This one quick trick could fix your internet connection (2024)

Router issues are among the most common causes of internet outages, but they’re also usually some of the easiest to fix. Rebooting your Wi-Fi router -- and potentially your modem, too -- can be as simple as unplugging it, waiting about 30 seconds and plugging it back in. If that doesn’t work, resetting your router to factory settings could be necessary.

I’ve been writing about home internet -- and all the headaches that come with it -- for more than five years. I’ll walk you through all the steps you need to take to get your Wi-Fi up and running again.

Do a hard reboot of your router

“Unplug it and plug it back in” is some of the most tried-and-true advice for any electronics, and your router is no different. Imagine a computer game that’s gone hopelessly wrong. Starting the game over lets you walk back all the mistakes you made to get you to that point. A hard reboot works the same way, allowing your device a fresh start from a “known state.”

Locating local internet providers

"It's amazing how that'll solve like 90% of the problems, because the drivers are the interface between the radio and the operating system, and they can get discombobulated," Dave Coleman, a Wi-Fi expert, author and Director of Wireless Networking in the Office of the CTO at Extreme Networks, told CNET. "I know it sounds simple, but it's the first troubleshooting thing people should do."

Here’s what you do:

Locating local internet providers

  1. Unplug the router from the power source. You can unplug the power cord from the wall or the router -- either will work.
  2. Wait at least 30 seconds.
  3. Plug it back in.

Once the router is plugged back into the power source, you may need to wait another 30 seconds for it to reboot. Once all the lights are on, try connecting to Wi-Fi from a device.

Reset your router to factory settings

If your hard reboot didn’t work, a more drastic step is to reset your router to its factory settings. A note of caution: This will erase all of your custom settings, like your network name and password, and give you a new public IP address. Your router will be the exact same as it was when you first took it out of the box.

You may want to take this step if you’re having to reboot your router multiple times a day or if your Wi-Fi speeds are drastically slower than the speeds you’re getting through a wired connection. I’d also recommend making sure your router’s firmware is up-to-date before resetting it to factory settings. Here’s what you’ll do on most routers:

  1. Keep your router plugged into the power source.
  2. Insert a paper clip into the Reset opening on your router. Some routers will also have a button you can press with your finger.
  3. Hold this button down for about 30 seconds.
  4. Wait for the router’s lights to come back on. This could take a minute or two.

You can also reset most routers using their app or website. To do so, you’ll need your login credentials.

How to tell if it’s a modem or router issue

If you have a separate modem and router, you may need to troubleshoot each of them on their own. To find out if your modem is up and running, connect a device to the modem directly using an Ethernet cable. If you can get online this way, the issue is coming from your router. If it’s still not working, you should start with a hard reboot of both devices. Here’s what you’ll do:

  • First, unplug your router and modem from the power source.
  • Wait about 30 seconds, and plug them back in: first the modem, then the router.
  • Wait a few minutes for them to completely power back on.

This restart should fix most issues with your modem and router and your internet should be back up.

It might be time to upgrade your router

If you’re having consistent speed issues or outages that require you to reset your router on a regular basis, it might be time to upgrade to a newer model. Experts recommend replacing your router every five years or so, but if you have a lot of smart home gadgets or keep up with the latest electronics, it might be worth pushing that to two or three years.

That said, your router is only as good as the internet connection that’s flowing through it. The best way to tell where the blame lies is to run some speed tests while plugged into your modem with an Ethernet cable and compare the results to the speeds you’re getting through Wi-Fi. If the wired speeds are still slower than you’d like, it’s probably time to switch to a faster plan or switch internet providers altogether.

This one quick trick could fix your internet connection (2024)

FAQs

How can I trick my Internet speed? ›

These tips are equally applicable to mobile, laptop, and desktop devices.
  1. Remove unused apps from your phone:
  2. Use the Ad blocker app on your phone:
  3. Try Upgrading your Router:
  4. Disconnect extra connected devices:
  5. Reboot your Router:

How to restore internet connection? ›

Complete list of fixes if your internet is not working
  1. Restart your equipment. ...
  2. Connect with an Ethernet cable. ...
  3. Check for an internet outage. ...
  4. Try using a different device. ...
  5. Check your wires and cables. ...
  6. Run your computer's internet troubleshooter. ...
  7. Reposition your router/gateway. ...
  8. Update everything.
Jan 4, 2024

How do I complete my Internet speed test? ›

To run a Speedtest®, head to Speedtest.net or download the app on iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Apple TV. From the initial test screen, click or tap on the “GO” button and wait a few seconds until your download and upload speeds have been analyzed.

