Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (2022)

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (1)

The internet is down, but you know what to do: unplug your router or modem, wait ten seconds, then plug it back in. It’s second nature at this point, but why does it actually work? And is there some magic to the ten second number?

And the even bigger question: is there some way you can stop doing this?

Routers can feel mysterious, but they’re not. And if you know what’s going wrong, you can usually solve the problem.

Your Router Is a Computer

You might not think of it this way, but your router is a computer. Inside that plastic box is a CPU, memory, and local storage, all running an operating system. And like a computer, things can go wrong from time to time. Maybe a bug is causing a memory leak, maybe the CPU is overheating, or maybe a full-blown kernel panic has taken down the entire system.

What’s the simplest fix for these sorts of computer problems? Turning it on and off again.

RELATED: Why Does Rebooting a Computer Fix So Many Problems?

Your router is the same: every reason rebooting a computer can solve problemsapplies. Just like on your computer, you’re not actually solving whatever is causing the router to crash, but you are allowing it to run properly again.

Sure, this doesn’t fix systematic problems, but it generally solves things in the short term.

Do You Really Need to Wait 10 Seconds?

That answers why unplugging helps, but why do you need to unplug for 10 or 30 seconds? Well, have you ever unplugged a gadget only to see the power indicator light stay on for a few seconds? There’s a reason that happens, and it’s connected to our answer here.

Most electronics make liberal use of capacitors, which are basically tiny batteries. You’ve seen these before if you’ve ever taken apart a computer or gadget.

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (2)

They don’t store a lot of energy, but can at times have just enough to keep a memory chip running for a few seconds. Waiting 10 seconds ensures that every capacitor is fully drained, and thus every bit of memory is cleared. This ensures that all the settings on your router are actually reset, including anything that might have caused the crash in the first place.

As we’ve established, there are multiple reasons your router might need to be reset. Not all of these problems will require a 10-second discharge, which is why some problems can be solved without the wait. If you’re troubleshooting a new problem, however, the 10-second wait might be the difference between working and not working.

What Causes Routers to Crash?

As with any piece of hardware, there are all sorts of potential reasons your router might crash and require a restart. Here are a few potential reasons:

  • Run-of-the-mill crashes. As a computer, your router can crash because of bugs in the firmware eating up too much memory or causing a kernel panic.
  • IP Address conflicts. Your router manages both private and public IP addresses, and sometimes it messes up. If two devices on your network have the same IP address, or if your router doesn’t have an up-to-date public IP address, your connection might break. Restarting the router resets these IP assignments so things can start working again.
  • Overheating. Like any computer, your router can overheat—especially if you keep it in an enclosed space to hide it from view—causing it to crash.

There are more potential reasons, but these are the most common. And there are a few relatively simple solutions for them.

One Solution: Update Your Firmware

When your computer has persistent bugs, a software solution is often the fix. The same goes for your router: it needs updates too.

RELATED: How to Ensure Your Home Router Has the Latest Security Updates

We’ve outlined how to update your router in the past, so we won’t re-hash that here. But the process isn’t as hard as you think: you typically just need to open your web browser, type your router’s IP address, and find the Update button.

If there’s a documented reason your router keeps crashing, a firmware update should hopefully fix it. Give it a shot.

And, if your router is no longer getting updates, you should consider replacing it with a new router.

Another Solution: Check for Overheating

Computers crash when they overheat, and your router is the same way. If it feels hot when you unplug, consider trying to solve for heat.

Your router likely has vents; ensure that they aren’t covered up, just like you do for your computer. If your router is full of dust, consider cleaning it out with some compressed air.

RELATED: The Easiest Way to Fix Wi-Fi Issues: Move Your Router (Seriously)

It’s also a good idea to sure your router is out in the open, not in a small cabinet surrounded by other electronics. I know, routers are ugly, but they really need to be out in the open—it’ll help with heat management and give you better signal range, so it’s really win-win.

A Temporary Solution: Automatically Reboot Your Router

In the meantime, while you’re trying to troubleshoot the problem, you can solve some of your rebooting woes by rebooting your router on a schedule—that way, hopefully, you’ll need to do it manually less often.

RELATED: How to Automatically Reboot Your Router On a Schedule, the Easy Way

You have a few options here. You could stick your router on a run-of-the-mill outlet timer, which will cut the power at a time you specify, and let the power flow again at a time you specify. That way, you can set the router to reboot once or twice a day to keep things moving.

If you’re a bit more of an intrepid geek, you can set a script to run on your router that reboots it occasionally, accomplishing the same thing.

