Internet, Networking, & Security Around the Web Understanding Google's "Unusual Traffic" Error What to do when you see this Google error by Bradley Mitchell Writer An MIT graduate who brings years of technical experience to articles on SEO, computers, and wireless networking. our editorial process LinkedIn Bradley Mitchell Updated on January 27, 2020 reviewed by Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Michelle Adeola Adelufosi is a marketing consultant with 9 years' experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design. our review board Article reviewed on Mar 12, 2020 Michelle Adeola Adelufosi Around the Web Browsers Cloud Services Error Messages Family Tech Home Networking 5G Antivirus VPN Web Development Around the Web View More Tweet Share Email You're at your computer working, busily conducting Google searches, and you see the following error: Unusual traffic from your computer network Alternatively, you might see this message: Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. What's going on? These errors surface when Google detects that searches are being sent from your network automatically. It suspects these searches are automated and might be the work of a malicious bot, computer program, automated service, or search scraper. Lifewire / Michela Buttignol Don't be alarmed. Getting this error doesn't mean Google is spying on you and monitoring your searches or network activity. It doesn't necessarily mean you have a virus, especially if you're running antivirus software. There is no long-term impact on your system or network from these "unusual traffic" errors and there's often a quick and simple fix. Why the "Unusual Traffic" Error Occurs There are a few scenarios that can trigger this error message from Google. Searching too Quickly It's possible you were searching too many things too quickly, and Google flagged those searches as automated. You Were Connected to a VPN Many users receive this error because they are using a VPN connection. This is a common occurrence. Network Connection If your network is using a shared public IP address, such as a public proxy server, Google may have triggered the message based on traffic from other people's devices. Additionally, this error could be triggered if multiple people on your network were searching at once. Automated Search Tool If you were intentionally running an automated search tool, Google may flag this as suspect. Browser If you've added third-party extensions onto your browser, this could also trigger Google's "unusual traffic" error. Malicious Content While unlikely, it's possible someone is using your network for nefarious purposes, or a virus has overtaken your system. Similarly, some unknown background process may be running and sending unwanted data. Hong Li / Getty Images What to Do to Stop the Error Getting past this error is likely a simple process, and the solution depends on what was causing the error in the first place. Perform the CAPTCHA If you know you were conducting high-frequency Google searches, this error message is normal. Google will present a CAPTCHA code on the screen for you to fill out. Reassure Google that you're a real person and that you're not abusing its network, and go about your searching business. Hold off on making more manual Google searches for a few minutes to widen the gap for another "unusual traffic" error to occur. Disconnect the VPN If you were using a VPN connection when you received the error, try disconnecting the VPN to see if that solves the problem. VPNs often trigger these errors, so you may need to disable your VPN to continue working. Reset Browser If third-party extensions or browser issues caused the error, reset your browser to get back to the default configuration. Restart your computer when this is done. You may also need to turn off some browser extensions, such as a search scraper. Scan for and Clean Up Malware If you suspect that there's a virus infection, do not hesitate to run a malware scan to get rid of it. Run the Chrome Cleanup Tool to ensure you don't have any of the malicious programs Google watches out for. If none of these solutions work, Google offers more help and explanation about its "unusual traffic" error.