As unlikely as it may seem, even Google occasionally experiences outages. Sometimes Google search will work while other Google services will have their own issues. It is also possible that the problem is on your end.
How to Check if Google is Really Down
Although it can happen, Google being genuinely unavailable is a very rare occurrence. The first thing to do would be to double check using a tool like DownForEveryoneOrJustMe, Down.com or IsItDownOrJustMe. Keep in mind that an outage may be located in your area, so these websites may show different or incorrect results.
If you think there really is a breakdown, you can always check on social media websites like Twitter and Reddit. This kind of event doesn’t happen very often and so people will talk about it, especially if it also affects services like Google Drive and Gmail.
It’s more likely that the problem is on your end, so let’s look at some potential remedies.
Check Google’s Service Status Page
For a better picture, the Google Workspace Status Dashboard shows the status of apps like Gmail and Google Drive. If you’re having trouble accessing a specific product, this is a good place to start. If something is wrong, you will have to wait for the issue to be resolved to get a resolution.
Try another browser (or application)
One of the first things you might want to try is switching browsers. We’ve noticed issues with Safari, especially using iCloud Private Relay, where Google searches keep crashing. These issues don’t occur in Google Chrome or Firefox, so this is another example of why it’s a good idea to have more than one browser installed.
Google services like Docs and Sheets generally always work best in Chrome, although most browsers work just fine. Mobile users can use the corresponding app for iOS and Android to get the best results.
If you’re having trouble with the Google app for iOS or Android, try closing the app or using your web browser instead. You can try updating or reinstalling the app if the problem persists.
Restart your device
Turning your computer or smartphone off and then back on is a quick way to fix a lot of problems. If you’re having trouble accessing search or a particular Google service, restart your device and try again.
RELATED: Why does restarting a computer solve so many problems?
Try another type of connection
If the problem is caused by your Internet connection, you can try to connect using another type of connection. If you’re having trouble with your computer over your home wireless connection, try connecting using your smartphone over a cellular network.
You can even create a hotspot and share your cellular connection with your personal computer and try to connect that way, which can be a temporary solution in some cases.
If you find that switching to cellular works, you may want to completely restart your network hardware (router and modem) to see if that fixes the problem. You can also check your ISP’s service status page to see if there are any known issues affecting specific services.
RELATED: Internet connection not working? 10 troubleshooting tips
Consider changing your DNS server
The domain name system works like a kind of phone book, linking domains (like howtogeek.com) and IP addresses. By default, you’ll use your ISP’s DNS servers, but you can easily switch to an alternative. You may even find that your web browsing is faster after the change.
Changing your DNS server is fairly easy, with some good alternatives like Google Public DNS (188.8.131.52) or CloudFlare (184.108.40.206).
RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Changing Your DNS Server
Use an alternative search engine
Whether or not the problem is related to Google’s servers, your Internet connection, or a software problem on your end; if Google search does not work, you will need to use another search engine until the issues are resolved.
DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused alternative search engine. You can do all your searching with DuckDuckGo with a little effort, but you’ll miss deep integration with Google’s services and the results are admittedly not as comprehensive. If privacy is a concern, there are a few other search engines you might want to consider as well.
If you want results from Google specifically, Startpage is a service that has a unique agreement with Google. This allows you to overlay Google results without the tracking and privacy issues that come with it. The service is not a one-to-one replacement, the results are not identical, and you will miss integration with Google’s suite of services; but google East powering Startpage at its core.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine is probably the closest thing to Google. There are compelling reasons to switch to Bing if you don’t mind hiring another big company for your search efforts. By far one of the best reasons is to take advantage of Microsoft Rewards, where you earn credits for services like Xbox Live, Amazon, and more.
One thing to note is that if a website you frequent (like this one) uses Google as a search engine and you are unable to use Google Search, the functionality of the website may also be affected. You can always use operators like “site:howtogeek.com” in other search engines to narrow results to a particular domain instead.
Use alternative services to Google Maps, Docs, etc.
Google operates a large number of additional services, many of which could be affected by an outage or some sort of issue on your end. This includes Google Maps, Google Drive, apps like Gmail, and the company’s suite of browser-based apps like Google Docs and Google Sheets. Many alternative apps exist to get you out of the Google ecosystem.
For maps, try Bing Maps or DuckDuckGo’s Apple Maps mapping alternative which promises to respect your privacy. There’s also OpenStreetMap, your favorite alternative app like Apple Maps (for Mac or iOS) and Maps.me (for iOS and Android).
If you absolutely cannot access Google’s services, any data you have stored in your Drive will also be inaccessible unless it is also mirrored to a device using the Drive app. This is one of the potential issues with storing items in the cloud.
If you only need temporary use of a word processor, there are plenty of offline and online text editing apps to choose from. The same goes for spreadsheet tools like LibreOffice Calc and Apple Numbers.
Gmail is the other obvious concern for a Google outage. You can always try using an email client that communicates via IMAP instead (like Apple Mail on an iPhone) to see if the problem is strictly limited to the web version. Proprietary Gmail apps may also be worth trying. If your only problem is that Gmail isn’t receiving emails, there are a few more things you can try.
If you use a desktop or mobile email client that stores email offline, you may be able to access your inbox content this way. If you only have a Gmail account and absolutely must email, consider signing up for another free email service instead.
Google is very rarely down
Most of the time, the problem comes from your own software or your own connection. You can run through a list of connection troubleshooting steps and see if that helps, use traceroute to determine exactly where the problem lies, and investigate whether or not your ISP is to blame.
RELATED: Internet problems? Here’s how to tell if it’s your ISP’s fault