You were happily watching Netflix when suddenly you find yourself staring at the little “loading” spinner. Is your internet service provider offline? Is Netflix down? Did your modem die?
Where do you start looking?
Start with the highest point.
That means begin with the service or device that’s “far away” from you. So, the first question to answer is “how is my internet service provider doing?” If your internet service provider has (temporarily, I hope) stopped providing service to your area, then you've found the problem and you know there’s nothing more you can do.
But how can you quickly find out?
Try downdetector.com. This web site monitors all kinds of internet services, from companies like Comcast to services like Netflix. If Down Detector reports outages in your area, then you’ve found the problem. You might want to confirm the report with the company itself, or you might decide to try again in a few hours to see if the company has fixed it.
Down Detector monitors many companies. Click on a logo on the home page for a company’s status report or check the full list of all the companies they track.
What if it’s not listed on Down Detector?
A similar service that checks individual web sites is downforeveryoneorjustme.com. Type in the name of the domain you are trying to reach, and it will tell you if the web site is up or down. This is useful for smaller web services that aren’t monitored by Down Detector.
Remember, these monitoring services may not be completely accurate. But they can quickly point you in the right direction, so bookmark them today for that next frustrating outage.