Resetting your router is one of the first things to try if your internet connection goes down. Restarting your router will reset your connection settings, stop malicious attacks on your network, and start unwanted devices on your network. Restarting your router will also resolve a wide range of speed and connectivity issues.
Here’s how you can reset your router manually and remotely, along with some important things you need to know about restarting your router.
Step 1: Physically unplug your router and modem
While your router may have a built-in option called Reset or Reboot, you should be careful about using them as they can initiate a factory reboot and erase all of your current settings. Instead, unplug your router and modem (you can have a combo unit, in which case unplug it) from whatever they’re connected to (including between themselves and their power sources).
Once unplugged, leave the router alone for about a minute to make sure that the router has completely cooled down and that your devices have all registered that the Wi-Fi network is indeed down.
Now go back and reconnect the modem to its power source. Wait a bit for the modem to warm up and be ready to transmit its smooth internet connection – one more minute should do the trick. Now plug the router back into the modem, jack, and all other necessary connections. Wait a few minutes for the router to shake hands with everyone and re-establish your wireless internet signal.
Step 2: Update your firmware
Firmware is the complete software that keeps your router running. Although the firmware on the router does not update as often as computer operating systems, it receives occasional updates, especially when there is a major security issue. Your next step should be to download any new router firmware so that any router vulnerabilities that might exist are fixed. For this you will need your router’s connection information.
Typically, you can use an app or administrator site to check the firmware and then download it. Here’s how to access the Linksys setup. Here’s how to do it with TP-Link and with Netgear. We also have a more detailed guide to common brand router connections. Each brand of router, even the most obscure ones, should have its own instructions for accessing these administrative tools. One of the options, once connected, will be to update the firmware, update the router, or something similar. Choose this option and follow the instructions.
Please note that you cannot use your Wi-Fi while the router downloads and implements the firmware fix. This usually doesn’t take more than about five minutes, but it’s always good to keep in mind. Never try to shut down or disturb your router while updating the firmware, as this may cause serious problems.
If the upgrade process returns your router to its factory default settings, follow our guide to set it up again.
Step 3: Update all related apps
Many modern routers offer applications that you can download to mobile devices to manage your router settings or view router usage reports.
If you are using any of these apps, you should also visit your app settings and update to the latest version. It is a small but important step that you should take. The same is true if your router uses a voice assistant app or something similar.
Step 4: change your password
Are you still using the default password for your router settings? Since you’ve just logged into admin controls, you probably have a good idea. A lot of us are guilty of keeping the default password set for all that admin stuff because we rarely use it. Unfortunately, it makes hacking a router a lot easier, and since there is big news about router hacking now, many hackers are going to wake up and wonder if they should join in on the action.
This means that now is the time to switch from the default password to a strong password of your own (and then store it in a password manager). The same admin tools that helped you update your firmware can also help you change your password. Look for an option to change the password or login information.
Reset a router remotely
Maybe you don’t have physical access to the router, or your router is in a less accessible location and you’re moaning about accessing it. For many routers, you can restart by going to the correct website. You’ll need to know your public IP address for your router – and there are some websites that can help you with that. Find your public IP address, and that should give you access to your router’s administrative page (this is also a good idea for the above steps if you don’t know how to find this website). Again, your password information will be needed here.
Although each brand of router has a different type of site, most offer options to restart your router remotely. Search the site for the word “restart” or look at your router’s tools until you find the right option.
Note: Make sure you reboot / reset and do not do a full factory reset. For router applications, in particular, the reset options are often factory resets, not simpler reboots. Look carefully at the description before you start the process. Otherwise, you might find yourself disconnected from Wi-Fi when your router resets your default settings.
How often should you reset your router?
Most people only reset their router to fix a technical problem, but that’s not the only time you should do it. Routers are similar to computers in that hard resets promote healthy devices, and resetting a router can also clear memory, which is essential when you have multiple devices or an older router. Resetting your router can also prevent malware attempts – in fact, the FBI even recommends resetting the router for this reason.
Schedule a router reset every two months and mark it on your calendar so you won’t forget it. Forgetting to reset your router isn’t the end of the world, but occasional resets will improve the health and performance of the device. As you have seen in this article, resetting the router doesn’t take a lot of time or effort, so it’s worth doing every once in a while.
If you are having router issues even after a reset, you can check out our guide to common Wi-Fi issues and how to fix them. Keep in mind that not every tip in the book will save a router that’s on its last legs. If you’ve tried everything to no avail, it might be time to shop around for a replacement router and put your old one to rest.