We all rely on the internet for everything from completing work at home to watching catch up tv or movies. As such, internet problems can cause headaches in many different ways.
Luckily internet connection problems are often easy to fix and require simply a reset of a certain device or an adjustment of a cable.
Unluckily, due to the number of devices and connections that make up a home network, it can be hard to find out exactly which one is causing the problems.
Our guide to internet connection problems will help you identify the exact problem with your network and then give you some ideas about how exactly to fix the problems.
This guide is for those who do have wifi connection, but can't actually get onto the internet.?
We recommend going through the list sequentially if possible. Although step 8) Contact Your ISP - could be tried much earlier in the process!
How To Check Your Internet Connection
1) Ping Testing
Ping testing is one of the best ways to troubleshoot problems with an internet connection. You can do this by pinging the router and by pinging websites.
This is a successful ping to Google. This confirms internet connectivity.
Notice that the pings are received 4 times successfully. Why? Because the ping packets left the computer, reached the destination (google.com in this case) and returned back again. So, in this example, there is no issue connecting to the internet. In this particular case, if there are internet issues, there may be an issue with the browser.
A ping will send packets of data to the website you specify and check the responses. If after doing this you don’t gain any replies from the website, it essentially confirms there is a problem with either your network, the website itself or your internet service provider.
This image shows two failed pings to Google. The 1st is by pinging the Google DNS name: google.com - The 2nd pings an IP address on the internet. In this case it is a Google server: 126.96.36.199
If you can ping 188.8.131.52 but cannot ping website addresses, this would suggest that there is an issue with DNS (Domain Name System). DNS maps IP addresses to website names and is essential for you to browse the internet. DNS issues can be down to your ISP or an issue with your computer.
It is also possible to use the ping method to check for issues between your router and your computer. To do this simply enter ‘ipconfig’ into your command prompt window, find your PC’s adapter, and find where it says 'Default Gateway'.
Here is an example output from typing 'ipconfig' (minus quotes) into Command Prompt (CMD):
The number next to this will be your router's IP address. To test the connection between your router and your PC, simply ping this IP address!
Here is an example of pinging the router/gateway successfully:
If you get replies after doing this, the connection between your router and PC is fine. If not, then your network’s problem is between your device and your router.
2) Check The Modem (if it is standalone!)
If you are connected to your router but not to the internet, the most obvious thing to do is go straight to where the internet comes from, your modem! (this is assuming you have a separate modem and router, of course) First, you can check it is still on and has power. If this is the case then check the connection between your modem and your phone line.
If these connections all seem fine then to really confirm there isn’t a problem with the internet, plug an Ethernet cable straight from your modem to your computer.
Run the ping tests again, like what we did above (skip the 'ping router' part!).
If the internet doesn’t work at this point, you may have to either phone your ISP to see if there is a problem on their end or alternatively try a new/different modem.
3) Check The Cables
If you can use the internet after connecting directly to the modem, then there could be a problem with the cable between the modem and the router. Firstly check the Ethernet cable is properly plugged into both the modem and the router, including being plugged into the correct ports on the router (ie. the WAN port, not the LAN port).
If this all seems ok, it could be a problem with the cable itself, so perhaps try connecting with a different Ethernet cable. If you try a different cable and still have problems, then move onto the next step.
4) Turn The Router Off And On Again (Known As A Reboot)
How many times have you heard this? LOL.
Turning the router off and on again may seem like a pointless thing to do, but despite this, it really can help fix a problems with a router. To do this, simply turn your router off, unplug it and leave it for a few seconds before plugging it back in again and turning it on.
If this doesn’t work, another thing you can do now is reset your router. While turning your router on and off may seem like it is the same as resetting your router, there is actually a slight difference. Resetting your router will erase any changes you have made to its settings.
As such if you choose to do this you will need to redo all your changes, as well as reconnecting all your wireless devices to your router.
If either turning your router off and on again or resetting, works, then happy days! If not go to the next step.
5) Connect A Different Device To The Wi-Fi
To rule out the fact that there could be a problem with your computer, a quick and easy thing to do would be to connect another device to your network and see if you can get internet access on that device.
If other devices connect to the internet, your problem could be with your computer or one of your computers adapters. If you can’t connect with other devices, then it’s time to take a look at your router!
6) Check Your PC
There are a number of reasons your computer could be struggling to connect to the internet even if you have a wifi connection. The easiest thing to do to check any problems with your computer is to use the troubleshoot problems option in your computer.
To do this on Windows, simply right-click on your network connection icon and select ‘troubleshoot problems’, or on Mac you can select ‘Diagnostics’ from the ‘Assist me’ section of the ‘Network settings’. Sometimes there will simply be an issue with the computer that it will quickly be able to fix.
While on your computer, it is always worth scanning for viruses as this can cause problems that may stop you from connecting to the internet.
Also consider clearing your browser's cache. This guide explains how to do this for each browser
7) Update Your Router’s Firmware
Be careful with this step. It might be an idea to contact your ISP first, if you are at all unsure. In fact if your ISP owns the router, you should definitely touch base with them first!
To do this, you need to log into your router’s settings through a web browser. From here you should be able to check your router’s firmware, and if there is a new version available, update it. The manufacturer's website will have the firmware versions for you to confirm whether or not you have the latest.
The problem of course if that if you can’t connect to the internet you can’t download the new firmware. One option could be to connect your router to a friend’s network and download the firmware there. Copy it to a USB stick or drive and upload from home.
8) Contact Your ISP
If after following all these steps, you still can’t connect to the internet, it could be time to contact your ISP. They will be able to check if there are any problems with their service or any of the equipment connecting you to the internet.
It's probably a good idea to contact your ISP before doing anything drastic, like factory resetting or upgrading the router's firmware.
9) Buy A New Router
If none of these options work you may find that you need a new router. To check if that is the case before you buy a new router you could always try to either connect an old router to your network or borrow one from a friend if possible.
As you have probably seen from this list, there are loads of potential reasons for problems connecting to the internet. To find out what the issue is, it is simply a case of isolating each piece of equipment that connects you to the internet and seeing if that piece of equipment works.
Once you have found the likely problem, issues can often be solved by simply doing a restart or reconnecting cables. On the odd occasion where nothing will fix your problem you may, unfortunately, need to either buy a new piece of equipment or get some specialist help from your ISP.
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