘mtr’ to identify network issues:

mtr --report

# Output:
# Start: 2022-02-01T00:00:00+0000
# HOST: localhost Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
#   1.|--  0.0%    10    0.3   0.3   0.3   0.3   0.0
# ...

In this example, the ‘–report’ option generates a report after running ‘mtr’ for a certain number of pings. The report provides statistics for each hop along the path, such as the percentage of packet loss, the number of packets sent, and the average, best, and worst round-trip times.

Network Diagnostics in System Administration and Security

Network diagnostics plays a crucial role in system administration. It helps administrators monitor network performance, identify issues, and optimize network configurations. For example, by using ‘mtr’, an administrator can identify a slow network path and possibly reconfigure the network to use a faster path.

In terms of security, network diagnostics can help identify unusual network traffic that could indicate a security threat. For instance, a sudden increase in packet loss or latency could be a sign of a denial-of-service attack.

In conclusion, network diagnostics is a vital aspect of system administration and security. Tools like ‘mtr’ make the process easier by providing real-time, detailed information about network paths and performance.

Network Diagnostics: A Stepping Stone to Larger Network Management

Understanding network diagnostics, especially mastering commands like ‘mtr’, is a crucial step in managing larger network tasks. It’s the foundation upon which other network management tasks are built. Let’s look at how network diagnostics ties into larger network management tasks and related concepts you might want to explore.

Network Monitoring and Security

Network monitoring is a process where a system’s network is constantly overseen to analyze its conditions. Tools like ‘mtr’ play a crucial role in network monitoring by providing real-time data about network paths and performance. This data can help in identifying issues, optimizing performance, and planning for network growth.

Similarly, network security involves protecting a network from threats and attacks. Network diagnostics tools can help identify unusual network traffic, which could indicate a security threat.

Here’s an example of how to use ‘mtr’ in network monitoring:

mtr --report --interval=5

# Output:
# Start: 2022-02-01T00:00:00+0000
# HOST: localhost Loss%   Snt   Last   Avg  Best  Wrst StDev
#   1.|--  0.0%    10    0.3   0.3   0.3   0.3   0.0
# ...

In this example, the ‘–interval’ option sets the time between pings to 5 seconds, providing data at regular intervals. This can be useful for monitoring network performance over time.

Further Resources for Network Diagnostics Mastery

To delve deeper into network diagnostics and related concepts, here are some resources you might find useful:

  1. Linux Network Administrator’s Guide: An in-depth guide about network administration in Linux, including network diagnostics.

  2. Linux Server Security: A comprehensive guide about securing a Linux server, including network security.

  3. Network Monitoring Tools: A list of network monitoring tools available in Linux, including ‘mtr’.

Mastering network diagnostics is a crucial step in managing larger network tasks. As you continue to explore and learn, you’ll find that commands like ‘mtr’ are just the tip of the iceberg in the vast ocean of network management.

Wrapping Up: Installing MTR for Efficient Network Diagnostics

In this comprehensive guide, we’ve delved into the depths of the ‘mtr’ command, a powerful tool for network diagnostics in Linux.

We embarked on our journey with the basics, learning how to install and use the ‘mtr’ command in Linux. We then navigated through more advanced waters, exploring how to install ‘mtr’ from source code and install specific versions. Along the way, we tackled common challenges you might face when using ‘mtr’, such as installation issues and usage problems, providing you with solutions and workarounds for each issue.

We also explored alternative approaches to network diagnostics in Linux, comparing ‘mtr’ with other commands like ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’. Here’s a quick comparison of these commands:

MTRCombines ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’, real-time dataMight require troubleshooting for some systems
TracerouteShows network path, easy to useLess detailed than ‘mtr’
PingMeasures response time, easy to useDoes not show network path

Whether you’re just starting out with ‘mtr’ or you’re looking to level up your network diagnostics skills, we hope this guide has given you a deeper understanding of ‘mtr’ and its capabilities.

With its combination of ‘traceroute’ and ‘ping’, ‘mtr’ is a powerful tool for network diagnostics in Linux. Now, you’re well-equipped to diagnose network issues and optimize network performance. Happy networking!