Again, this isn’t a true solution, but it is a nice hack-y workaround that’ll keep you from having to reboot it manually all the time…at least until you find a real solution.

If All Else Fails, Get a New Router

If none of this helps, it may be time to bite the bullet andupgrade to a new router. Just like a computer that won’t stop having problems, sometimes it’s just time to move on. You’ll remove a piece of hardware that is constantly breaking from your life, and you’ll get access to all kinds of new features. Seriously: wireless technology has come a long way in the past few years, so if you’re using something a bit older, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth by upgrading to something more modern anyway.

And you won’t need to do the unplug-wait-replug ritual anymore.

The Best Wi-Fi Routers of 2022

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (5)

Best Wi-Fi Router Overall

Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U)

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (7)

Best Cheap Router

TP-Link Archer A8

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (8)

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Best Gaming Router

Asus GT-AX11000 Tri-Band Router

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (9)

Best Mesh Wi-Fi Router

ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 (XT8) (2 Pack)

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Best Modem Router Combo

NETGEAR NighthawkCAX80
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Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (12)

Best VPN Router

Linksys WRT3200ACM

Why Rebooting Your Router Fixes So Many Problems (and Why You Have to Wait 10 Seconds) (13)

Beat Travel Router

TP-Link AC750

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Best Wi-Fi 6E Router

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000
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FAQs

Why does rebooting a router fix problems? ›

Restarting it clears its memory and resets tasks that might've stalled. One of its most important jobs is handing out unique IP addresses for each device that connects to it. If you have a lot of devices requesting addresses or devices frequently jumping on and off the network, the router sometimes can't keep up.

What will happen if you restart router for 10 secs? ›

Routers often have capacitors. The capacitor is essentially a battery that can power the router for a few seconds. So, it's wise to wait about 10 seconds after you unplug your router from power to make sure the power is fully drained, even from the capacitors.

How long should I wait after restarting router? ›

You may be tempted to plug in your modem and router right after unplugging it, but trust us: wait at least 15 seconds prior to plugging it back into the power source. It's important that your router's power is fully reset, which means it has drained all the power before turning it back on.

Why do I have to reboot my router all the time? ›

Your router has a limited amount of memory. If it runs for a long period of time without rebooting, it can run out of memory. When this happens it won't be able to work as quickly, which slows down your internet connections.

Why does rebooting fix so many problems? ›

Rebooting your computer helps keep it running smoothly. It clears the memory, stopping any tasks that are eating up RAM. Even if you've closed an app, it could still tap your memory. A reboot can also fix peripheral and hardware issues.

What does rebooting a router do? ›

A router reboot can fix certain Internet connectivity issues, from no Internet connectivity to slow wireless connections, and should be one of your first troubleshooting steps in a home or consumer environment. It's also a good security practice to reboot the router every once in a while.”

How many times can I reset my router? ›

How Often Should You Reboot Your Router? The truth is that there are no recommended intervals to reset your router. Most companies recommend rebooting your router at least every couple of months. If you're ever wondering whether or not you could benefit from a router reboot, just go ahead and do it.

Why do I have to reset my router multiple times a day? ›

All home routers need to be restarted periodically to start fresh with no accumulated memory or processor baggage. Basically, the router acts like traffic cop for your local area network (LAN), moving data while keeping your kids away from racy online content and apportioning IP addresses to a variety of devices.

What do I do after I reset my router? ›

What should I do after factory resetting my router? Secure it by setting passwords for default accounts like admin and user, so that you, and only you, can change its settings. Then set up or turn off its WiFi etc, setting an appropriate SSID and strong password.

Can rebooting a router damage it? ›

One way to reboot your router is to pull the plug. You won't hurt it—in fact, power cycling is a better, faster solution than using the app or web-based backend.

Does a new router need time to settle? ›

It takes around 10 days for your broadband speeds to settle at the speeds you'll get consistently. So it's normal for your speeds to go up and down during the stabilisation period.

How do I restart my router faster? ›

How to Reset a Router | Internet Setup - YouTube

Does rebooting router improve speed? ›

Rebooting your router will not give you a faster Internet speed — not permanently anyway, but it can improve your Internet speed, in a way. While your actual internet connection speed will not be affected by WiFi interference, the bandwidth to and from your laptop and other wireless devices may be reduced dramatically.

How long do routers last? ›

As a rule of thumb, a Netgear representative told us, consumers should consider replacing their router after three years, and representatives from Google and Linksys said a three-to-five-year window was appropriate. Amazon, which owns the popular Eero brand of routers, put the range at three to four years.

