How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)

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How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)

Key Points

  • Resetting and restarting the router are two different things. Resetting returns the router to its factory settings and restarting simply reboots it with saved settings.
  • To reset your Wi-Fi router, you will need a paperclip or something thin to reach the reset button which is usually located at the back of the router.
  • Hold down the reset button for 30 seconds using the paperclip, then let the router power back on.
  • If you do not want to reset the router, you can restart it by unplugging the power adapter for a few minutes or using the router’s interface to virtually restart it.

Many people remember to reset their Wi-Fi router when the speed drops significantly. In fact, a router should be reset now and then to refresh the internet connection. This can help free up memory in case the router runs out of it, and eventually provide a more stable connection and better internet speeds. Many of us have our routers working around the clock, so a little break can be beneficial after such a long period of operation.

Let’s break down everything you need to know to reset your router, complete with simple steps to follow along.

Difference Between Resetting and Restarting the Router

Even before we start with the steps, we should mention that resetting and restarting the router are two different things. When resetting the router, you need to press the reset button to return the router to its factory settings.

Restarting the router means that you restart the router by cutting the power or pressing the restart button on the router’s user interface. When you restart a router, you don’t reset the settings, but it reboots with the saved settings.

Although resetting the router isn’t harmful, keep in mind that if you have made specific individual settings on your router, such as a custom Wi-Fi name, Wi-Fi password, or desired frequency, you’ll need to change these settings again when you reset the router.

How to Reset Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps

Resetting your router is very simple, but it takes four steps to properly do it.

Read on to learn what you need to reset your Wi-Fi router in less than a minute.

Step 1: Get a Paperclip

Most routers have a reset button inside the router and there is a small opening for access. Therefore, you can’t reach the button with your finger. Instead, you need something thin to guide it into the opening so you can reach the reset button.

The best and most practical thing you can use is a paper clip. Everyone has one somewhere in their house or office, and it’s guaranteed to fit in the reset hole of any router. It’s also sturdy enough that you can use it with a bit of force since you have to hold the button instead of just pressing it. However, you can use anything that’s sturdy and small enough to fit the hole, like a small, flat screwdriver.

Step 2: Find the Reset Button

The reset button is almost always located at the back of the router. You’ll find it if you look for an opening, and it should also say “Reset” underneath. If you can’t find it at the back of the router, try the sides or even the bottom.

How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)
First, find the Reset button on your router.


Step 3: Hold Down the Reset Button

Slide the paper clip into the reset button hole and hold the reset button for 30 seconds. You should feel feedback when you press the button. Apply a tiny bit of pressure to hold the button for 30 seconds while making sure to hold the paper clip steady.

After the 30 seconds are up, the Wi-Fi is reset and you can release the reset button and pull the paper clip out.

How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)
Hold down the Reset button for 30 seconds.


Step 4: Let the Router Power Back On

To reset the router, it must turn off and then on again. During this process, you don’t have to do anything but let the router turn back on. This can take anywhere from half a minute to several minutes, depending on the router and model.

When the router turns on again, you have successfully restarted the router and can connect to the Wi-Fi again.

How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)
Allow the router to power back on.


Ways to Restart the Router Without Resetting it

If you don’t want to reset your router to factory settings, but you just want to reboot it to renew the connection, there’s a similar way to do this. There are two options and you can choose the one that works best for you.

Method #1: Unplugging the Router from the Power

The easiest way to restart your router is to unplug the power adapter, wait for 2 to 3 minutes, and plug the power adapter back in.

This won’t harm the router, but it should make it turn off completely before it turns back on. When the internet indicator lights up, you can connect to the Wi-Fi and start using the internet connection again.

How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)
Unplug the router.


Method #2: Restart it Virtually via the Router’s Interface

Every router has an interface that you can access through the browser. You need to know the IP address of the router and the login credentials. You can find these credentials on the back or bottom of the router.

While it’s relatively easy to guess the IP address of the router, since the most common address is, it can be difficult to guess the username and password. Once you know these two things, you can log into the router’s user interface and use the restart button to start the reboot.

The router should reboot and turn back on after a few minutes before you can use the Wi-Fi. This is very handy if you can’t reach the router or just don’t feel like reaching for it.

How to Reset a Wi-Fi Router in 4 Steps (with Photos)
Or, you can restart your router through your internet browser by entering the IP address and your login information.


Wrapping Up

Before you reset your Wi-Fi router, you should keep in mind that a reset and restart aren’t the same things. However, neither option is harmful and we recommend doing it every couple of weeks.

Resetting your router can refresh the connection and give it a little break, which is very useful if it runs 24/7. This can also eliminate minor issues and problems with the internet connection, which is why it’s the first thing that internet service providers do and recommend you do when you’re facing problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you reset your Wi-Fi router?

Ideally, at least once a month in order to clear the memory and refresh the internet connection.

Will resetting your Wi-Fi router change your IP address?

Yes, resetting your Wi-Fi router will change your dynamic IP address, but not the static one.

How much memory does a router have?

Routers for home use typically have about 64 to 128MB RAM.

What happens if you accidentally reset your Wi-Fi router?

If you accidentally reset your Wi-Fi router, you will still get the benefits of refreshing your Wi-Fi connection. The only downside will be the lack of custom features (if you have previously set any).

Will resetting your Wi-Fi router stop the internet connection?

Yes, you will lose the internet connection for a couple of minutes until the router reboots.

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