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How To Restart A Router? [Ultimate Guide]

Learn how you can restart your router to fix multiple connection issues.

  Usually, when your internet stops working, the problem lies with the router and not the ISP. However, many people are afraid to touch the router as it might cause another problem they can’t fix. Moreover, most of the time, you must reboot your router. Therefore, it’s important to learn how to restart a router.

Key Takeaways

  • Restarting, rebooting, and power cycling a router means the same thing. However, resetting a router is different.
  • Instantly turning the router back on after turning it off will prevent the cache from being cleared, and the problem will persist.
  • If you have a modem and router, remember to unplug the router first and the modem second. Do the reverse when you’re plugging it back.
  • Rebooting can solve many problems, and it should be your first fix when troubleshooting problems.

Restart Or Reboot A Router?

When talking about routers, there are a few terms that IT experts use almost interchangeably. For example, should you restart your router or reboot the router? How about resetting your router? You must have heard these terms if you have called an IT expert during a no-internet crisis. Although, only two of these terms mean the same thing.

To explain, restarting and rebooting a router is the same thing. All you do is flip the button of the router and then turn it back on. But resetting a router, on the other hand, will change all of its settings to the default factory settings.

So, you may or may not want to reset your router, depending on the circumstances. Usually, there’s no need to reset your router for your everyday network problems. You should only do so if advised by an IT expert. Regarding resets, if you’ve recently had a malware infection and don’t know what to do, read through our article on resetting a PC.

How To Restart A Router Properly

Although it seems easier to unplug and re-plug the router from its power source, it can cause further problems. Unplugging and re-plugging the router instantly might not drain its residual power, and the act may be useless. For that reason, we will explain how to reboot a router through various steps which must be taken.

Unplug The Router

Firstly, shut down the router if there’s a clearly defined on/off button. Secondly, if you have a router and a modem, you must unplug the router first and the modem second. However, if you have an inbuilt modem in the router, then you only need to unplug the router.

Unplugging router to restart it.
Unplugging a router. Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
If you don’t have dedicated on/off buttons, do not press any buttons and directly unplug the router. There’s a chance other buttons could be the reset button, which will take your router to its factory default settings.

Furthermore, by unplugging the router first, you can save your router from registering that the internet isn’t working with many devices. Thus, you might be able to prevent your router from entering an emergency mode.

Wait Patiently

Wait patiently
Wait patiently after unplugging the router.

After you have unplugged your router, wait patiently. Usually, waiting anywhere between 30 seconds to 5 minutes is sufficient before you can proceed further. Instantly plugging in the device isn’t going to help, as the residual power might not have left the device. 

Many devices take longer to erase essential data as it is saved in a memory chip. On the other hand, other devices might have a smaller battery which loses power quickly.

Also, when your router is off for a little longer, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will see that there is a problem. So, you can hope that they can fix any problems from their end in the meanwhile. Otherwise, if restarting the router doesn’t help, you will need to contact them and ask them for assistance.

Also Read: Single-Rail Vs. Multi-Rail PSU

Plug-In The Router

Plugging in router
Plugging the ethernet cable in the router.

Before you proceed with anything, remember if you have a modem, plug it back in first. Furthermore, it would be best if you gave the modem enough time to boot up properly so that it doesn’t confuse the router later.

Also, it is recommended to give the modem enough time to assign itself a public IP address. You can figure out when the process has finished by checking the modem’s LED lights.

After you have plugged everything in and your modem has a public IP address, you must wait a few minutes before you test whether your internet is working. Usually, it takes routers anywhere between two to five minutes before they go online.

Moreover, many routers take much longer to boot up, so you can’t do anything to check whether your internet is back. Therefore, we recommend taking a 10-minute break and using that time however you want. If you have some dust piling up, you can clean your PC. If unsure, read our article on how often you should clean your PC.

Test The Internet

Internet check after router restart
Check the internet after reconnecting the router. Image Credits [Tech4Gamers]
After completely connecting the router and modem, you can test your internet through internet speed test websites. While it proves your internet has been restored if the website loads on the first try, it’s best to conduct the test to see if you’re getting the maximum speeds.

To conduct these tests, you can go to Fast, the website shown in the above image, or SpeedTest. Both websites should give you similar results, and neither is better. However, users prefer SpeedTest due to the availability of various locations to test the internet speed.

Also Read: How To Disable Firewall

Importance Of Power Cycling A Router

Now that you have learned about how to restart a router, you should also learn about its importance. Power cycling, restarting, or rebooting a router is essentially the same. Because routers are mini-computers, they behave the same way. Also, a router or modem has a CPU, RAM, motherboard, and even software through which they function properly. However, just like how a computer can get issues that can be solved through a simple restart, routers are similar.

Thus, a router restart can solve many internet-related problems simply by clearing the cache and restarting its components. Furthermore, rebooting a router is one of the easiest fixes, which doesn’t take a long time and is essentially harmless. So, you can fix issues such as slow internet or sudden connection loss.

Therefore, even if you have an old router, it’s important to learn how to restart the device to fix many issues. You never know when a simple skill can save your entire day from being ruined.

How Often To Reboot Routers?

While there isn’t any hard and fast rule on how often routers should be rebooted, users typically only reboot their devices when they face a problem. So, if your internet is working fine and there aren’t any problems, you wouldn’t want to restart the device.

Sometimes, a needless restart can cause a problem. For that reason, it’s best not to touch something that normally works without any issues. However, if you see any problems, such as slow internet or connectivity issues, then a restart is warranted. Besides that, you can let the router work for as long as it can without being wonky.

Also Read: PC Building Mistakes To Avoid

What If Rebooting Doesn’t Work?

Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a pickle where a simple reboot doesn’t work, and your internet isn’t restored. If you’re at that point or need to restart your router on an almost-daily basis frequently, you might want to try changing your router. To proceed with the latter, we recommend calling your ISP to confirm a purchase.

Even though restarting a modem or router is the easiest fix, it can’t solve everything. Thus, if you get the short end of the stick, seeking help from IT professionals and your ISP is always another solution. What if the problem was on the ISP’s end the whole time? You’ll never know unless you alert them.


In conclusion, it’s extremely simple to understand how to restart a router. However, it’s easy to mess up, along with the fear of ruining your router’s settings. But as long as you don’t reset your router, you shouldn’t face any problems related to settings.

So, the next time your internet disconnects or you start getting extremely high ping in games, you know what to do. If the latter problem isn’t solved with a restart, wait for a few hours and check again. Restarting a device is an easy fix to many issues that users occasionally deem useless. A restart can save you from a bad day and numerous headaches.

Also Read: How To Fix Windows 10 “Diagnosing Your PC” Error

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I wait after turning off my router?

It is recommended to wait a few minutes after turning off the router as all the residual power is drained in that duration. If you switch it back on instantly, none of the caches will be cleared, and the problem will persist, regardless of turning the device off.

What is the difference between a restart and a reset?

A “restart” is when you turn off and on your device. A “reset” is when you change the router to its default factory settings.

How is a modem different from a router?

In brief, a modem is a box that helps connect your house’s network to your ISP. On the other hand, a router is a device that helps you use that internet connection with every wired and wireless device in your home. While not all routers have antennas, if you have a device with antennas, it’s most likely a router.

Does unplugging a router reset it?

No, unplugging and re-plugging a router will only restart it. Press the “reset” button at the back to reset your router. However, we don’t recommend resetting the router’s settings unless necessary.

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