Guide: How to Survive an Internet Shutdown

So the unthinkable has happened – your government or internet service provider has cut off access to the internet. No more streaming movies, no more scrolling through social media, no more instant access to information. How will you survive an Internet Shutdown ? Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered. This guide will walk you through everything you need to do to get through an internet blackout and come out the other side unscathed. You’ll learn how to stay productive, how to access information, how to stay connected to friends and family, and how to keep yourself entertained when your digital lifelines have been severed. The internet may be down, but your life doesn’t have to grind to a halt. With some preparation and creativity, you can endure an internet shutdown and live to post about it when the web returns. So take a deep breath and read on – the internet apocalypse is here, but you’ve got this.

Survive an Internet Shutdown

Prepare for Limited Access to Information

An internet shutdown can happen at any time, so you’ll want to prepare now for limited access to information.

First, download useful resources while you still have connectivity. Stock up on ebooks, offline maps, medical references, survival guides, and entertainment to keep you occupied. You’ll also want to download tools like Wikipedia for Schools, Khan Academy Lite, and Project Gutenberg.

Save important web pages, documents and files to your hard drive or external storage in case they become unavailable. This includes financial and medical records, maps, how-to guides, and anything else you may need.

Make physical copies of critical information like contacts, maps, and instructions. Don’t rely solely on digital copies in an emergency.

Learn useful skills now that don’t require internet access. Things like cooking, gardening, basic repairs, and first aid will be invaluable if connectivity is disrupted.

Stay up to date on events by listening to radio broadcasts, especially local stations. Radio is a lifeline for information during internet outages and natural disasters.

Connect with others by talking in person or over two-way radios. Form a plan to check on neighbors and share information. Band together, as there is strength in numbers.

An internet shutdown will be an adjustment, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can adapt and thrive. Take action now to put the necessary resources, skills and community connections in place. When the time comes, stay calm and tap into your resilience. You’ve got this!

Stock Up on Entertainment

An internet shutdown means no streaming, no social media, no online shopping – how will you survive? Stock up on entertainment now so you’ve got options when the WiFi goes down.

Download some ebooks, audiobooks, podcasts, movies, TV shows, music, games – anything you enjoy and that will keep you occupied. Don’t forget entertainment for any kids or teens in your household too. The more you have stored and backed up, the less bored and frustrated you’ll feel if the internet goes kaput for an extended time.

Buy or borrow hard copies of books, magazines, comics, crossword and sudoku books. Have a deck of cards, board games, puzzles and toys on hand for all ages.

Get an antenna so you can still access local TV stations and news. Have a battery-powered or hand crank radio as well so you can listen to music, news and talk stations.

Stock up on craft supplies like coloring books, sketchpads, origami or knitting kits, Legos, kendamas or whatever hobbies and activities you enjoy that don’t require an internet connection.

Prepare for an internet shutdown now and you’ll be ready to weather the offline days without losing your mind. With diversions and distractions galore, staying entertained will be the least of your worries. The internet will be back eventually, so sit back, relax and enjoy this chance to unplug!

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Stay in Touch With Loved Ones

When the internet goes down, one of the most important things is staying in contact with friends and family. Here are some tips to help you stay connected even when you’re offline:

Use a landline or non-smartphone

If you have a landline phone, it will still work even without internet access. Call your close ones to let them know you’re okay and check in on them as well. For those without a landline, keep an older cell phone that doesn’t require internet connectivity as a backup. These “dumb phones” can still make calls and send texts in an emergency situation.

Meet in person

Arrange to meet up with people in your neighborhood or community in person. Set a location to gather and exchange information, provide updates on the situation, and offer support to one another. You never know how long an internet outage might last, so face-to-face interaction is invaluable. If meeting up isn’t possible due to health or safety issues, try to at least check in on vulnerable people in your area by phone or by knocking on their door.

Use a HAM radio

For those with an amateur or HAM radio license, you can use your radio equipment to communicate when other systems are down. HAM radios don’t require internet or cell connectivity to function. They operate on radio frequency bands to transmit voice or Morse code messages over long distances. If you have a HAM radio, let your friends and family know the frequency you’ll be using in case of an emergency.

Send a messenger

As a last resort, you may need to send a messenger on foot or bike to deliver important messages in person. This is obviously not ideal and should only be used for critical communications or in life-threatening situations. But when all else fails, a messenger can still get through.

