Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Home networks or other small LAN can stop working for various reasons, but there's a simple reason home networks stop working that's often overlooked.

I'm not able to reach some websites, and the list seems to be growing. I've checked your other articles on the topic, but nothing seems to help. Now, all of a sudden, I can't reach anything. Even my email doesn't work. What's going on?

There are so many reasons that things can go wrong, sometimes it's a wonder things work at all. However, once configured properly LANs tend to be fairly stable.

That is, until they're not.

This might be a problem that I keep forgetting about myself. If it is, it has a trivially simple solution. Until it happens again.

Reboot your router.

Seriously - pull the plug on it, wait 30 seconds, plug it back in. If you have a separate broadband modem, reboot it at the same time.

You might have to reboot your PC at this point as well, to force it to get a new IP address.

If everything suddenly starts working more quickly and more reliably - the problem was the router.

"A reboot is a quick, and easy solution to try."

It's not a bad router, per so, it's just that, well ... these things happen. It's one of the many reasons that "Reboot" is one of the first steps in diagnosing computer problems. It puts the computer - or in this case the router - in a known clean initial state.

Routers are really small computers. As such they have to do things like manage memory and run programs - which can sometimes bog down, and even halt, after a lot of use due to software design issues - most typically internal memory management and memory fragmentation within the device. When that happens, they stop functioning, or they function erratically. For example, some websites work, others don't. Maybe some are slow, or maybe everything is slow.

Routers are also electronic devices - and are sensitive to power surges, even cosmic rays, than can sometimes cause erratic behavior.

A reboot is a quick, and easy solution to try.

Every month or so I find that things aren't operating as smoothly as I like, or something stops working on my own home network. So, I trek down the basement and pull the plug for a few seconds. After powering it back on, by the time I've walked back up to my office, everything is working smoothly once again.

(Actually, I usually grumble and wonder "ok, what's happening now?" for a while before I suddenly remember, slap my forehead, and head downstairs for the reboot. You'd think I'd remember.)

Article C2793 - September 21, 2006 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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33 Comments
Mark
September 21, 2006 6:06 PM

Another trick that I often use before rebooting my computer is to type Ipconfig into the command prompt. It doesn’t always work, but in cases where the computer has been dormant (such as with my laptop), or if my network cable has been unplugged for a while, it often helps and avoids my having to close out every single program and browser window I have open....

Lori
September 23, 2006 6:09 AM

I have done what Leo suggested also, and it often solves the problem. However, I found another trick to try when having problems. Restart your computer in safe mode, and choose the option that says "use last known configuration that worked". This has saved me many times from having to call tech support. I had problems accessing the internet no matter what I did, so I rebooted to safe mode, then removed all unnecessary programs. I ran my spyware programs, and found some nasties that didn't show up previously. I cleaned them, then ran a quick disk defrag, and ta da! no more problems. It's possible you have some hidden spyware lurking in your system. PS--When you boot into safe mode, don't use the option that allows internet connection, you want to be completely off line while doing all these things. Reboot your computer after you try these tricks, and hopefully everything will be up and running! Good luck

Sam
September 24, 2006 12:53 PM

OK, Leo, I've been where you're describing and ended up rebooting the router, but I've always been puzzled why only ONE of our simultaneously running laptops would lose their connection while the others seem unaffected. Rebooting the router fixes it, but I could never understand why, if it was the router, why wouldn't be affecting ALL the computers' connections?

Leo Notenboom
September 24, 2006 6:09 PM

Eventually it will. It has to do with what kind of operations the individual computers are performing, what kind of requests they are making of the router, and how well the firmware in the router is written.

raghvendra
September 24, 2006 10:02 PM

Hi Leo!!!!
i read your articles they were very good and usefull for me. thanks a lot for it.

" CAN YOU TELL ME HOW CAN I MAKE CHANGES IN MY EXPLORER WITHOUT USING ANY THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE."

Bill
September 27, 2006 8:53 PM

Newly installed AV Software and Firewall Software can block alot of internet and network features as well. Been burned there many times

wendy
October 14, 2006 10:30 AM

Hi Leo,
The problem I have has been driving me nuts, My network was fine and working normal, then about a week ago my fiance turned on his pc and the internet connection went down, but the LAN is still working.
Nothing i have already tried works but what i have established is that switching his pc on and going straight into bios crashes the internet connection even with the LAN cable unplugged! My childrens pc on the other hand does not have this problem but also loses the net when he switches on his pc. We have even tried using an extention cable to plug his pc into a different circuit to no effect. PLEASE CAN YOU HELP??

