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By Erik Wong, GoDaddy

In tech support, we love information. And we want to get our hands on as much of it as we can. Here’s why:

The more information you’re able to provide us, the easier it is to quickly and efficiently solve your problem.

Narrowing down the issue is always the hardest part. Once you discover the specific problem, the actual fix is easy. There are even plenty of situations where gathering information about a problem will inadvertently resolve it. That’s why there are a few things we always recommend trying before contacting tech support.

So, eschew the Geek Squad and surprise your friends and family with your tech knowledge. Whenever you have an issue, check these three things first.

  1. Is it your browser?

If you cannot load a page, cannot log into an account when you know the credentials are correct, or can’t interact with a website the way it’s supposed to work, your browser may be holding you back. Try clearing your cache and cookies to see if that fixes your issue.

You can also try duplicating the issue in a second web browser, which typically has the same effect because each browser has its own cache.

  1. Is it your machine?

Faulty hardware is an unfortunate reality in all fields of machinery. Device-specific firewalls, anti-virus programs, and settings can also cause issues unique to your computer, tablet or phone. If able, retry what it was you wanted to do on a different computer or device to see if you get different results.

It may not tell you exactly what is wrong with the machine you couldn’t use, but it does narrow down the source of the interference to that one device.

  1. Is it your network?

All of your devices typically use the same network access to gather data. A lot of people think that outages with your modem or Internet Service Provider (ISP) result in complete loss of Internet connectivity. In actuality, it’s extremely likely that at any given time you may be having some node-specific issues that can prevent you from being able to load some sites while having no effect on others.

It’s rare, but from time to time, it does happen. So, we recommend you try unplugging your modem for two to three minutes, allowing it to fully reset and re-establish your connection. If that doesn’t work, running and reading a traceroute will diagnose point-for-point any issues with your Internet connection.

If none of the above processes seem to banish the boogeymen in your computer, don’t worry. Give tech support a call and let them know what you’ve already tried. That little bit of prework on your end will help them get you up and running again in no time — and the rest of the house will be impressed by your technical prowess.

About the Author

EriEirk Wongk Wong is a small business/tech consultant for GoDaddy and a freelance pop-culture writer. He has written a regular column for a current events blog, and his commentary has been featured on realclearpolitics.com. Connect with Erik on Google+. The world’s largest domain name registrar and Web hosting provider, GoDaddy gives small business owners the tools to name their idea, build a beautiful online presence, attract customers and manage their business. To get more tips for your small business—including articles, videos and webinars—check out the GoDaddy Training Hub.