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

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Broadband routers used for home networking provide a reset switch, a tiny recessed button on the back or bottom of the unit. Pressing this button using a straightened paper clip or other sharp object allows you to override the current state of the router and restore it to the default settings it had when it was 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 a 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 unplugging the power cable from the wall or by unplugging the power cable from the router.

  3. With the reset button still 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. Some routers can be hard reset after only 10 seconds and without power cycling, but the 30-30-30 approach won't harm the router. Memorizing and following this 30-30-30 rule is recommended as a general guideline.

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 the major router manufacturers such as NETGEAR, Linksys, Cisco, or D-Link router, you can find the default information for your router at their websites or in the documentation that came with the router.


Choosing Whether to Reboot or Reset a Router

Rebooting a router and resetting a router are two different procedures. Although the reboot is a simpler process, you should try it before the reset. If it doesn't solve the router's problem, the 30-30-30 reset is still available.

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 shuts it down and then powers it back on. Routers can be rebooted by switching off the power or through the console's menus without needing to go through the 30-30-30 reset procedure.

A router reset 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, and any port forwarding settings are all removed when 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:

  1. When the administrator console is not responding at its IP address (192.168.1.1 or equivalent)

  2. When clients are suddenly unable to connect to it (especially Wi-Fi clients)

  3. After the home has experienced a power outage

  4. When the router has not been reset in a long time (a month or more)

  5. To flush the DNS cache of the router

Can a Router Be Rebooted or Reset Too Many Times?

Like computers, phones, and other devices, a home router can eventually fail if it's power is 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. You probably have nothing to worry about.