Kind regards

Wendy.

Gina
January 17, 2007 10:14 AM

My wireless laptop connection always gets disconnected when my ISP changes the IP Address. Unplugging and plugging it back in does re-establish my internet connection; but is there some setting I can change to avoid having to climb the stairs (where my router is connected to my desktop and cable modem) every time this occurs? I'm not lazy, but I am disabled with spine problems and climbing the stairs is not easy for me.

I'd appreciate any help you can offer as I prefer to keep my desktop, modem and router where it is. Thank you.....Gina

Anonymous
February 5, 2007 3:34 AM

Recently after downloading uTorrent and testing it out for quite some time, I soon noticed that my internet was not responding the way i wanted it to. I was able to access MSN and 3rd-party programs however as soon as i opened my internet explorer (IE7) it seems to work fine. As soon as i close it, i am unable to connect with an error saying that it is unable to connect to the internet.

I believe that it may be some problem with my router however this is constant and quite aggravating to repeat the process of turning on and off my modem/CPU.

I would greatly appreciate any help or suggestions to save me from going to a technician to fix the problem.

Anonymous
March 3, 2007 5:45 PM

I have the same problem with uTorrent, rebooting the router helps to fix it. It seems that all of the data uTorrrent passes through the router eventually plugs it up (for lack of a better term), and rebooting clears it out. I have an older d-link wireless B router, but it never had a problem with other p2p.

suray
March 31, 2007 12:11 AM

I am also facing the same problem, after running the uTorrent for a while my router stops responding. if any one knows the problem please update me.. BTW i am using Bel
kin router.

Ravindra Dhande
May 25, 2007 11:15 PM

Hi Leo, recently i have observed that all websites on a particluar server not working on my PC, on others it is working, Can you tell me any thing wrong at my end, or my ISP providers end, or at the SERVER end,

Has the Server bloacked my IP? if yes what can be the reason? The server guys say its not blocked when i called them?

The ISP guys say its working fine with all IPs near to my IP its only my IP thats not working. So its my server prob and not the ISP prob.

Or is it a VIRUS?

Or is it possible that some one has HAacked my PC.

I had download accelerator on my PC that now i have removed it.

Or, what it is.

I am using 512KBPS cable modem net.

All other sites working fine. Only this servers sites not opening......

Sharon bettney
July 18, 2007 12:10 AM

I cannot get an internet connection on my laptop after around 7.30 every evening, even though the pc in the same room still has connection! Any ideas?

Giovanna
September 20, 2007 10:54 AM

Hello Leo,
Maybe you can help, can't access my internet on my home computer I have Comcast, they even sent a tech to look at it, and now he is saying its the computer, the local connection is gone and the back of the computer there are two lights, the top one is yellow and the bottom is green, don't know what to do, please help. My husband is thinking of wiping everything and start new??? we can't afford it to take it to a computer tech.
thank you, I'll be waiting for your response, anyone knows what could be wrong? I have been reading your articles but so far I've seen nothing on this problem. oh I have AVG firewall.

Daniel
January 20, 2008 7:27 PM

Hey! Thank you! very useful. There is one problem though. I am rebooting my router like every 3 days. It is getting annoying. Is there anyway I can clear up the memory? Is there something on my computer I can to clear traffic. I would appriciate it is you e-mail me as soon as possible. Thank you for your time.

Leo A. Notenboom
January 22, 2008 5:40 PM

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Not that I'm aware of. Sorry.

Leo


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Adam
February 20, 2008 7:39 PM

maybe you can help me, while using a P2P network like bittorrent, I lose my internet signal, but I am still connected to my router. I have tried a router swap just to make sure that it wasn't the problem.

Julie
February 23, 2008 1:44 PM

Leo, THANK YOU! I, too, tend to forget these most fundamental rules: Keep It Simple, and Start From The Beginning. This is not the first time I've come here for advice on what to do when all my network connections suddenly "disappear". And -- just like the last time -- a simple router reboot took care of the problem. Maybe I'll remember to START with the reboot the next time this happens! And, hopefully, I don't spend a full day testing OTHER theories -- to no avail -- before remembering to reboot.
Thank you, again, for the reminder. :)

Michel
June 19, 2008 3:06 PM

Hello, I hope you can help. I have a new internet connection, and to the router 2 computers are connected: mine and that of my neighbor. We have both winXP, The internet is working fine on my neighbor's computer, mine was working fine at the beginning, then i started facing a problem: after about 10 to 30 minutes after i turn on the computer, i receive a notification telling me that the connectivity is limited, and the ip address changes from 172.24.97.* to a private one 169.... I have to shutdown and then turn on my computer for the connection to work again. I tried setting a static ip address, and it didn't work. The problem is not whith the physical connections, since the same network cable works fine when i plugs it in the laptop. I connected the computer to a different interface of the router and i had the same problem. Firewall is off. (all the settings are the same as that of my neighbour). Any suggestions please?

