Destination Host Unreachable – Reasons and Fixes


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The error message "Destination Host Unreachable", during a ping test, tells that the ping request from our computer cannot find the route to the destination IP address (destination host).

It means the packet sent from your computer reached the destination network successfully but the remote gateway failed to find the destination host. So the remote gateway sends an Echo message "Destination host unreachable". One major possibility for this error is there is no route listed in the remote gateway, for the packet send from your computer, to destination host.

If there is no route available, it is impossible to find the destination host and your computer will receive an error message "Destination host unreachable" from remote gateway. So one of the reason for this can be faulty routing table. If the destination host is down at the time the packet send, it may result destination host unreachable error message.

If the message is simply "Destination Host Unreachable", then there is no route from the local system, and the packets to be sent were never put on the wire. Use the route utility to check the local routing table.

You may get Destination Host Unreachable message even if you ping to a host in the same subnet. When you ping to a host in the same subnet, your computer sends an ARP request for the MAC address of the destination host. If the host does not exist, you will get destination host unreachable message.

It is because without completing ARP request, ICMP echo cannot be sent.

Destination Host Unreachable - Reasons and Fixes

Destination Host Unreachable - Reasons and Fixes

Reasons getting destination host unreachable message

  • The ping packet find the destination network but failed to find the destination host
  • Packet Routing issue on Remote gateway
  • Destination host might be down
  • Connection issues

Analyzing Destination Host Unreachable message

Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7600]

Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

C:\example>ping 4.2.2.2

Pinging 4.2.2.2 with 32 bytes of data:

Destination host unreachable.

Destination host unreachable.

Destination host unreachable.

Destination host unreachable.

Ping statistics for 4.2.2.2:

Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 0, Lost = 4 (100% loss),

C:\example>

When you ping to an IP address in a different network, ping packets reach default gateway. Your default gateway sends the packet to remote gateway. So ping packet finally reaches the remote network. However, if the remote gateway failed to find the remote host, it will send an echo Destination host unreachable. If default gateway does not know the path to desired network, your computer will get "Destination net (or host) Unreachable" message. This can happen in two cases:

  • If the route to specific network is down
  • No such network address is listed in default gateway's routing table

How to Resolve Destination Host Unreachable

The possible fix for the ICMP error message "Destination Host Unreachable":

  • Make sure that local host is configured correctly
  • Make sure Destination Computer/Device is up
  • Disable the Firewall and check for the issue
  • Perform a tracert to the destination IP and check where the problem lies

When the packet is received by remote gateway but it failed to find remote host, you will receive ICMP Echo Destination Host Unreachable message.

NOTE: If your local address is returned as 169.254.y.z, you have been assigned an IP address by the Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA) feature of Windows NT systems. This means that the local DHCP server is not configured properly or cannot be reached from your computer, and an IP address has been assigned automatically with a subnet mask of 255.255.0.0. Enable or correct the DHCP server, restart the local computer, and see if the networking problem persists.