Why does the router keep disconnecting? ›

For example, your modem may be faulty, your router may be out of date, or you may have too many devices using too much data simultaneously. Cables may be damaged. Network congestion may slow speeds. Some slowdowns are out of your control, while others are easily fixed.

Why is rebooting taking so long? ›

The reason why the restart is taking forever to complete might be an unresponsive process running in the background. For example, the Windows system is trying to apply a new update but something stops from working properly during the restart operation.

What are the benefits of rebooting? ›

Flushes RAM

Your RAM handles lots of different short-term tasks and data, like running processes and holding program values. Rebooting your computer flushes out all this information, allowing your device to start anew and helping it run faster and more efficiently.

What is the advantage of rebooting? ›

Rebooting helps keep your computer running efficiently and can often speed up performance if you've been having issues. The combination of things such as flushing the RAM and clearing up temporary files and processes helps keep “computer cobwebs” from forming and as a result your PC can perform at peak speed.

Is rebooting router the same as restarting? ›

In reality, there's absolutely no difference between router reboot and router restart. They describe the same thing: turning off a router and then immediately turning it back on again.

How can I tell if my router is bad? ›

5 Signs You Need a New Router
  1. Your router is more than 5 years old. Technology changes quickly. ...
  2. You're renting a router from your ISP. ...
  3. Your Wi-Fi network has connection issues. ...
  4. Your Wi-Fi range and speeds are getting worse. ...
  5. Your router runs hot.
5 Aug 2021

Does resetting the router clear everything? ›

Router reset will wipe out all of your customized settings. Router username and password will be reset to factory default values as shown on the router label. Personalized Wi-Fi settings will be deleted, including the Wi-Fi name and password you created.

Does resetting a router change the IP? ›

The common nature of DHCP is to "remember" the device and assign you the same IP address you had before, so simply turning off your router and turning it back on will not likely change IP address. However, if you try multiple times you may get lucky and will obtain a new IP address from your ISP.

How do you know if your router is overheating? ›

Common symptoms of overheating are:
  1. dropped connections.
  2. slower speeds.
  3. unreliability.
  4. hardware failure.
  5. burnt plastic odor.
6 May 2018

How do I fix my internet connection on my router? ›

Internet & network
  1. Unplug the router and modem's power cords from the power outlet for 15 seconds.
  2. Plug the power cords back in.
  3. Check that all cords and cables are secure at both ends.
  4. Wait a few minutes, until the lights on the modem and router are working right. (See the device manual or manufacturer's support site.)

Why is router not connecting to internet? ›

the first thing you'll want to do is try and restart your router. Sometimes, routers just seem to need to be rebooted occasionally to keep working well. It is quick and easy to reboot your router. Usually, you just unplug the power cable, give it a couple of seconds, and then plug it back in.

How do I refresh my internet connection? ›

All your configurations are still saved after a restart.
  1. Unplug your router and modem. First, you'll want to unplug both your router and modem from the power outlet in the wall. ...
  2. Plug your modem back into the wall. ...
  3. Plug your router back in. ...
  4. Update your firmware and apps.

Do routers get weaker over time? ›

Old routers typically use less efficient technology and may even develop technical issues, such as overheating problems, that result in poor signal strength.

How can I test my router? ›

How to test your wireless router's performance: Preparation
  1. Step 1: Download and install a wireless router testing tool. Several Wi-Fi network speed test tools are available for Android, iOS, Windows, and Linux. ...
  2. Step 2: Set up Wi-Fi Speed Test. ...
  3. Step 3: Run a Wi-Fi Speed Test. ...
  4. Step 4 (optional): Wi-Fi Analyzer.

Do routers get slower over time? ›

Basically whenever router needs to have lots of connections open, it uses up its RAM, which is normal. When a connection is closed, that RAM should be freed up. It looks like in your case it isn't. As router has less and less RAM available, it becomes slower and slower and in the end you have to reboot it.

Should I hit the Reset button on my router? ›

So when should you press the Reset button? We suggest only pressing the Reset button if you wish to clear your device of all configurations (intentionally) or if you cannot recover your network password (in the case of routers) and have attempted all other methods of troubleshooting.

What IP is my router? ›

Right-click the Start button then select Command Prompt. Step 2: On the Command Prompt window, enter “ipconfig” and press the [Enter]. The numbers indicated on the Default Gateway section is your router's IP Address.

Does restarting router improve Ping? ›

Technically no but it can improve performance as it clears the cache on the router and cools down the chips for a bit. Restarting your router is a good first troubleshooting step for the whole network down issues but it won't actually make things faster.

