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

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Broadband routers used for home networking provide a reset switch, often a very small, recessed button on the back 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.

Some people don't realize 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 steps to perform a router hard reset:

  1. when the unit is powered on, hold down its reset button for 30 seconds
  2. while still holding down the reset button, unplug the router from power and hold for an additional 30 seconds
  3. still holding down the reset button, turn on power to the router again and hold for 30 more seconds

After this process is complete, a total of 90 seconds, 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.

Choosing Whether to Reboot or Reset a Router

Rebooting a router and resetting a router are two different procedures. A router reboot shuts down and restarts all functions of the unit but preserves all of the router's settings, while a router reset both reboots the router and changes its settings. Routers can be reboot simply by switching off power or through console menus, without needing to go through the 30-30-30 reset procedure.

Though it might seem obvious, many people don't think about 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
  • 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 is 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 concerned about the effects of frequent power cycling on your router.