Troubleshooting Your Internet Connection
Access Problems | Routers | Firewall Issues | Security Software | Terminology
If You Can’t Access the Web
We’ll assume that your Internet was working at an earlier point. If you are setting it up for the first time, the steps listed below were not designed with that purpose in mind. You need to follow the instructions that came with your router or modem.
I’ve included a series of definitions for the terminology used on this page.
Reboot the Computer
The first step should be rebooting your computer or device to see if that fixes the problem. You’d be surprised how often that simple step resolves issues.
If restarting your computer or device doesn’t work, you’ll have to check out each potential problem area to see if it restores access.
Check These Areas
The most likely problem areas related to a loss of Internet assess are one or more of the following:
Progress through the suggestions on this page to test alternative solutions. I’ve presented them in the order I’d likely progress if I were to be assessing the problem and looking for solutions.
If the issue is with your ISP or (rarely) a regional access issue, the resolution is beyond your control. You’ll just have to wait for your ISP or the Internet structure to repair the problem.
Everything Connects via a Network
Everything about Internet connection issues relates to how the various networks are operating. Unless the problem is directly related to your computer or device (tablet, smartphone, virtual assistant, Smart Home appliance) then it will involve either your own network or one that is further along the chain.
I’m going to use the terms computer and device interchangeably, because all that differs is how they are configured to connect to the Internet.
A network is a collection of computers and other devices connected and talking to each other.
- The most immediate network is the one inside your home or business (your home network).
- The next is your connection to your ISP (another network).
- Your ISP connects to the Internet (a world-wide network) through a regional collection of related networks.
Let’s have a look at how each of these may be involved in the chain of connections from your computer to the website or service you’re trying to reach.
Your Home Network
Your most basic home network is your computer connected directly to a modem provided by your ISP (usually via either a router or a router/modem combination).
The router provides access to all other connected devices connected to your network as well as to the Internet. Whether these devices can talk to each other (i.e., share information) depends upon how the network and the devices are configured.
Your network should be secured using secure passwords for both your router and your WiFi.
Your ISP (Shaw, Telus, Rogers, etc.) provide you with your connection to the Internet via their own network (which includes all their customers’ networks).
Your ISP then