Bill
July 23, 2008 12:48 PM

Ihave a D- Link Router WBR-2310
Connected to my dektop Comp. My laptop works great.and very happy with perfomance.

My son when visiting one day plugged in his laptop. Indications were excellent signal,however
when we tried to access internet, message shows up this page cannot be displayed no internet connection
Any help or advice appreciated

Jason
January 4, 2009 2:19 AM

i kinda have the same problem but with mine im on my pc and if i open up just any page my internet just stops working i gotta go into my network connections disable my current connection then re enable it for it to work again this is starting to get worse and worse some times i click my internet exploreer and it dosnt even load the home page... could u help me thnx

Nelson
April 15, 2009 6:23 PM

I have windows vista. I have a At@t for ISP. I have a belkin wireless router,along with my regular DSL router AT@t gave me. I only get local internet at home but at work it picks up both local and internet with no problem. I also tried connecting straight to DSL wire and have the same problem local only access. Could it be my router from AT&T or maybe my Belkin wireless router???

jeanette
May 8, 2009 1:42 PM

my desktop does not work in my house neither does anyone la[tops? the work on the porch, but not anywhere in the house. why doesn't it work?

Frank
July 14, 2009 5:55 PM

Hello Leo,
I've been reading online, and I'd seen that running your network with a static IP helps for fixing network problems. Will this end my having to reboot my router?

Well, there's no way for me to know without all the specifics (like why you feel you have to reboot your router at all), but in general: no.
- Leo
15-Jul-2009

Truth
January 10, 2010 2:16 AM

Why don't the router (and modem) manufacturers make on / off switches instead of requiring us to pull the plug and then fumble around behind the unit trying to plug it back in? Kind of reminds me of iMacs, where it seemed to me the Apple folks were so (overly) confident their machines would never crash having the 'hard reboot' plug in the back and a button in the front that would not reboot when the machine inevitably and frequently froze up seemed like a good idea to them.

inderjeet singh
January 14, 2010 8:49 AM

Hello, I am using dlan service for my internet. But it stop working when i connect my laptop to power and it works fine when laptop running on battery

Raymon
February 15, 2010 9:37 AM

I had a homepage for over a year. Opened on all my computers. Now, it will not open on my lap top. It does open on my other computer, just not my lap top. also, when I go to the home page for this page everything opens on this page except the one I used for my homepage. can you help me...

TERRY
March 10, 2010 6:08 PM

My Dynex g router stopped working on all computers. I rebooted my main computer..still did not work. I the router bad? Does it need to be replaced. A friend said he leases his router because they do not last long. If it needs to be replaced, is it safe to purchase one re-furbished?

Reboot the router, first. I have no experience with that brand, so I can't speak to it's quality or lifespan. Mine typically last several years. Routers are inexpensive commodities these days - I'd buy a new one.
Leo
11-Mar-2010

nida
May 8, 2010 11:44 AM

my internet connection becames unplugged sometimes.
n also shows no connectivity or limited connection.
so how to fix it??

janzen
September 15, 2010 11:33 PM

wont the settings of the router be reset when we on/off it?

janzen
September 15, 2010 11:35 PM

heres a problem..we cant access our webmail..the server is on our network..but 3 pcs cant access our webmail..when we access it outside the network..we can open it..i really dont know whats going..hope u could kind sir..
many thanks

Chris
August 25, 2011 2:13 PM

I experienced the frustrating problem of certain sites not loading in the browser. Thought it must be DNS problem. Tried all manner of solutions including flushing the DNS cache. Eventually checked the router’s settings and found that a built in parental control thingy which blocks sites based on key words was activated. It was causing the problem even though there were no key words entered! It is a Sky sagem router/modem by the way.

Chris
March 2, 2013 11:11 PM

I use wifi alot with my apple iPad my mobile phones and i am with EE. Can it be interfered with from someone else on the area using EE i know this because my apple device picks its signal. I don't use that connection as its a secured network. But can their affect my internet connection.

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