The 30-30-30 Hard Reset Rule for Routers Explained

Reset vs reboot, and how to hard reset a router with the 30/30/30 rule

router plugs
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Broadband routers used for home networking provide a reset switch, a very small, recessed button on the back or bottom of the unit. This button allows you to override the current state of the device and restore it to the default settings it had when it was first manufactured.

Something often misunderstood is that pressing a router's reset button for just a second or two may do nothing. Depending on the type of router and its current state (including the nature of any problems it may have), you may need to hold down the button longer.

Networking enthusiasts have developed this so-called 30-30-30 hard reset procedure that should fully reset any home router to its default settings at any time.

How to Perform a 30-30-30 Router Reset

Follow these three simple steps to do a hard reset on your router:

  1. With the router plugged in and powered on, hold down the reset button for 30 seconds.
  2. While still holding down the button, unplug the router from the power source for another 30 seconds. You can do this by unplugged the power cable from the wall or by unplugging the power cable from the 
  3. Still with the reset button held down, turn the power back on and hold for yet another 30 seconds.

After this 90-second process is complete, your router should be restored to its factory default state. Note that your particular router may not require the full 30-30-30 procedure. For example, some routers can at times be hard reset after only 10 seconds and without power cycling.

Nevertheless, memorizing and following this 30-30-30 rule is recommended as a general guideline.

Tip: After a router has been reset, you can log in to it with the default IP address and username/password combo that it was configured with when it was first purchased. If your router is from one of these manufacturers, you can follow these links to find the default information for your NETGEAR, Linksys, Cisco, or D-Link router.

Choosing Whether to Reboot or Reset a Router

Rebooting a router and resetting a router are two different procedures. You must know the difference because some tutorials online tell you to reset a router when they really just mean reboot.

A router reboot shuts down and restarts all functions of the unit but preserves all of the router's settings. It's similar to how rebooting your computer just shuts it down and then powers it back on. Routers can be rebooted simply by switching off power or through the console's menus, without needing to go through the 30-30-30 reset procedure.

A router reset both reboots the router and changes its settings, deleting any custom configurations that may have been applied to it. This means your wireless network settings. custom DNS servers, port forwarding settings, etc. are all removed and the software is restored to its default state.

Though it might seem obvious, many people don't think of a router reboot as a way to deal with home networking problems. Rebooting your router can help in the following situations:

  • When the administrator console is not responding at its IP address ( or equivalent)
  • When clients are suddenly unable to connect to it (especially Wi-Fi clients)
  • After the home has experienced a power outage
  • To flush the DNS cache of the router
  • When the router has not been reset in a very long time (a month or more)

Can a Router Be Reboot or Reset Too Many Times?

Like computers, phones, and other devices, a home router can eventually fail if it's power cycled too many times. However, modern routers can be rebooted or reset thousands of times before this becomes an issue.

Check the manufacturer's specs for their reliability ratings if you're concerned about the effects of frequent power cycling on your router.