If you believe your Internet connection is down, here are some ways to test the health of your connection to the World Wide Web. Read on for some free or cheap options to fix the problem.
If you try to get to a site on the Internet and it will not come up, there could be a lot of reasons that do not involve you or your computer. The site itself may be temporarily unavailable. Your Internet service provider may have lost connectivity with the Internet due to a hardware or other problem. Or, of course, it could be a hardware or software problem on your end.
Before you do anything else, try to access a few very common Web sites. For example, try to connect to Google.com, Amazon.com, and Wired.com. If none of those will come up in your browser, then you probably have a problem of some kind on your hands. Just to make sure that it is not just your ISP’s upstream comms service provider, try to go to the main Web site of your ISP. It their site will come up, but nothing else will, the problem may well lie with your ISP and a phone call to them might be in order.
If it is a problem with a specific site, you can check on that specific site, too. Go to DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com. Type the URL of the site you are trying to get to into the box provided and click on the words “or just me.” This clever site will check on the site from where they are and display a message to let you know whether or not the site you are having trouble with is available to them and it is you that are having the problem or if the site is not available to them, either, and therefore is probably down.
If you can’t get to any sites at all, including that of your ISP, you have probably lost your connection to the Web. That could be almost anything. First, call your service provider and check with them. If they are having a problem, they will certainly know about it. If they are not having system-wide difficulties, they will lead you through a series of actions designed to check your modem, and your router if you use one.
It it is a modem problem, they will help you with it if you are renting the modem from them. They will probably not help you much with your router, since that probably belongs to you. All they will do is help you verify that they can “see” your modem and that it looks all right to them. If the problem is on your side of the modem, they may send someone out to look at it, but they probably won’t find and fix the problem without charging a fee.
If you cannot diagnose and fix the problem yourself, you’re going to have to get some help. Perhaps you have a friend that is more tech-savvy that you are and could come by and help you find the problem. If not, you may have to resort to your sometimes-dreaded local Geeks On Wheels service to come out and locate the problem.
Before you do that, do the following:
Turn off your computer and then turn off the power strip that serves it.
Turn off your modem and router, if you have one, and then turn off any power strip that you may have supplying power to those devices.
Check to see that all involved cables are tightly connected.
Take your dog for a short walk.
Turn on all of the involved power strips, power up the modem and router, then power up the PC.
That may solve the problem. If it does not, you can also begin to replace parts on your side of the modem. All there is, really, are ethernet cables (if your connection is hardwired), a router (either wired or wireless), and your computer itself. With a little imagination, and some help from your friends, you can swap these pieces out one by one until you find the one that is not working. If that works, except for the computer itself, replace the broken component. If it is the computer that is the problem, you’re back to a geeky friend or Geeks on Wheels.