Internet Quick Assist

If you're not already connected to the Internet, learn how to get your Mac connected. If your Mac has made the connection before but is having issues now, read some tips that will help you get back on the Internet.

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Connecting to the Internet with your Mac

  1. Make sure that you have Internet access
    If you don't already have access to the Internet and aren't connecting to a LAN or wireless base station that offers Internet access, you'll need to establish service with an Internet Service Provider (ISP) before you can get connected. Some popular ISPs include Time Warner, EarthLink, and Comcast--afterwards, come back here for connection instructions. If you have access to a home network or local area network (LAN) that has Internet access or have signed up for broadband service (DSL or cable), go to section 2. If you're connecting wirelessly through AirPort, go to section 3. If you're using a built-in dial-up modem to connect, go to section 4.
  2. Connecting to the Internet over a home network, LAN or broadband via Ethernet
    If you haven't already done so, connect your Mac to your LAN or broadband modem using an Ethernet cable. Your Mac may be able to automatically determine the proper settings needed to connect. If so, all you need to do is open your Web browser to connect to and access the web. If not, you will need to enter some information manually. For instructions, see Connecting to the Internet via cable, DSL, or LAN.
  3. Connecting to the Internet over AirPort (Wi-Fi)
    If your Mac has wireless networking via AirPort (many do), you can connect to a Wi-Fi base station to access the Internet. Look at the AirPort menu in your Mac OS X menu bar. If the menu states "AirPort: Off", choose Turn AirPort On. You'll be prompted to choose the name of the wireless network which you want to connect to (if you're asked to enter a password, enter it in the space provided). Then, open your Web browser to access the Internet. (Can't connect over AirPort? Check out our AirPort Quick Assist for help.) Your base station choice will be remembered by Mac OS X; you don't need to re-select it each time you want to get on the Internet.
  4. Connecting to the Internet over a dial-up connection
    If you have a dial-up modem and ISP, see one of the following articles for more information:
    Mac OS X v10.6 Help: Connecting to the Internet using dial-up PPP
    Mac OS X v10.5 Help: Connecting to the Internet using dial-up PPP

Additional Internet how-to help

In Mac OS X, you can use the Network Setup Assistant to help you set up your Internet connection—from the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, click Network, click Assist Me, and then click Assistant to use it.

Also, built-in Mac Help provides step-by-step instructions to do many activities on your computer. For additional Internet help, in the Finder choose Mac Help from the Help menu and then type Internet in the search field in the upper-right corner for more information. You'll also find more information on our Networking support page.

Top troubleshooting tips

  1. Check your modem
    Make sure that your modem is powered on and that its indicator lights (if any) display normally. If your modem has a “standby” light or button, make sure that your modem isn't in standby mode. If certain lights on your modem are off when they should be on, or they blink in a pattern, your ISP's network may be temporarily unavailable, there may be an issue with your computer connection, or you may simply need to restart your modem (see the next tip). Consult your modem's product manual for specifics about its status lights or call your ISP for more information. For additional information, see Troubleshooting a cable modem, DSL, or LAN Internet connection.
  2. Restart your modem
    If you're using an external modem—DSL, cable, or dial-up—try turning the modem off, waiting about 10 seconds, turning it back on, waiting for your modem to start up fully, and then connecting to a webpage to see if you can connect (if you're using a dial-up modem, be sure to connect to the Internet first before opening a webpage).
  3. Use Network Diagnostics to troubleshoot
    If you're using Mac OS X and are having difficulty connecting to the Internet, use Network Diagnostics (in Network preferences), which will walk you through your connection, investigate trouble spots, and try to resolve the issue. From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences, click Network, click Assist Me at the bottom of the resulting window, and then click Diagnostics to start.
  4. Check your network settings
    Compare your network settings in Network preferences with those recommended by your ISP. Make sure that you're using the latest recommended settings and that you've entered them correctly in the appropriate fields. If you're unsure about how to enter these settings, see the instructions in the Connecting to the Internet With Your Mac section above for your connection type.
  5. Check your connections and access
    Make sure that all of your Ethernet or phone cable connections are secure. Check the connection to your computer, the modem, and to any hub, router, or wireless base station you may be using. Try swapping your cable with another to rule out any faulty cable issues. If you're connecting wirelessly, make sure that the wireless network is up and running and that you actually have access to that network—you may need a password or need to be added to an access control list by your MAC address (aka AirPort ID). For more information about joining an encrypted wireless network, see AirPort, Time Capsule: Joining an encrypted wireless network. If you connect to the Internet using a corporate or enterprise network (such as if you're at work) and can't access certain webpages or sites, the network may have a firewall that is preventing you from doing so. Contact your network administrator for more information and assistance.
  6. Check your network status
    From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences and then click Network to display Network preferences. The status indicator for each port is color-coded. Green means the port is active (turned on) and connected. Red indicates the port is active but not connected. Make sure that the status indicator of the port through which your computer accesses the Internet is green.

    (With earlier Mac OS X versions, from the "Show" pop-up menu, choose Network Status to check the status of your network ports. If you don't see your port, make it active by choosing Network Port Configurations from the Show pop-up menu and selecting the appropriate checkbox for your connection.)
  7. Check other websites, then your ISP or network
    To rule out issues with a particular website (a page may be temporarily unavailable or you may have entered the URL incorrectly), visit another webpage. If you can't connect to any page on any website, your ISP may be the one having trouble. Wait a moment and then try connecting to a site again. If you still can't connect after some time, call your ISP or network administrator to find out if there is an outage.
  8. Check for DNS issues if you see alert messages
    If you see a message such as “A connection failure has occurred,” “The specified server could not be found,” or something similar when you try to connect to a website, there could be an issue with the DNS (Domain Name System) service, which converts DNS names (such as into their IP address equivalents (for our Apple example, that would be If you've already restarted your modem and have verified that your ISP or network is available, try the troubleshooting steps in Troubleshooting "A connection failure has occurred", "The specified server could not be found" or similar messages.
  9. Call your dial-up number
    If you're using a dial-up modem, try dialing your ISP's modem number using a regular telephone to see if a modem answers. Check the line for static or other noise that might be interfering with the connection. To monitor your modem as it tries to connect, turn on your modem's sound in Network preferences.
  10. Use Network Utility to troubleshoot connections (advanced users)
    If you understand networking fundamentals, try using Network Utility to investigate the issue. If you need help using Network Utility, open the application, choose Network Utility Help from the Help menu, and then click “See all Network Utility topics” to find what you need.

Still having issues?

If the tips above don't resolve your issue, here are some other things to try:

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Sep 12, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Sep 12, 2013
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