Internet Not Working? Here’s What to Do.
Are you stuck on your phone's cellular network because your home internet is out? Can only play the Google Dinosaur game for so long? We feel you.
We've spent hours researching and compiling the most common internet issues, so we could create a comprehensive guide to help you get back on the information superhighway.
Here are six things you can do to potentially fix your internet connection.
1. Check your app
If the app or site you want to use is down, then unfortunately, you’ll just have to wait a few hours and try again. If you can’t wait, try using a different app or site to do what you need to do.
If none of these fixes help, you’ll need to dive a little deeper into your internet connection problem.
2. Check your device
Turn your device off and on again, and check its internet settings for anything wonky. Look for system updates, just in case your device isn’t running the most current software. Check for viruses and take a peek at your Mac XProtect or Windows Defender firewall settings Try switching browsers, even—Internet Explorer may not be around anymore, but that doesn’t mean other browsers can’t have issues.
You can also test other devices in your home to see if they, too, are having a hard time connecting to your Wi-Fi network.
If your PC’s having internet issues but your Wi-Fi connection seems to otherwise be fine, you may need to update the driver for your network adapter.
If your other devices are working well, then the one with the lousy connection is the culprit. If our tips don’t fix the issue, your device might need servicing. It might also be too old. Either way, you can switch devices and try the struggling one again later.
3. Check your internet service provider
Sometimes, an internet outage comes from the top. At Downdetector, you can see if your ISP is having a large-scale blackout. Also, check your provider’s website or app for an internet service outage message.
If your ISP turns out to be the problem, there’s not a lot you can do. It’s on your provider to get things up and running. But while you’re waiting, you can visit a public library for internet access. If that’s not an option, you can try something else, like asking your neighbors to borrow their bandwidth while you wait for your network to come back online.
4. Restart your Wi-Fi router
“Have you tried turning it off and on again?” There’s truth in this oft-repeated saying. If everything else fails, you need to restart your Wi-Fi router.
Catherine McNally, our senior internet expert, recommends the following:
- Unplug your equipment and wait.
- Plug your modem back into the wall. Let it power up.
- Plug your router back into the wall and the modem. Let it power up.
- Update your modem’s and router’s firmware and any related apps.
If your wireless router and modem are one and the same, combine steps two and three.
For more detailed information on restarting your Wi-Fi router, check out our router restarting guide.
If you can’t get your wireless network working, you can try plugging your computer directly into the router using an Ethernet cable. But that fix only works for computers, not for phones or tablets, and the physical connection can be unwieldy.
5. Contact your internet service provider
Check with your ISP about outages in case it's not just you.
Ensuring that your internet service provider isn't experiencing outages will save you time (and a headache) spent troubleshooting your device.
You can use the website Down Detector to search your ISP and check for outages.
If you don’t see service-wide outages and restarting the router on your own doesn’t change anything, it’s time to get your ISP involved. Reach out to your service provider through phone, email, app, text, or chat. (Your internet provider’s website or app should tell you the best way to contact them, and we've got phone numbers for larger ISPs in our guide to calling customer service.) If you're ready to make a switch to a new ISP, we've also compiled some tips for avoiding any cancellation fees.
Once you’re speaking with a customer service representative, follow their instructions to get your network back online.
Can’t get ahold of the customer service department and haven’t managed to get your internet running on your own? Try these ISP-specific guides. We’ve got troubleshooting help for the following providers:
6. Get a different internet service provider
It’s possible that you just have bad internet. If you constantly have a slow connection, here’s some info to help ou figure out why.
If you can’t get your internet working when your service goes down frequently, it might be time to look into a new internet service provider. It sounds drastic, but it’s really not—it may be the quickest and easiest way to permanently fix a network connection issue.
Here are the top internet providers we recommend.
|$19.99-$120*||75-2000 Mbps||1200 Mbps||View Plans|
|$55-$250†||300-5000 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$49.99-$89.99‡||300-2300 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$19.99-$89.99||30-1000 Mbps^||Unlimited||View Plans|
|$69.99-$299.99°||12-100 Mbps||Unlimited||View Plans|
Unfortunately, you can’t just choose any internet provider you please. Your options are limited by geography. Luckily, this ZIP finder tool shows you the internet service providers available where you live.