Learn How to Use Online Tracking Tools to Track the Delivery Status of a Package
Most of the major shipping companies provide a tracking number that can be used to track the delivery status of a package using online tracking tools.
In many cases, the carrier will also provide the shipping history, so you can trace the steps along the way. Packages are usually scanned at every major point during the mail stream. For example, the package is scanned when it is accepted at the mail facility, then when it arrives at the next facility (say, via flight to Memphis hub).
Then it is scanned again when it arrives at the local mail facility, and scanned again when the package is delivered. The number of transfer or check-in points along the way varies depending on the item, the carrier, the mode of transportation and the destination.
How to Track Packages Shipped Via Major Carriers
United States Postal Service (USPS)
The United States Postal Service provides an easy to use end-to-end tracking online lookup tool. The site allows you to the obtain shipping status for services such as: USPS Tracking, Priority Mail, Certified Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Priority Mail Express and international, Registered Mail and Signature Confirmation services.
If you aren’t sure where your tracking number is, it can be found in a number of places. If you visit the post office in person, you’ll get a receipt for the items you shipped. The tracking number will be on the receipt. Also, if you purchased insurance for the items, the number will be on the sales receipt for the insurance. Additionally, the number will be on the bottom peel-off portion of your tracking label.
If you shipped items using USPS.com, the number will be in your confirmation email.
If you need additional help, the he Postal Service website provides guidance regarding the proper format of the number to be entered. Once you locate the number, simply enter the number in the search box and click on the Find button.
USPS Informed Delivery Service
The Postal Service has a new service called Informed Delivery that allows you to automatically track packages. You can use it to setup email and text status alerts so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of locating and entering the tracking number. In addition, you can use the service to view images of incoming mail and even leave delivery instructions for your carrier. Learn more and sign up on the website.
Updates Via Text or App
Many of the same services are also available via text messaging, telephone and smart phone apps. For example, the United States Post Office allows you to send a text to 28777 (2USPS), along with the your tracking number as the content of the message. The details will be provided in a return text messages.
The USPS can also send text updates for future activity on any tracking numbers that you have previously submitted or will submit in the future. Text the word ALL to 28777 (2USPS) to activate the feature. Text the word STOP to turn it off.
To obtain the information via a smart phone, simply download and install the USPS Mobile App. Tracking status and information can also be obtained via phone by calling 1-800-222-1811.
You can use the DHL tracking form to track the delivery status of a package sent via their service. It provides real-time status of an an item anywhere in the delivery network. Just click on the link below to visit their website. Then, select the Shipment Type and enter up to 10 different numbers.
It is important to note that your shipment may pass through multiple states on its way to the intended destination. So, if you see that the package isn’t where you expect it to be, rest assured that it is on its way to the correct location.
If you don’t have the number, you’ll have to contact their customer service hotline for assistance.
Federal Express / FedEx – Visit this website if you need to know the delivery status of a shipment from FedEx. One this website, you can trace by number, by any reference number associated with your order, or by Transaction Control Number (TCN).
If the package has already been delivered, you can get proof of delivery and even get an image of the recipient’s signature.
You can enter up to 30 numbers at a time, in case you need to get updates on multiple deliveries.
FedEx also has a mobile app that allows you to get alerts on shipping and delivered packages, create new shipments, and more. Learn more about the FedEx Mobile App.
United Parcel Service (UPS)
United Parcel Service (UPS) – The UPS form is pretty straightforward. It allows you to enter up to 25 numbers at once
Other Package Tracking Services
A number of websites provide tracking capabilities that search across multiple carriers at once. We recommend using the lookup tools provided by the major carriers (i.e. FedEx, UPS, etc.). They provide more accurate and more detailed information.
Following are a few options for searching multiple companies:
PackageMapping.com allows you to search across 16 carriers worldwide. The site will displays matching carriers based on tracking number. It also allows you to watch the package as it travels on an interactive map, which is pretty cool.
Use it to track all of the above carriers including: UPS, United States Postal Service, FedEx, DHL, DHL Global Mail, Canada Post, Landmark Global, LaserShip, Lone Star Overnight, OnTrac, Purolator, PuroPost, RR Donnelley International Services, Singapore Post, Spee-Dee, UPS Mail Innovations.
iShip.com – Track your package in one easy step. Enter the package tracking number and click Submit. If it has been delivered and a signature has been received, the site will tell you who signed and accepted. View anything shipped by DHL, FedEex, UPS and USPS.
All of the services mentioned are available for free. Advanced services, especially for commercial enterprises are available for a fee. For the average user, everything you need is available online at no cost.
Questions and Comments
If you have any questions about package tracking, please visit one of the major carrier websites or post a message below.