This Is How Often You Should Be Rebooting Your Router

Giving your router a break can do more than just speed up your Internet connection.

Modern dual band wireless routersimpson33/Getty Images

The Internet: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Whether you’re using it to pay your bills online, watch your favorite streaming service or connect with friends via social media, a strong Internet connection is crucial in many households. But just as shutting down your computer every so often can improve its performance, rebooting your router can also help.

How Often Should You Reboot Your Router?

“There is no perfect or scientific answer to this question,” says Rob Rohrman, head of IT at CompTIA. “In general, it’s a great idea to reboot the main Internet router every couple of months. 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.”

The Benefits of Rebooting

The benefits of regularly rebooting your router are twofold. If you want a faster connection, you should be regularly turning your router on and off. According to Consumer Reports, your Internet provider assigns a temporary IP address to each of your devices which can change at any time. If your router doesn’t catch the change, your connection may slow, just like if too many devices connect to your router.

“From a performance perspective, restarting your router every so often (once every one or two months) can help maintain the reliability of your home network,” explains Nick Merrill, founder of cyber security consultancy Broad Daylight.

Rebooting and Hacking

But restarting your router isn’t only to help your online shopping. It also prevents hacking.

The FBI recommended all home and small business routers be rebooted in 2018 after foreign hackers compromised thousands of networks worldwide. Using malware called VPNFilter, the hackers collected information and blocked network traffic, rendering the routers inoperable. Shutting off the device would temporarily disrupt the malware.

Merrill also recommends updating your firmware, which provides network protocols, security and administrative controls, and restarting after every update to prevent further security threats. Watch out for clear signs you’re about to be hacked.

“In the vast landscape of strategies for improving one’s relationship with technology, restarting or resetting one’s router is really not the first thing on my mind,” Merrill said. “That said, if you’re really paranoid type, it’s worth patching the firmware on your router and doing a factory reset on it. As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Adware and malware blockers on your computers and your network gateway will make it much less likely that you’ll need to reset your router.”

While experts agree rebooting your router isn’t an exact science, it’s a simple thing to do when facing Internet woes or security issues. Plus: Did you know these eight things in your home could be spying on you?

Next, learn these other DIY ways to make your wi-fi faster at home.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Erin Kayata
Erin Kayata joined Reader’s Digest as an assistant staff writer in March 2019, coming from the Stamford Advocate where she covered education. Prior to this, she was part of a two-year Hearst fellowship program where she covered crime and education in suburban Connecticut. She graduated from Emerson College and spent part of her undergraduate career writing for the Boston Globe. When she’s not writing articles about useful facts and pop culture, you can find Erin enjoying the local theater scene and working toward her goal of reading 50 books a year.