Common connection issues
We rely on the internet for just about everything these days: gone are the days of a PC needing a disk drive or similar, as you can simply find what you need on the internet. However, if your PC is unable to connect, you’re suddenly left with a big useless box that cannot update the games you want to play or search for the manual the need. It’s frustrating and can feel very disarming. You might need a file you uploaded to the cloud last night, and now you’re locked out from gaming or even working.
So what do you do?
Perform a diagnosis
Has there been a power cable in the area or has your surge protector flipped? If you are working on a laptop, you may not have noticed the power has been cut. Double check around you to ensure other electronic sources have power.
Wifi or cable?
Are you using wifi to connect to the internet or have you used an ethernet cable to plug directly into the modem? The most common method to connect to the internet is wifi, which nearly all modern modems should have. Whatever your method, we first need to establish how you are attempting to connect to the network. If you are not using an ethernet cable, ensure your PC has the ability to connect to your wifi network, usually with a wifi card.
Check your modem (and connections)
Are you connected to the internet? Check for any problems with your internet provider in your local area. If your modem is struggling to connect to the internet, there will usually be a visual indicator that the internet is not working as intended. Check all the cables and access points for any loose wires or broken connections and power sockets (please ensure you ask someone such as an electrician if you are insure about the connections or cannot see an obvious fault. Do NOT attempt to fix the issue by yourself). If all the connections seem fine, then you may need to contact your ISP (internet service provider) if your modem cannot access the internet.
If your modem is functioning properly, check other devices other than the one you’re having issue with and see if they are also connected. This will help you narrow down the problem and isolate the problem to a device rather than the service your ISP is providing.
If you’ve checked your modem and power and there seems to be no issue, then the problem may be stemming from inside the machine.
Reset your modem and router
Restart your modem and wireless router (check with your ISP to see how to do this safely) Often the modems have a power button to safely turn it off, so check your own individual models. Failing that, the method generally involves unplugging the router and modem from the power source. Wait between 30 seconds to a minute, and then plug them back in. Then try to reconnect once the modem is back online. Be aware of powering your modem on and off frequently, as some ISPs may throttle your connection, thinking this is a connection issue.
Check your wifi card or ethernet cable
Your computer may be struggling to connect to the internet because of hardware issues, such as your internal wifi card or a faulty ethernet cable. If you suspect either of these things may be to blame after eliminating other issues, get in touch with a technician who can appropriately diagnose the problem for you.
Is wifi turned on?
Check your settings (in Windows). What is the icon in the bottom right of the taskbar? Do you see an earth with a sign in front of it like this? Or is it a triangle made out of lines? if you have the former, then your device is not connected to the internet. (ethernet cable users should be looking for this signal)
Ensure airplane mode is turned off and wifi is turned on. If wifi is off, select it to turn it on.
Are you connected to the internet using a VPN (virtual private network)? VPNs can sometimes be the cause of being connected to the internet but unable to browse the internet. If you are, there may be poor connectivity at the chosen VPN server location, or even interference from your ISP or software such as antivirus or antimalware. Try turning off your VPN and reconnecting to the internet and see if this fixes the issue.
Perform a Windows diagnosis
Windows has a program than enables it to run a diagnosis on your network settings.
- Click the start button in the bottom left corner of the screen (looks like the Windows icon)
- Click settings from the menu that pops up (looks like a cog)
- Find the Network and Internet settings in the window that opens and click it
- Click “status” in the Network settings
- Select “Network troubleshooter” from the options
- Follow the steps and see if this fixes the problem.
If you’ve attempted all of these steps and none of them seem to be working, then the problem may lie a little deeper. If you’ve exhausted this troubleshooting and still can’t connect to the internet, via email.