What To Do When Your Internet Is Down

There was a time when Internet service was more like the Wild, Wild West. No matter who your ISP was, whether it was AOL, EarthLink or some local guy in his basement who was destined to become a dot-com millionaire, there was always the chance it wouldn’t work. You’d sit down, try to open up your dial-up connection and listen for the sound of the modem. That modem squeal would go on just a little bit longer than normal, and then soon you’d know that you weren’t getting on the Information Superhighway anytime soon.

Things have changed a lot in 15 years. Today, most folks have a persistent Internet connection. There’s no waiting for a dial-up modem to connect. It’s just always on.

Except, of course, when it isn’t. While outages aren’t all that common, DSL and cable Internet providers do occasionally go down. When they do, here are some things you should do:

  • Don’t panic. Really. It’s just the Internet. You’re going to be just fine.
  • Find another way in. In a worst case scenario, you can simply grab your laptop and drive your butt to McDonald’s and use their wireless. If you don’t have a laptop, get to the library. There’s sure to be Internet access there. Alternatively, you can tether your laptop to your smartphone.
  • Take a break. While many folks earn their living online, even they need to take a break from the Internet sometimes. Step away from your desk for 15 minutes, and go out and breathe in some fresh air.
  • Use your phone. Today’s smartphones have Internet service built in. Watch out for your data usage, of course, if you’re on a plan that limits how much you can use in a given month.
  • Read a book. You remember those things on the shelf over there. Sure, they’re partially to blame for the destruction of the environment or something, but sometimes there’s just nothing better than curling up with a good book.
  • Hang out with a person. A real one, made of flesh and blood. Visit an old friend, instead of just stalking her on Facebook. Call your grandmother – the one that doesn’t use Facebook – and see how she’s doing these days. Unplug and connect with some other folks who are also unplugged.