How to Troubleshoot Your Internet Connection
PC Magazine|March 2021
Do you have a full house of social distancers working, gaming, streaming, and news binging, all at the same time? Before you schedule a service call with your cable company, check out our tips for troubleshooting your internet connection.
JOHN R. DELANEY & WHITSON GORDON

TRY ANOTHER DEVICE OR WEBSITE

Start with the obvious: Is the problem happening on only one device or all your devices? If your computer’s having problems, see whether your tablet can connect to the internet or whether your spouse or roommate’s laptop works. If the problem happens on only one device, you can safely narrow it down to that particular machine.

Make sure Wi-Fi is enabled and that you’re connected to the proper SSID using the correct password. If you’re running Windows, right-click on the network icon in your system tray and select Troubleshoot Problems to run the Windows Network Diagnostic routine. This can sometimes correct common issues by resetting the adapter. Also, check your network adapter settings to make sure the adapter is using the correct gateway address and other settings.

Similarly, try another website. If you can visit other websites without issue, it’s likely that the problem is with the website you’re trying to visit, and you’ll have to wait for them to fix things on their end. (You can also try typing the website’s address into downforeveryoneorjustme.com—if the site appears to be up but isn’t working for you, try visiting it in an incognito window, another browser, or clearing your browser’s cache and cookies).

SCAN FOR VIRUSES

Sometimes your internet connection can be affected by malicious code on your computer. To find out, do a scan for spyware, viruses, and malware, all of which can have a significant impact on your web-surfing speed and overall system performance. Windows 10 comes with Windows Defender built-in, which can do the job nicely—but there are plenty of free and subscription-based utilities available as well.

CHECK YOUR INTERNET PACKAGE

If your internet is working, but it’s working slower than expected, head to a site like Speedtest.net and run a speed test. You’ll get a number in megabits per second denoting the speed your computer is actually experiencing.

From there, head to your ISP’s website and check your bill—if the number on your bill is the same as your speed test, then you’re getting the correct speeds you pay for. Too slow? You’ll have to upgrade to something faster. But it your speed test is significantly slower than the speed you pay for, then you are indeed having problems and should continue with troubleshooting.

BYPASS YOUR DNS SERVER

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