We’ve all been there: that frustrating and confusing moment when you know you’re connected to the internet but it’s just not working. The thing is, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem.
Most of the time it’s simply your router acting up, but it could also be due to changes in the settings of your operating system. You’ll never learn how to fix your internet connection if you have no idea how to identify the culprit.
That being said, here are some tested ways that should fix your internet woes.
Check If Your Router is Turned On
This may seem like a no-brainer but believe it or not, the router may be the root of all your troubles. Check the LED status indicators of your router. If you don’t see any lights at all, the router is powered down or unplugged. If this is the case, ensure that you plug it back on properly and your power switch is in the On position. If your router fails to turn on, it could a faulty power strip, failed adapter, or a fried router.
Read Your Router Lights
If your internet is connected but not one page is loading, try to read the status lights found on the front part of your router. There may be thousands of router models available, but the lights will follow the same basic pattern:
- Ethernet – This light informs the user of the home wired network status if you have one.
- Wireless – This light informs the user of the home wireless network status.
- Send and Receive – This is where most blinks are happening, as these lights show the network traffic.
- Connect/Service – This light should remain solid because this indicates the connection to your ISP.
If the Connect/Service light is out or blinking, then there’s an issue between your ISP and your router. However, if the light is on and you still can’t connect to the internet, there may be an outage in your area. Call your ISP to confirm.
Restart Your Router
Here is another possible solution that’s been trusted for so long by both pros and non-pros alike: give your router a quick restart. It’s unfortunate, but not all ISPs actually provide their customers with quality hardware, which means if your router has been around for quite a while, it will start to malfunction. This has an impact on both the internal network and the external internet connection, and at times, a restart offers the quickest fix.
Inspect Your Cables
Before you throw your router against the wall out of frustration, at least check your cable connection first. You can find it usually enclosed on the side of your house, but sometimes critters may find their way on it and chew it up, or debris from a storm may have knocked loose some parts.
If the cables use a splitter, check if the connection is tight and connectors are crimped properly. If the splitter looks dirty or rusty, it may need a replacement.
Consider an Extender
Your internet connection may be too weak if you can connect wirelessly in one room but not another. Check the bars on the network connection icon: if you see one or two, it’s time you come up with a way to maintain a strong and stable internet connection.
If you have a dual-band router, try connecting to a different band. You may also change the location of your router or readjust its antennas to improve the range. If you can’t relocate your router, then an extender may be beneficial to boost the signal strength.
Check If Your Device is Configured Correctly
If the connection is working fine with your laptop but not with your smartphone or with another PC, check the problem device’s connection settings. If your smartphone’s the one acting up, check its Wi-Fi settings to make sure it’s turned on and that you are connected to the correct SSID or have the correct password. Check if Airplane Mode is disabled, too.
If you are using a Windows computer, turn on the Wi-Fi and check to see if it’s not in Airplane Mode. you can also run the Windows Network Diagnostic routine by right-clicking on the network icon in your system tray and selecting Troubleshoot Problems. Windows will try to correct common issues by resetting the adapter.
Your Network Driver May Be Outdated
An Internet or Wi-Fi error is sometimes caused by an outdated or corrupted network driver. You may have noticed a small, yellow mark in your network adapter or network device name — that’s an indication of a problem.
If you’ve tried the above-mentioned fixes and none of them seem to work, give these steps a try:
- Open your Device Manager, or press Windows +R and type “devmgmt.msc”
- Go to “network adapters and right-click on your network
- Choose “update network driver” then select “Search automatically for updated driver software”
Wait for Windows to try and fix your network driver.
DNS Cache Conflict
A DNS cache is where all your recent visits to websites are stored, so when you visit them again it will load quickly. But because of technical glitches, this DNA cache can become corrupted. Third-party software may have inserted something bad on it too, like a virus. Sometimes, banners and ads can also send malicious code and corrupt your DNS cache.
When a DNS cache becomes corrupted, you’ll have a lot of trouble connecting to the internet because there is a mismatch in the IP address. The only way to fix it is to perform a DNS cache flush.
Here’s how to do it:
- Open the command prompt on your computer
- Type this command: “ipconfig/flushdns” then press enter
Windows should flush your DNS cache. Try restarting your computer to see if your connection is back.
Consider Upgrading Your Router
God forbid you’re still using 802.11g or 802.11b because if you still do, it’s time to upgrade to a more powerful router. With a new router, you’re guaranteed an enhanced Wi-Fi range and a faster throughput.
Last Resort: Call Your ISP
Of course, you could’ve done this from the very beginning, but knowing basic troubleshooting is a life skill you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. But if you’ve done everything and are still experiencing Internet connection woes, it’s time to raise your white flag and call your ISP.
The issue may be on their end. You might need new equipment from them, like a cable modem or amplifier. If your internet issues happen at certain times of the day, your provider may be no longer able to handle the increased user load. This should be your queue to exit and find a new ISP.