How to Reset a Router

Internet problems plague all online users. Sometimes, you may run into an issue with your connection that you can't seem to resolve. In these cases, it can help to reboot or reset your router. In this article, learn how to reset a router step-by-step and how to troubleshoot issues you might have after doing so.

How do I reset my WiFi router?

Resetting your router is a simple process. Though the process may vary slightly depending on router model and brand, follow these steps to reset your WiFi router:

Locating the router reset button on the back of the device
  1. Make sure the router is plugged in.
  2. Check your router for the reset button or WPS button. In most cases, this button is located on the back or bottom of your router.
  3. Press and hold the button for ten seconds. Depending on the location of the button, you may need a paperclip or bobby pin to reach and press the button.
  4. Release the button and wait for the device to reset and power back on.

When your router resets, it returns everything on the device to factory settings. Make sure you adjust or reconfigure your device's settings after performing a reset.

Keep in mind that unplugging your router doesn't reset it; it reboots it, but that isn't the same thing as performing a reset. If you want to fully reset it, you'll need to follow the steps above.

After you reset your router, you may need to reset or reconnect your Internet by visiting your router's configuration page and re-entering your ISP username and password. This will restore Internet connectivity to the reset router and modem.

Does resetting your router improve WiFi?

Resetting your device can improve your WiFi connection in some cases. If you reset, the device may choose a less congested network channel, increasing network speeds. However, keep in mind that a reset is not the same thing as a reboot. Rebooting is a more likely way to improve your WiFi connections or Internet speeds.

A reset should be a last resort, as it completely restores your device to its original factory default settings. Rebooting your router only restarts the system and allows it to fix certain Internet connectivity issues like a slow WiFi connection.

Only factory reset your router when absolutely necessary. When it comes to rebooting, however, many recommend rebooting every few months for maximum router performance. Rebooting allows the network to solve minor issues, which results in faster speeds and better network health.

Users can also try power cycling, which helps the device clear itself out and reboot; to power cycle, unplug the router directly from the wall and let it sit for thirty seconds before plugging it back in again to restart the router. Power cycling is essentially a hard reboot.

Troubleshooting issues

Even if you've closely followed the steps above to perform a router reset, you may run into issues that need troubleshooting. Use the tips in this section to try and fix the problem yourself before contacting tech support.

Why won't my router work after I reset it?

If you reset your router and it still isn't working, it's possible you need to manually reconfigure its settings.

To reconfigure your router's settings, check for the default router IP address and password on the back of your router - or on a master list of router logins - and enter your router's IP into your web browser's address bar. Put in your username and password, specify your connection type, and follow the directions on your screen to properly reconfigure your device's settings.

If your router still isn't working, it's also possible you need to perform firmware updates. Do this on the same page on which you reconfigured the settings. Finally, check to make sure the physical hardware your router uses - such as the Ethernet cable - is properly plugged in and connected.

Why is my router not connecting to the Internet?

In some instances, when you perform a reset, you also reset your WiFi and Internet settings. You may need to log on to your router configuration page to re-enter your ISP login credentials.

If your device is not connecting to the Internet even after attempting reboots and resets, chances are that your Internet service provider is having issues with the Internet. It's not a router problem; give your ISP time to resolve the issue and see if your router reconnects.

Why are the lights on my router still blinking?

Resetting your router restores the device to its original settings, which means that if the blinking lights on your router are due to faulty or misconfigured settings, a reset should solve the problem. However, if you reset your unit and the Internet light is still blinking, this means that it's not a problem with your device.

It's likely that your ISP is experiencing outages in the area. This means you can't connect to the Internet regardless of what you do to try and fix your router. It's also possible that the blinking lights are due to faulty equipment, which, again, you can't fix on your own.

Frequently asked questions

How many times should I reset my router?

You should only perform a reset when necessary. If you do need to reset your router, just do it once. If that doesn't solve the problem, contact your Internet service provider.

How long should I reset my router?

For most router models, you should reset the device for ten seconds by pressing and holding the small reset button on the back of the router.