How to speed up your internet for free? ›

How to increase your internet speed for free
  1. Clear your cache and cookies. ...
  2. Restart your modem and router. ...
  3. Move your router. ...
  4. Use a wired connection. ...
  5. Move your router antennas. ...
  6. Update your router's firmware. ...
  7. Disconnect any unnecessary devices. ...
  8. Close any unnecessary apps or windows.
Aug 23, 2023

How do I get 100% internet speed? ›

10 ways to increase your download speed
  1. Download one file at a time. ...
  2. Clear your cache. ...
  3. Disconnect devices you don't need from your network. ...
  4. Test your modem and router. ...
  5. Use an ethernet cable. ...
  6. Get a VPN. ...
  7. Update your device drivers. ...
  8. Run computer updates.
Jun 24, 2024

How can I fix my internet speed? ›

How do you fix a slow internet connection?
  1. Restart your router.
  2. Check for background apps.
  3. Reduce the number of connected devices.
  4. Check for malware.
  5. Clear cache.
  6. Use an ethernet cable.
  7. Contact your internet provider.
Oct 22, 2023

How do you reset your internet? ›

Restart modem
  1. Unplug the power and Ethernet cables from the modem. ...
  2. Wait 2-3 minutes for the modem to fully power off. ...
  3. Reconnect the power and Ethernet cables to the modem.
  4. Wait for the Internet light to turn solid, then check if the internet is working properly.

How do I fix my internet data connection? ›

General troubleshooting tips for Android devices
  1. Open your Settings app and tap Network & internet or Connections. Depending on your device, these options may be different.
  2. Turn Wi-Fi off and mobile data on, and check if there's a difference.
  3. If not, turn mobile data off and Wi-Fi on and check again.

How to repair a Wi-Fi connection? ›

Internet & network
  1. Unplug the router and modem's power cords from the power outlet for 15 seconds.
  2. Plug the power cords back in.
  3. Check that all cords and cables are secure at both ends.
  4. Wait a few minutes, until the lights on the modem and router are working right. (See the device manual or manufacturer's support site.)

How do I get my full Internet speed? ›

What you'll learn:
  1. Move your router.
  2. Power cycle your equipment.
  3. Secure your WiFi.
  4. Upgrade to faster internet.
  5. Use the latest WiFi technologies.
  6. Replace your equipment.
  7. Update your firmware.
  8. Get a WiFi extender.
Dec 8, 2023

How do I check my Internet speed correctly? ›

How to Test Your Internet Speed
  1. Administer a Speed Test on Your Computer. The internet offers several websites that provide free Wi-Fi speed tests. ...
  2. Administer a Speed Test On Your Phone or Tablet. ...
  3. Administer a Speed Test on Your Wi-Fi Router's App. ...
  4. Evaluate the Results of Your Wi-Fi Speed Test.
Apr 12, 2024

How to make your own internet for free? ›

One of the easiest ways to get free WiFi at home is to turn your smartphone into a mobile hotspot. As long as you have cellular data service, you can generate a WiFi network from your phone that other devices can use.

How can I boost my internet signal for free? ›

How Can I Make My Wi-Fi Reach Further for Free?
  1. Find a better location for your Wi-Fi router. What is the cheapest way to extend Wi-Fi? ...
  2. Disconnect least-used devices. ...
  3. Switch to the 2.4 GHz channel. ...
  4. Restart your Wi-Fi router. ...
  5. Try updating your firmware. ...
  6. Connection Stabilizer Booster. ...
  7. WiFi Analyzer. ...
  8. NetSpot Wi-Fi Analyzer.
May 2, 2023

How can I get free Wi-Fi immediately? ›

How To Find Cheap or Free WiFi at Home Without Internet
  1. Government Assistance. Depending on your country, you can get government assistance with your internet connection package. ...
  2. Mobile Data. ...
  3. Consider Sharing WiFi. ...
  4. Find Public WiFi Zones. ...
  5. Visit Businesses Like Cafes. ...
  6. Go Halfsies. ...
  7. Shop for the Best Deals.
Feb 6, 2024

How can I get super speed internet? ›

Make sure to position your router in a central location in your home, away from obstructions and electronic devices that can interfere with the signal. Elevating your router off the ground and positioning its antennas vertically can also help improve signal strength and coverage.

How do I get max speed on my internet? ›

Here's how to increase internet download speeds and get the most out of your internet connection:
  1. Restart your computer. ...
  2. Close unnecessary apps and programs. ...
  3. Disconnect other devices. ...
  4. Download one file at a time. ...
  5. Scan for viruses. ...
  6. Update drivers and firmware. ...
  7. Clear cookies.
Jun 3, 2022

How do I increase my Wi-Fi speed? ›

10 Ways to Boost Your Home WiFi for a Faster Internet
  1. Place Your Router in the Perfect Spot. ...
  2. Reduce Interference from Other Electronic Devices. ...
  3. Adjust Router's Antennas. ...
  4. Choose a Better Frequency Band. ...
  5. Switch to a Better Channel. ...
  6. Limit Your Unnecessary Connections. ...
  7. Set Up Wireless Security.

How can I reduce my internet speed? ›

If you change the DNS settings on your router. The DNS servers that your router uses determine which websites your devices access. By changing the DNS settings to a slower DNS server, you slow down the internet connection for everyone in your house. Use a bandwidth limiter.

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