Hands holding a tablet that shows a No Internet error message on the screen.

No internet connection?

Five steps to take when the world wide web is down

Your internet is down. Now what? This is a situation we have all faced, but do you know how to efficiently and effectively troubleshoot the issue? I want to walk you through the steps I usually take when trying to figure out why I might be having connectivity issues and whether it is worth my time and effort to call my internet service provider.

First, let’s define the two most common problems because they usually are reported as the same problem – the internet is down. One common problem may be that your internal home network is not functioning properly. The other is that you cannot access anything past your internal network. While the internet is down with both, they have different solutions. Here are five steps to take when troubleshooting your internet connectivity problems.

  1. Identify the devices without internet. The first step in troubleshooting is to eliminate the device from being the problem. This could be your laptop, cellphone, tablet or whatever device is having issues connecting. Most households have multiple devices that connect. The first step should be to check if your other devices are having issues as well. If just one device is having problems and all others are connecting fine, you can stop troubleshooting your network. It is a device issue.
  2. Is it a wireless issue? If multiple devices are not connecting to the internet, let’s narrow it down to connection type. Determine if the problem is with only wireless devices or all devices. If only wireless devices are not connecting to the internet, move on to step three. If the problem is with both wired and wireless devices, move on to step four.
  3. Reboot your wireless access point. If only wireless devices are having problems, it is more than likely your wireless access point, and you should reboot it. At this point, however, the internet is not actually down. You have isolated the problem to your internal wireless network.
  4. Reboot your router. If all devices, wired and wireless, are not connecting to the internet, the next place to troubleshoot is your router. The first thing you want to do is reboot your router and see if this resolves the issue. Most of the time it does. If rebooting your router does not restore your connection, you more than likely have a problem with your router or the internet service to your house is down.
  5. Call and report the outage. Before you call your internet provider, call your neighbor if they use the same internet provider to see if they are experiencing connectivity issues as well. If they are, it’s time to report an outage with your internet service provider. However, if there is not an outage in your area, you may have a faulty router. You can call your internet service provider and ask them if they can verify connectivity. In many cases the router is leased though the internet provider and they can order a replacement for you.

By troubleshooting before you call your internet provider, you will be better situated to help them determine the cause of the problem. You will have already rebooted your devices and eliminated this step altogether. You will also be able to provide useful information to help resolve the problem quickly.

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