How to identify why you can’t connect to the internet and troubleshoot accordingly

Before you call your provider, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot your poor

Before you call your provider, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot your poor internet connection.
Before you call your provider, there are a few ways you can troubleshoot your poor internet connection.

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  • Your internet may not be working for several reasons, including issues related to your device, its signal strength, or your router. 

  • It can be difficult to identify the source of internet connectivity problems, so you may have to run multiple tests to pinpoint the issue. 

  • If you can’t troubleshoot the issue yourself, calling your internet provider is your best bet. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

One of the most frustrating things that can happen is when your internet stops working. And it can be tough to know why. Is it your device? Your router? Your internet provider? Local power issues? 

Finding the answer to why your internet isn’t working usually requires a bit of troubleshooting. 

How to troubleshoot your internet connection if it isn’t working

To save you time, here are the most common causes of interrupted internet service and how to fix them. 

Check your connection on a different device

If your internet is working on one device, but not another, the problem is most likely with the device itself. Here are some common issues and solutions for individual device connectivity:

1. Ensure your Wi-Fi is on and transmitting. 

If your network doesn't appear on the list of available networks, something is wrong.
If your network doesn’t appear on the list of available networks, something is wrong.

Melanie Weir/Business Insider

2. Double-check you’re connected to a network.

Viewing your connection can tell you whether your Wi-Fi signal is out or disconnected.
Viewing your connection can tell you whether your Wi-Fi signal is out or disconnected.

Melanie Weir/Business Insider

3. You may be too far from your Wi-Fi router. Check your signal strength to see if you need to purchase additional routers or extenders to boost your signal.

4. If all else fails, reboot your device. This usually fixes any bugs that can cause issues with an internet connection.

Verify whether the site you’re trying to access is experiencing loading issues

Sometimes sites go down and make it look like our internet is faulty when the problem is on their end. Try a different website and see if it loads faster than the one you’re trying to go to. 

If it does, go to DownDetector.com and check if other people are reporting issues with the site. If they are, you have your answer. If they aren’t, try to access the site on a different browser instead.

Check DownDetector to see if the site you want to access is having issues.
Check DownDetector to see if the site you want to access is having issues.

Melanie Weir/Business Insider

See if your router is working properly

Every router has symbols and lights that mean slightly different things. Check the manual that comes with your router to see what these symbols mean, but pay extra attention to the one that signals a connection to the internet. If this light is off, you’ve found your problem. 

Check the indicators on your Wi-Fi router.
Check the indicators on your Wi-Fi router.

Melanie Weir/Business Insider

If you need to restart your router, you can do it in a few easy steps. 

1. Unplug the router and modem from the power source.

2. If your modem has backup batteries, you’ll need to remove those as well for the reboot to work.

3. Wait 30 seconds.

4. Plug the router and modem back in, and replace any batteries you removed.

5. Wait for your internet to reconnect. 

Reach out to your internet provider

If your router and modem indicate that your internet is connected, but you can’t get online on any of your devices, or if you tried rebooting and the light will not come on, you’ll have to place a call to your provider.

They may walk you through a new troubleshooting process or inform you that there is an outage in your area.

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