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What to Do When Your Mac Can’t Connect to the Internet

Apple's 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Official Website

Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display | Official Website

When your online browser, email client, or other Internet-connected apps on your Mac start complaining that you can’t connect on the Web, it may require you a bit of investing to find out what could be the cause. After all, any disruption between your Mac and a server could cause an outage. As if it’s not enough, the cause of an outage is not always obvious.

Good thing, there are a few ways that you can do in order to reconnect your Mac to the Internet.

Try Another Website or Application

An Internet outage may only be restricted to just one website or application. Thus, you need to visit another website—preferably a very reliable one like Google. The same thing goes if it’s your Mac app that’s having a problem. If that’s the case, try visiting Down for Everyone or Just Me to see whether Internet users from elsewhere are also having the same problem.

Connect Using Another Device

Another way to check an Internet connection problem is by connecting to the Web using another device. If it’s not working either, then you have to look elsewhere for a solution. But if your device can successfully connect, then you might want to check your Mac’s DNS settings.

Restart Your Wi-Fi

If you’re connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi, check the Wi-Fi menu that is located at the top-right of your screen. There are times that Mac hops onto less desirable connections at inconvenient times.

An exclamation point indicates that it can connect to any network. A simple solution to this is nudging your Wi-Fi back to life. Just select Turn Wi-Fi Off, wait for 30 seconds, and then turn it on again. If it still doesn’t work, restart your Mac.

Reset Your Router

If the network is caused by something beyond your Mac, you can check the network device where your laptop is connected—especially if you own it. Turn your router off, wait for at least 10 seconds, and turn it on again. Wait for it to power on completely before connecting.

In case there’s a daisy chain of network connections, restart first with the device closest to the Internet and work your way to your Mac. This cycles the power on each device as you go.

Do Network Diagnostics for Your Mac

There are particular network problems that may cause your browser to show Network Diagnostics button. This is the operating system’s way of helping you debug your connection problem. When that happens, don’t hesitate to accept the help.

On the other hand, you can launch it manually by choosing Apple Menu > System Preferences > Network, and then click Assist Me > Diagnostics. This feature will guide you through a series of questions and tests to repair the problem. The Network Diagnostics utility could sometimes solve the issue itself, but it also provides suggestions on how to fix the problem when it can’t.

Check Your Mac’s DNS Settings

The Domain Name Systerms allows a browser to convert domains names to IP addresses. So Google is read by your browser as 74.125.230.243. You might have a problem connecting to the Internet if your DNS server is slow, faulty, or offline.

An easy way to check if your setting is working is to type in the website’s IP address on your browser’s address bar. If it brings up the website, then it means that the connection is doing fine, and the problem is looking up domain names.

To fix that, launch your Mac’s System Preferences and open the Network pane, and then select your network connection on the list on the left. Click Advanced > DNS. It should bring up at least one IP address. If the address is enabled, disable it by clicking the minus sign button, and then click the plus sign and type 208.67.222.220. Do the same with 208.67.222.222. The latter points to an OpenDNS, which is oftentimes more reliable than your ISP’s default servers. Click OK > Apply and try to connect to the Internet again.

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