What do you do if your Internet connection is not working?

Martin Brinkmann
May 29, 2017
Updated • May 29, 2017

Internet accessibility is essential to a lot of people. Some require it for their job, others for looking up things, research, shopping, or communication.

While it may not matter to some if the Internet works on a given day, it may be a huge problem for others. If you rely on the Internet as it is necessary for your job, then you are probably entering panic mode whenever the modem or router drops the connection, or dies outright.

This happened this morning to my Internet connection. It worked really well for the past year or so, but starting today, it went on and off in a ten minute interval.

While I can still work this way, it is anything but comfortable. Research has to wait, large downloads may not complete in time before the connection dies, and any management or moderation work is delayed as a consequence as well.

But, the issue led to the writing of this article. What do you do if your Internet connection is not working? I asked you the same question back in 2008, and would like to refresh it today.

While you may not be able to fix the connectivity issue on your end, you may mitigate the effect that it may have on your productivity.


One of the first things that you should do is contact tech support of your ISP or organization. You should do this after making sure that the issue is not on your side (check cables, remove power from modem or router, check status).

The sooner your ISP knows about the issue, the faster it may be resolved. This is also important if a technician needs to take a look at the issue. Same-day visits are usually out of the question, but any minute may count to get an appointment asap. (My ISP told me that they send out a technician on Thursday, go figure..)

Option 1: Postpone

If you believe that the issue is temporary, then you may postpone whatever you need to do on the Internet for other tasks that need to be done.

Say, your schedule has you clean the apartment, buy grocery, or go for your bi-weekly jog. You could reschedule, and start with one of those tasks right away.

You could also do other work on the computer, work that requires no Internet. Time to clean up the desktop, free up disk space, remove programs you no longer use, or jot down articles in Word or Notepad to paste them online once Internet connectivity is regained.

The benefit of this appraoch is that you don't lose any time, as you'd do those tasks anyway on the day. This works only obviously if the Internet tasks are not time critical.

Option 2: The alternatives

While your main connection to the Internet may not work at the time, you may have options to use another connection. The options depend on factors such as mobility and availability.

Here is a short list of alternatives that may be at your disposal:

  1. Your smartphone -- If you have a smartphone or tablet, you may use the device's Internet accessibility for some of the work that you do normally on the Internet. This won't work for all tasks though -- backup a web server, stream 4K videos, run desktop programs that require Internet -- but works for many.
  2. Wi-Fi connections -- Open wireless connections may be picked up, or you may take your laptop to visit a coffee place where you can use the Wi-Fi for free for as long as you sip on a coffee there.
  3. Friends and family -- While your Internet may be down, you may visit friends or family to use theirs for a period of time.
  4. Get an Internet Stick -- Here in Germany, you can buy so-called Internet Sticks from discounters such as Aldi or Lidl. They cost about 30 Euro, and provide you with Internet connectivity (they come with some credit, and you may recharge them right at the cash register or online) . These offers are provided as USB devices, and it is necessary that you sign up before you can use them. The account is activated on the same day usually (six hours or less), and works over the same frequencies that your smartphone and other mobile devices use.

Don't do this

Sometimes, when you enter panic mode, you may do things that you should not do in an effort to fix the issue.

For instance, if you assume that your router or modem is damaged, but don't know for sure, you should not buy a new one just to test the hypothesis. It is different if you have one lying around already.

Other things that you should not do usually (unless you know what you are doing):

  1. Changing the configuration or the modem or router.
  2. Making changes to the computer that you are using.

One of the things that you may want to do, but should not right away, is to cancel your account and order Internet from another ISP. You may want to consider this if your current ISP has a track record of Internet connectivity issues.

The reason why you should not do this right away is that it will take some time for the new Internet connection to become available (multiple weeks for instance), and won't help you right at the point in time.


What do you do if your Internet connection is not working?
Article Name
What do you do if your Internet connection is not working?
The guide provides you with advice on what to do if your Internet connection dies, becomes unusable, or if you experience other connectivity issues.
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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between name.com domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

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