Can routers last 10 years? ›

Still, I would not buy any router that has reached EOL because it may not receive important security updates in a timely manner, if at all. So, in general, the support for the routers is generally fairly long, going from 5 to more than 10 years.

How do you know if a router is good? ›

How to Choose a Router
  1. Consider how much you want to spend on a router. ...
  2. Check to see if your new router is compatible with your ISP. ...
  3. Make sure your router supports the internet speed you pay for. ...
  4. Look for a newer wireless protocol. ...
  5. Use mesh Wi-Fi or extenders to spread Wi-Fi through your house. ...
  6. Don't forget optional features.

Will a better router improve WIFI? ›

Whatever router you choose to buy won't affect the original speed of the internet coming into your home. These are two separate things, so don't expect much faster download and upload speeds. The true benefit of a new router comes with having better coverage.

How many devices can a router handle? ›

How many devices can connect to a router? Wondering if you have too many devices on WiFi? Most of the wireless routers and access points state they can support about 250 devices connected at once.

How can I get internet without paying? ›

How to Get Free Internet in 2022 (Legally)
  1. EveryoneOn.org. EveryoneOn is part of a government partnership with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). ...
  2. Affordable Connectivity Program. ...
  3. FreedomPop. ...
  4. NetZero. ...
  5. WiFi Map. ...
  6. Check With Your Internet Service Provider. ...
  7. Lifeline: Free Internet for Seniors. ...
  8. Share with Neighbors.
2 Sept 2022

Why is my internet so slow all of a sudden 2022? ›

Is your internet suddenly moving super slowly? It might be due to an outdated router or a less-than-ideal router location. Your connection issues may need only an easy fix, like upgrading to a mesh network or simply restarting your modem and router.

› 2018/06/04 › router-re... ›

On May 25, 2018, the FBI released a statement advising people to reboot their routers to prevent cybercriminals from using malware to compromise thousands of th...
Here's the right way to restart/reboot your router and modem to help with internet problems. A router reset is something else entirely.

Does restarting router improve connection? ›

Rebooting your router will not give you a faster Internet speed — not permanently anyway, but it can improve your Internet speed, in a way. While your actual internet connection speed will not be affected by WiFi interference, the bandwidth to and from your laptop and other wireless devices may be reduced dramatically.

Does rebooting router fix DDoS? ›

At this point in the process, it's common to want to know how to fix a router after a DDoS attack. Fortunately, an attack does no actual damage to your router, but you will want to reset it just to be safe. You can do this by unplugging the router's power cable for 15 to 30 seconds, then rebooting.

Is rebooting a router the same as resetting? ›

But don't confuse the term “reboot” with “reset”—they're not the same. A “reboot” simply restarts your wireless router, while a “reset” restores your router to its default factory settings. You'll want to perform a reset only if you're troubleshooting and reboots don't work.

Is rebooting router the same as restarting? ›

In reality, there's absolutely no difference between router reboot and router restart. They describe the same thing: turning off a router and then immediately turning it back on again.

How long do routers last? ›

As a rule of thumb, a Netgear representative told us, consumers should consider replacing their router after three years, and representatives from Google and Linksys said a three-to-five-year window was appropriate. Amazon, which owns the popular Eero brand of routers, put the range at three to four years.

How can I tell if my router is bad? ›

5 Signs You Need a New Router
  1. Your router is more than 5 years old. Technology changes quickly. ...
  2. You're renting a router from your ISP. ...
  3. Your Wi-Fi network has connection issues. ...
  4. Your Wi-Fi range and speeds are getting worse. ...
  5. Your router runs hot.
5 Aug 2021

Can VPNs stop DDoS? ›

Generally speaking, yes, VPNs can stop DDoS attacks. A primary benefit of a VPN is that it hides IP addresses. With a hidden IP address, DDoS attacks can't locate your network, making it much harder to target you.

How long does a WIFI DDoS last? ›

DDoS attacks can last as long as 24 hours or more.

How long do DDoS attacks last? ›

The amount of DDoS activity in 2021 was higher than in previous years. However, we've seen an influx of ultra-short attacks, and in fact, the average DDoS lasts under four hours, according to Securelist. These findings are corroborated by Cloudflare, which found that most attacks remain under one hour in duration.

What is the difference between rebooting and resetting? ›

They mean almost the same. Unlike a reset which changes something, a restart means to turn something on, possibly without changing settings. When upgrading firmware or software you are often asked to restart.

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