How to Restart Your Wi-Fi Router

Catherine McNally
Editorial Lead, Internet & Gaming
January 24, 2022
3 min read

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Is your show constantly buffering on Netflix? Maybe you’re tired of seeing that dreaded “No internet connection” error when you’re trying to work from home? Whatever the case, we feel you.

Before you rage at your internet service provider (ISP), try restarting your wireless router to see if a refresh fixes your issue. Who knows, this simple fix could mean you don’t have to call customer support. That’s a win if we ever heard one.

Ready to give it a go? Let’s fix that internet and get you back online, pronto!

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Heads Up
Be careful: Restarting is not the same as resetting your router

While restarting and resetting your router sound the same, they actually mean two very different things.

Resetting your router will completely wipe any configurations you’ve saved and restore your router to its factory default router settings. That means you’ll have to set up your password, network name (SSID), and more all over again.

Restarting your router, which we’re covering in this guide, lets your equipment flush out any issues stored in the memory and cool off. All your configurations are still saved after a restart.

1. Unplug your router and modem

First, you’ll want to unplug both your router and modem from the power outlet in the wall. Next, you’ll want to unplug any connections between your modem and wireless router.

Then it’s time to step away. You want your router and modem to rest for a bit so the equipment’s memory has time to refresh. This will take about a minute or two—but letting your equipment rest for longer won’t hurt it.

Go make a cup of coffee, chat with a family member, or take your dog out for a walk while you wait.

Is it time to look for a new internet provider?

Is your internet constantly disconnecting? Or maybe it's just always slow? Either way, it might be time to look for a new internet provider. Take a look at our picks for the best internet service providers across the country and see which one might offer you a better deal.

Done with your ISP? Look for better internet providers near you.

2. Plug your modem back into the wall

After you’ve let your modem and router clear out their memory, you’ll want to plug your modem into the wall first.

We repeat, plug your modem’s power cord in first!

Don’t plug your router in just yet, and don’t hook up any other connections.

Now give your modem about a minute to power up. You’ll see the lights on the front of it blink or turn on and off, and this is normal. Once most or all of your modem’s lights steadily glow green, you’re ready for the next step.

3. Plug your router back in

Now it’s time for your router to start broadcasting that Wi-Fi signal. So go ahead and plug it back into the wall and reconnect it to your modem.

Once you’ve plugged your router back in, give it a minute to power back up.

Again, you’ll probably see lots of flashing lights at first—this is still normal as the router goes through the process of starting all of its processes back up again.

4. Update your firmware and apps

Once both your modem and router are powered back up, it’s time to do your due diligence and update your firmware and any apps your equipment uses.

Why should you update the firmware? Well, firmware contains updates for your router and modem that keep them running smoothly. These firmware updates might squash any performance problems and may even boost your internet speed.

Download firmware only from official sites

You should never download anything from a site you don’t know. Cybercriminals are always looking for ways to sneak malware onto your computer, so be sure you download firmware for your router and modem straight from the manufacturer’s website only.

Recap: How do you restart your Wi-Fi router and fix your internet?

Restarting your modem and router is as easy as unplugging all your equipment, waiting a couple of minutes, then plugging in your modem and plugging in your router after your modem has powered back up.

We also recommend updating your equipment’s firmware and apps to make sure you have the latest technical issue fixes and optimizations. Updated firmware can help you get faster internet speeds, and who could say no to that?

Now that you know how to restart your router, check these out next.

Is it time for a new router? Here's what to look for.

We've got more easy ways to speed up your internet—without paying a dime.


Do you still have questions about restarting your router? We can help.

You should aim to restart your router at least once a month. This gives it a chance to mend any issues, take a breather, and fix certain internet connection problems.

Also, if your internet is moseying along at a snail's pace, go ahead and restart your router even if it hasn't been a month yet.

It's recommended that you check for router firmware updates every three to four years. Some router companies may also send an email or other alert if they have a critical firmware update waiting for you.

If your router seems to be slowing down your internet, it's worth checking to see if there's a firmware update on the official manufacturer's site.

Internet company reps love to tell you to "power cycle" your modem, but what the heck does that mean? Basically, power cycling your router and modem is unplugging your equipment from the wall, letting it rest for a few minutes, and then plugging everything back in.

Power cycling, just like restarting your router, should help your equipment refresh itself and clean up any errors in its internal memory that could cause your internet to slow down.

Catherine McNally
Written by
Catherine McNally
Catherine has a degree in journalism and an MBA, and has spent the last 10+ years writing everything from Okinawa travel guides to stories on Medium. She’s been online since AOL CDs were a thing and is an unapologetic PC gamer. She believes the internet is a necessity, not a luxury, and writes reviews and guides to help everyone stay connected. You can also find her on Twitter: @CMReviewsIt.

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