Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection

Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection
Reading Time: 6 minutes

We all know how frustrating it is when you can’t connect to the Internet. Especially when you’re trying to get some work done or access your email.

But a faulty connection doesn’t have to ruin your day. Sometimes, only your Internet service provider can fix the problem. But often it has something to do with the way your broadband connection is configured, and can you can fix it yourself.

Many things may be at fault: app or operating system updates, a misconfigured DNS, router settings, or even a faulty Ethernet cable.

Let’s look at the troubleshooting steps you can take to get your broadband connection working again.

Troubleshooting Your Broadband Internet

First you need to find out where the problem is.

If your Internet service provider (ISP) is not the problem, chances are it’s one of the following:

  •     Your router
  •     Your modem
  •     Your computer (its OS, applications, or network settings)

Check Your Browser

Often it may seem that you don’t have a good connection to the Internet because web pages are not loading correctly. But sometimes the only problem is that your browser cache needs to be cleared.

Your browser saves websites and website data so that when you visit a previously accessed website, the web page loads faster. But if the cache becomes outdated, errors can result. To keep the browser working properly, clear the cache at least once a month.

You can make sure that the problem is related to a particular web browser by trying a different one. If sites aren’t loading properly when you use Firefox, try Chrome or Edge.

Restart Your Device

Restarting your device may not seem like the most sophisticated way to salvage your Internet connection. But hey, as long as it works; and a reboot is often enough to fix problems with Internet connectivity.

Restarting your device will often clear out misconfigured settings that may be causing the problem. Restarting your computer will also turn your Internet adapter back on if it was off, another possible cause of the problem.

Even if the reboot doesn’t work, it only takes a minute to give it a try.

Check for Internet Outages

The Internet may be down in your area. To check whether others in your neighborhood are having the same problem, do a quick search on Twitter or Google using a mobile connection, see if the outage is reported at your ISP’s web site, or just call your ISP. If it turns out that the problem is on their side, ask how long the shutdown will last. If you’re in a hurry to get back online and the company expects to take more than a few hours to restore access, you may want to use your mobile device as a Wi-Fi hotspot or go to a public place with Wi-Fi, like a coffee shop, to get your work done.

Clear Your DNS Cache

Clearing the DNS cache can also solve a problem with connectivity.

The DNS cache is a record of all the websites you have recently accessed. Like the browser cache, it helps you to quickly load web pages that you have visited before.

The DNS cache can cause technical problems if there’s a problem in the storage banks or malware has inserted URLs into the cache without your permission. Flushing the cache often fixes the problem.

The exact process you need to follow depends on the kind of device you are using. Here are the procedures for the most common operating system and devices.

Windows

  1. Open the Windows start menu by pressing the Windows button on your keyboard or clicking on the Windows start icon in the bottom left corner of your screen.
  2. Find the Command Prompt program by typing “cmd” in the search field. Once the program cmd.exe appears in the program menu, click on it to open the program.
  3. When you’re at the DOS command prompt, type “ipconfig /flushdns” (there must be a space after “ipconfig”) and hit Enter on your keyboard. Once the DNS is flushed, you should see this statement: “Successfully flushed the DNS Resolver Cache.”

Entering this command will flush your DNS records and resolve any problems with DNS caused by pop-up ads or malware.

Mac

  1. Open the Terminal app in the utilities folder or search for it using Spotlight.
  2. Type in the command to flush the DNS cache. Different Mac operating systems use different commands to flush the DNS cache:
  •     Yosemite and later:

sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

  •     Yosemite 10.10 to Yosemite 10.10.3:

sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcache

  •     Mavericks, Mountain Lion, Lion:

 sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

  •     Snow Leopard:

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache

After you enter the command to flush your DNS cache, you will be prompted to enter the administrator password for your account. Then your DNS cache and any glitches that it contained will be gone.

Smartphones

iPhone and Apple Devices

  1. Switch off your device and then start it again.
  2. Switch off Airplane Mode or reboot the device to clear its DNS cache.

Android Devices

  1. Open Chrome and type chrome://net-internals/#dns in the address bar.
  2. Tap the DNS menu.
  3. Tap Clear Host Cache.

