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Tips & Tricks

The Importance of Regularly Restarting Your Network Router

A wireless router without any cables plugged into it. Rebooting a router is often the first troubleshooting tip you’ll hear if you’re having internet issues.

If your Wi-Fi router is giving you trouble, a reboot might be in order. Learn what restarting a router does and why it’s important in this guide.

What Does Restarting a Router Do? Here’s Why It’s Common Troubleshooting


Most of us connect to the internet with routers. In a nutshell, a router is a device that connects to the internet through an ethernet cable, then allows other devices – like PCs, TVs, or smartphones – to connect to the internet through it, either with cables or Wi-Fi signals. The right router can make surfing the internet and streaming your favorite media fun and fast.


But from time to time, your router might turn sluggish or slow, or you might have issues with Wi-Fi connectivity issues with Wi-Fi connectivity and cybersecurity. In these cases, you may want to perform a common troubleshooting technique: rebooting your router. In fact, regularly restarting your router could be a great way to maintain the health of this device and your internet network!


Restarting a Router Explained


When you restart a router, you turn it off and then turn it back on again. Simple!


How about a little more detail? Rebooting your router does a few beneficial things, such as:


  • Clearing the cache or record of temporary files (files that aren’t necessary for the router to function)
  • Restarting its security and other processes
  • Resetting its Wi-Fi channel selection, which can be important if you experience slow Wi-Fi speeds


Rebooting a router is so common that it’s the default step to take whenever you encounter router internet issues. If your internet connection is slower than usual, your Wi-Fi network is spotty, or you can’t connect online at all, your best bet is to restart your router before calling tech support or pursuing more dramatic solutions, like buying a completely new router.


What Does Resetting a Router Do?


What about resetting your router? Hitting the reset button on a router isn’t the same thing as restarting or rebooting it.


Instead, "resetting" a router means taking it back to its factory default settings for things like Wi-Fi channels and security. When you reset a router back to its factory defaults, you'll:


  • Get rid of any customized settings or features you currently have for the router
  • Remove your username and password
  • Delete any personalized Wi-Fi settings, like your Wi-Fi network name


Of course, you’ll also be unable to connect to the internet through a reset router until it has fully turned on and reinitialized itself again.


There are cases where resetting your router is a better choice than merely rebooting it, such as in cases where your Wi-Fi network might be compromised, or you want to get rid of your current username and passwords to refresh them for protection.


However, keep in mind that resetting your router to factory router settings may not be ideal, depending on your internet service provider (ISP). For instance, if your ISP gave you your router for your home network, they might have set it up specifically for your household and its size – and you might not know how to replicate what the technician did the first time. Consider contacting your ISP for advice before attempting a factory reset.


Why Reboot a Router in the First Place?


There are plenty of beneficial reasons to reboot your router regularly.


For example, your router uses memory just like a computer. But over time, that memory can get clogged, slowing down its processes and performance. Rebooting your router clears away unused files to free up some memory, which can make your internet stream and download much quicker.


If you use your router for Wi-Fi, your Wi-Fi connection can become slower over time if other devices use the same channels. Many modern routers are supposed to detect channels with extra bandwidth or space, but they don’t automatically switch to those channels unless they are rebooted. Restarting a router, therefore, could help you see an immediate boost to your Wi-Fi speed.


Lastly, restarting a router could clear up any minor issues or problems that have occurred through glitches or other errors. Giving your router a fresh start might be all it needs to get back up and running like new. You can think of a router reboot as a “health maintenance” step, just like restarting your computer every so often.


How Often Should You Reboot Your Router?


You don’t need to reboot your router every day. But it is wise to restart your router regularly.


How regularly? Depending on the age of your router and how easy it is to restart, rebooting it every month or every few weeks should be enough to keep it working in good condition and provide your household with fast internet.


If your router is several years old, a regular weekly restart might be just the ticket. That could be a financially savvy strategy, too, in situations where you know that your router needs to be replaced in the future, but you don't want to pay a few hundred dollars to buy a new one just yet!


How to Restart a Router


Most routers can be restarted with a few similar steps. For example:


  • Turn the router off by pressing the power button until the router no longer flashes or blinks.
  • Unplug the router from the power outlet and modem (if you have a modem).
  • Wait for a full power cycle before plugging the router and/or modem back in (usually 30 seconds to 2 minutes).
  • Plug the power cord back in and press the power button again.
  • That’s it! Your router should automatically resume its connection to the internet and its Wi-Fi network broadcasting.


However, remember that each router is different! Check your router’s manual or guide to follow any specific steps that might differ from those above.


How Often Should You Reset Your Router?


It’s a different story when it comes to resetting your router back to its factory defaults.


You should only reset your router to factory default settings if your ISP tells you to do so (such as during an extended maintenance session) or if you’ve already tried rebooting your router a few times to no effect, and you know what you’re doing. In instances like that, a factory reset could solve whatever problem is clogging up the works of your router.


Just remember that resetting your router back to square one means you’ll need to set up your network from scratch, plus come up with a new username and password like you did when you first turned it on!




Restarting your network router is a great idea if you’re experiencing slow internet or your Wi-Fi just isn’t as stable as it used to be. But if you reboot and reset your router and you’re still seeing disappointing results on your speed test, the problem might be with your current internet plan.


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