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Your router is the place that connects you to the World Wide Web. It's a huge inconvenience when it doesn't work. And it's even worse when you can't figure out why it's not working. You may need to troubleshoot your internet connection, and rebooting your router is the first step to diagnosing the issue.
But you need to reboot your router even if you don't think you are experiencing any problems. Keep reading to learn why you should reboot your router, how often you should do it, and the step-by-step instructions on how to reboot your router.
How often should I reboot my router?
How often you should reboot your router will depend on the performance of your internet speeds and the age of your router. You may need to reboot once a month or as often as every day. Depending on your internet usage, you may be able to stretch out to every couple of months.
You want to consider rebooting your router when you experience slow or no internet connections, need to troubleshoot issues, or want to update your firmware.
Keep in mind that rebooting your router is completely different from resetting your router. Rebooting will keep your router settings, whereas a reset will restore your router to its default factory state. You won't need to reset your router as often as you will need to reboot it.
Now that you know how often you should reboot your router, let's go into the different ways you can do it.
How do I reboot my router?
The specific instructions to reboot your router will vary on your internet service provider (ISP). You may want to do an internet search for how to reboot the router or call your ISP's customer support line for assistance.
Keep reading to find the general instructions to reboot your router and the different options you have to make it an easy process.
Manually rebooting your Wi-Fi router, also known as a power cycle, is probably the simplest method. You won't need to rely on another device or software to reboot your router, so it's often the most efficient choice.
Here are the steps you need to follow to conduct a power cycle:
Step 1: Unplug the power cord from the electrical outlet or remove the power cord from the power port on the router.
Step 2: Wait 60 seconds for the router to fully cycle down and clear its memory. Electrical current can travel through the capacitors for several seconds after being unplugged, so it's essential to wait long enough for it to fully shut down. If you don't, then you won't give your router enough time to reboot properly.
Step 3: Plug the power cord back in and ensure it's connected to the electrical outlet and the power port on the router.
Step 4: Wait another minute or two for the network to connect and get fully booted.
Through the router's app
Many ISPs provide an app to accompany their modems and routers. For example, CenturyLink has the My CenturyLink app. One of the features of this app is the ability to reboot your modem/router without having to actually touch it. Many popular router brands, like NETGEAR, also offer apps.
With a router app, you could be in a different part of the house and still reboot your router. You could even do it in a different part of the country. You can also schedule a reboot to automate the process.
Use the web interface
You can use your web browser to reboot your router. It's a good option if you don't have easy access to your router or if you can't access your ISP's app.
Each manufacturer will have a different set of instructions. So make sure you have the right instructions for your router. For this example, we'll go over how to reboot a NETGEAR router:
Step 1: Launch your preferred web browser from a device connected to your router's network.
Step 2: Enter "www.routerlogin.net".
Step 3: Type in the router username and password. You'll have created a password the first time you logged in.
Step 4: Click on Advanced and then select Reboot. This will start the reboot process.
Step 5: Wait for the reboot to complete.
Use a smart plug
There are many smart devices to help you automate your home. A smart plug is one such device. It connects to your wireless home network and usually comes with a remote control or a paired smartphone app. Then you can use the smart plug to control appliances or electricity in your home.
It's often used for tasks like turning on or off lights when you're away from home, starting your coffee maker from bed by using the app, or limiting your child's screen time by scheduling when your television is allowed to be on.
When it comes to your router, you can use a smart plug to automatically schedule a reboot. Or you can do it manually by using the smart plug's app or remote control. This provides you with a lot of flexibility and convenience.
Why should I reboot my router?
Rebooting your router is one of those tasks that is easy to ignore. But it can make a huge impact on your internet connection and can help protect your router from hackers.
Here's a quick overview of the benefits of rebooting your router:
Resolve basic connectivity issues
Simply turning your router on and off again can lead to faster internet connections.
Your router stores short-term memory (also known as the cache) that can build up. These days it's normal for several devices to be connected to a single Wi-Fi network. Consider all the internet-connected devices in your household, including smartphones, desktops, laptops, smart devices, e-readers, fitness watches, and more. It puts an increasing demand on that network's load.
If it has too many download requests, it leads to your router running out of memory or slowing down in performance. But a reboot will reset the memory storage and clear up the internet connection.
Routinely rebooting your router is part of good cybersecurity. When you reboot your router, it installs the latest operating system and firmware updates. These keep your router secure and up-to-date with the latest technology to thwart cyberattacks and potentially even malware.
You most likely have a temporary, dynamic IP address attached to your router. Cybercriminals will often try to hack your router through an IP address, so changing your IP address occasionally can help protect your router.
Help with overheating
Routers, just like computers, generate heat that needs to escape. Improper ventilation can lead to overheating, which can cause a router to not function properly or damage it completely.
Rebooting will remove the electrical currents from the router and can help it cool down. Before you turn it back on, you should move your router away from any heat sources and ensure there's circulation to prevent overheating.
If your router still has overheating problems, you may have too many devices connected to the router which could be causing it stress. If your router is an older model, it may not be able to process as well as it did in the past. In this case, you may need a newer router to fix the overheating issues.
When you begin to have internet or router problems, you should troubleshoot the issue. The first step, especially in a home or consumer environment, is to reboot your router. This helps you eliminate what might be wrong with your router and internet connection. Rebooting may be all you need to correct the issue.
But there's a limit to how many times you can reboot your router before you consider other options. If you find yourself rebooting multiple times a day, then you may have deeper problems. You could have faulty hardware or firmware. Or maybe your router is too old to handle your current technological needs. These problems can't be fixed by turning your router on and off again.
You may need to consider doing a full reset of your router and returning it to its original factory state. This may help it perform better.
Router reboot FAQ
When should I factory reset my router?
You should factory reset your router if you're rebooting it multiple times a day. You may also want to consider a factory reset if a reboot doesn't fix your internet connection or you still have slow internet speeds. A factory reset will return the router to its original settings and hopefully work at optimal levels again.
Will rebooting my router improve my internet speed?
Rebooting your router may improve your internet speed since it will reset the memory storage and free up space for a faster connection. A reboot can also help solve basic connectivity issues. But you may want to consider upgrading your internet plan if you have a high internet usage or multiple devices connected to the network.
How long do routers last?
Routers can last for three to five years before you should consider replacing them. Technology is constantly evolving and routers can get outdated. If rebooting and resetting your router doesn't improve your internet connection or your router easily overheats, those are signs you may need a new router.
Rebooting your router can help clear the cache, improve internet speeds, and keep your router protected from cyberattacks. Regularly rebooting your router can help with infrequent Wi-Fi coverage.
Another option is to get Wi-Fi range extenders. This will make your internet connection stronger in places in your home where the Wi-Fi signal is weaker.
If these choices don't work for you, then you may need to replace your router. A new router ensures you are using technology for the latest innovations. It's recommended to replace your router every three to five years. You may also want to upgrade your router if you're constantly having Wi-Fi issues and you've deduced your router as the issue.
Check out our other articles if you need help increasing your internet speed or have no internet connection.