After clearing the DNS cache, test your Wi-Fi to check whether it’s working again.

Restart the Router

Simply restarting your router may re-establish your Internet connection, especially if the router has been running constantly for a long time.

If restarting doesn’t work, consider taking the more serious measure of resetting the router by pressing its reset button while it is plugged in. You may need to use a pin or the point of a pen or pencil; the reset button is usually very small to prevent it from being pressed accidentally. Bear in mind that if you reset your router, it will be restored to its factory settings. This means that you will have to reconfigure everything, including your SSID and password. So use this solution as a last resort.

Use an Ethernet Cable Instead of Wi-Fi

Using an Ethernet cable can help you figure out whether the problem has to do with your Wi-Fi router or with your connection as such.

  • If you can access the Internet after connecting your computer to your router with an Ethernet cable, the problem is most likely with your Wi-Fi reception. Incorrect settings or a corrupted DHCP configuration may be to blame.
  • If you can connect to the Internet when your computer is directly connected to your modem, but not when it is connected to a router, then the problem is most likely with your router.
  • If you cannot connect to the Internet when your computer is directly connected to your modem via an Ethernet cable, the problem is most likely with your ISP. If so, contact the company to report the problem. It may need to send a technician to your residence if the difficulty cannot be resolved remotely.

Using an Ethernet cable to connect your device to a router or modem speeds up your Internet access when you have access and also helps you determine the source of any persistent problem you do have with your connection.

Check Your Antivirus Software

Both scanning for viruses and turning off your virus software may help you fix a problem with your Internet connection.

Scan for Viruses

Performing scans for viruses and other malware may help you find the problem.

If your antivirus software does find malware that is interfering with your Internet connection, you may be able to re-establish the connection by simply letting your antivirus software deal with it.

Turn Off Your Antivirus Software or Your Firewall

Here at WirelessWizard, we recommend having antivirus software and a firewall installed and running on your computer at all times. But if either of these is incorrectly configured, it may cause a problem with your Internet connection.

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So it may help to try turning off your antivirus software or firewall and see whether doing so fixes the problem.Your antivirus software will probably warn you that your computer will be unprotected from viruses and malware when you try to turn it off. You will have to authorise it to do so by clicking on an option saying “Turn off anyway” or something similar in a warning window that pops up.

Update Your Operating System

Sometimes the operating system is disrupting your Internet connection. OS vendors sometimes release fixes to resolve such problems. Of course, you must connect to the Internet somehow in order to initiate an OS update. If you don’t have an alternative method of accessing the Internet yourself, you may have to find someone who does have a working Internet connection or go to a public place with Wi-Fi access.

Here is how to update your OS in Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android.

Windows

  1. Go to Windows Settings, then Update and Security, then Windows Update.
  2. Click Check for Updates
  3. Wait for Windows to find updates (if any) and install them

It is important to avoid interrupting the update. Don’t try to turn off or restart your computer while the update is taking place.

Windows may restart several times during the update process. Once the update is complete, try again to connect to the Internet. If the problem persists, try one of the other troubleshooting methods.

MacOS

  1. Go to System Preferences from the menu.
  2. Click Software Update to check for updates.
  3. If an update is found, click the Update Now button. At this point, you can also click on More Info to see more details about the various updates and select specific ones if necessary. You may also have to enter your administrator password to start the update.

The update will also automatically update all your apps. If you prefer to have MacOS install updates automatically in the future, select Automatically keep my Mac up to date.

iOS

The method of updating the operating system on an iPhone or iPad is very similar to the method used for updating MacOS. Just make sure that your device is plugged into a power outlet so that the update does not get interrupted (which could cause serious problems with your device).

Android

  1. Connect your Android device to a power outlet to make sure that the update is not interrupted.
  1.     Make sure that Wi-Fi is turned on.
  2.     Open Settings by tapping the gear icon on your device.
  3.     Tap About Phone.
  4.     Tap Check for Updates.
  5.     If you find a new update, tap Install Now.

After following these steps, your Android device will reboot. You can then try again to connect to the Internet.

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