This wikiHow teaches you how to troubleshoot your Internet network. While some issues can only be addressed by your Internet Service Providers (ISP), there are several steps you can take on your own to resolve minor to moderate network issues at home.
Method 1 of 2: Simple solutions
Step 1. Restart your computer
This may seem like a useless suggestion, but restarting your computer is often the simplest way to solve most problems you may encounter. A simple reset cleared up incorrect settings, which could lead to connection problems. And if it doesn't work, it only took a minute.
Restarting your computer usually also turns on your internet adapter (if it were turned off)
Step 2. Make sure your laptop's wireless adapter is turned on
Many laptops have a button or switch that turns the wireless adapter on and off. If you accidentally pressed that button, your computer will disconnect from the network. Press the button or flip the switch to turn your wireless adapter back on.
- You may have to hold the Fn button to be able to press the Wi-Fi button.
- Skip this step on a desktop computer.
Step 3. Restart your internet modem and router
The easiest way to do this is to unplug both your modem and router, wait a few seconds, and then plug them back in. Just like restarting your computer, this can fix the majority of minor internet problems.
Step 4. Do a soft reset of your network
With a soft reset, your router and modem will clear their cache and refresh. You can usually perform a soft reset by pressing the power button on the front or side of your router.
- Many modems can also be reset in this way.
- Sometimes you can reset your network by opening your router's page and pressing a 'Reset' button somewhere in the 'Advanced' or 'Power' options.
Step 5. Do a hard reset of your network
With a hard reset, your router and modem will forget all your settings and reset the network to factory settings (including the original network name and password). To do a hard reset, press the 'reset' button on the back of the modem for about 30 seconds, let the modem reboot and do the same for the router.
Usually the 'reset' button is a recessed button on the back of the modem and router, requiring a pen or paperclip (or something similar) to press the button
Step 6. Move closer to the router
Sometimes your computer or smartphone is too far away to connect. Move closer to the router and try connecting again.
Step 7. Make sure there is a good line of sight between you and the router
If you can't draw a line from the device connected to the Internet and the router without going through walls, appliances, furniture, or the like, the chances of a good Internet connection are reduced.
The best way to ensure a healthy, stable Internet connection is to minimize the number of obstacles between your connected device and the modem/router
Step 8. Try to use ethernet
Connecting your computer or game console to the modem/router with an Ethernet cable will make your internet faster when you're connected and make it easier to determine whether the problem is with your internet connection or with your equipment.
- If your computer does connect to the Internet through a direct connection to the router, the problem is likely with your computer's wireless reception.
- If your computer does connect to the Internet through a direct connection to the modem, the problem is likely with your router.
- If you can't connect to the internet through a direct connection to the modem, something is wrong with the modem or with your internet connection in general. You should contact your ISP's technical support to troubleshoot modem issues.
Method 2 of 2: Advanced solutions
Step 1. Clear your computer's DNS cache
The DNS cache is responsible for storing website addresses while you surf the web, making reaching those websites a lot faster; however, as websites update their addresses, the DNS cache may become outdated, leading to errors.
- Clearing the DNS cache solves problems such as websites not loading, especially if you can view the website in one browser and not in another.
- To clear the DNS cache on a mobile device such as a smartphone, simply turn it off and on again.
Step 2. Clear your browser's cache
Like the DNS cache, your browser's cache makes previously loaded sites load faster, but it can also lead to errors if the cache database becomes outdated.
To stay reasonably up-to-date, consider clearing your browser's cache once a month
Step 3. Try another website or program
There is always a chance that the website you want to visit has just gone out of service, or that the program you are using is experiencing server problems. Try another website or online program to see if you can connect.
- If possible, try another web browser. For example, you may have a problem with Chrome, while Firefox works just fine. If only a certain browser is having problems, read the instructions below to fix it:
- Internet Explorer
Step 4. Restore your connection
It could also be that a software glitch on your computer is causing the connectivity issues. Both Windows and Mac computers have built-in repair tools that you can use to fix the problem:
- Windows – Press ⊞ Win+R > type ncpa.cpl > click 'OK' > right click your network adapter > click 'Diagnosis' > follow the instructions on the screen.
- Mac – Click the Apple menu
> click 'System Preferences' > click 'Network' > click 'Help Me…' > click 'Diagnosis' > follow the instructions on the screen.
Step 5. Boost your Wi-Fi signal
If the issues you're having are signal related, it usually means interference and distance are the main cause. There are several things you can do to minimize interference and increase the range of your network:
- Add a second router to increase the range.
- Increase your computer's Wi-Fi reception.
- Create your own directional 'cantenna' for your wireless adapter.
Step 6. Run virus and malware scans
Viruses and other malicious computer infections can prevent online access. You can usually get rid of viruses by using the antivirus protection on your computer.
Step 7. Contact your internet provider
If nothing else works, this is the best action left. Explain the specific problems you are experiencing and request that a technician be dispatched to investigate the problem.