The most important thing is to have contingency plans in place before an internet shutdown occurs. That way you’ll be able to stay in contact with your loved ones no matter what. Prepare backup options, connect with your local community, and practice your emergency communication strategies before you need them.

Ensure You Have Cash on Hand

When the internet goes down, one of the most important things you’ll need is cold, hard cash. Since online and card payments won’t be possible, cash will be king.

Head to the ATM

As soon as you realize the internet is out, head to your nearest ATM and withdraw as much cash as you comfortably can. Take out at least enough to cover essential expenses for 1-2 weeks like:

  • Food
  • Gas
  • Medications

Many ATMs have backup generators so they’ll likely still be dispensing cash even with no internet connection. However, their cash supplies are limited, so the sooner you get there the better.

Stock up on small bills

Ask for a mix of smaller denominations like $20s, $10s, and $5s. Without power, many businesses won’t be able to make change for large bills. Smaller bills will make transactions much easier during an internet shutdown.

Let your bank know

If possible, notify your bank that you’ve made large ATM withdrawals in case they flag your account for fraud. Explain the situation and provide any details about the ATMs and amounts withdrawn. This can help avoid issues once the internet is restored.

Pay in cash

For any purchases during an internet outage, pay in cash. Many businesses will still operate normally for a short time without internet and will appreciate cash payments. Gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants are most likely to remain open. Paying in cash will allow them to continue operating, even without an internet connection.

An internet shutdown can happen at any time, so being prepared with enough cash for essentials is key to surviving a temporary loss of connectivity. Following these steps will ensure you have cash in hand to comfortably ride out an internet outage. Staying ready and vigilant is the best way to handle any emergency situation. With some simple planning, you’ll make it through with cash to spare!

Keep Your Devices Charged

When the internet goes down, one of the most important things you can do is keep your devices charged. Without power, most of us are cut off from communication and access to information.

Charge Your Laptop and Phone

Keep your laptop, phone, and any other connected devices plugged in and charging whenever possible. You never know how long the outage may last, so try to get everything to 100% charge. If the power is also out, you’ll need to rely on external chargers and portable power banks. Make sure you have enough to keep your essential tech running for at least a couple of days.

  • Invest in a quality power bank or two that can charge your laptop and phone multiple times. Look for a high mAh rating, like 20,000 or more.
  • Get a solar-powered charger so you can recharge without relying on the grid.
  • If you have a car, you can use the cigarette lighter to charge your devices. Just be sure to not drain your vehicle’s battery.
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Limit Usage

Only use your devices when needed to conserve power. Turn them off or put them in airplane mode when not in use. Reduce screen brightness to the lowest comfortable level. Close background apps and disable visual effects. The less power your gadgets draw, the longer they’ll last on a charge.

Have Backup Options

Don’t put all your hopes into just your phone and laptop. Have other ways to access information and communicate in case they die.

  • Keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio so you can get news and emergency updates.
  • Have physical maps in case GPS is unavailable.
  • Keep a landline phone that doesn’t require power to make calls.
  • Have cash in small bills in case stores can’t process credit cards or ATMs are down.

Following these tips will help ensure you stay connected and prepared, even when the internet is out of reach. With fully charged devices, backup options, and careful power management, you can comfortably ride out an internet shutdown. Staying informed and able to communicate with others is critical in any emergency scenario.

Have Emergency Contacts Handy

In an emergency situation like an internet shutdown, having a list of important contacts on hand is critical.

Emergency Services

Make sure you have the phone numbers for emergency services like 911 (or your country’s equivalent), police, fire department, and medical responders saved in your phone. Also have these numbers written down on paper in case phone service is disrupted.

Family and Friends

Compile a list of close family members, friends, neighbors, and anyone else in your immediate support network. Save their mobile, work, and home phone numbers in your contacts and on paper. Designate an out-of-town emergency contact person that everyone can call to relay messages if local calls aren’t going through.

Utility Companies

Find the phone numbers for your utility companies – gas, electric, water, etc. Call them directly to report any outages or issues. Ask if they offer emergency alert services to receive updates about restoration efforts.

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Schools and Workplaces

If you have children in school or daycare, save the phone numbers for their schools and any after-school programs. Also have the numbers for your workplace or clients on hand in case you need to call in or provide updates during the shutdown.

Medical Providers

Make a list of doctors, hospitals, veterinarians, pharmacies, and any other critical medical contacts. Be sure to note any medical conditions, allergies, or other important information about household members in case of a medical emergency.


During an internet shutdown, ATMs, credit cards, and banking services may be unavailable. Have some emergency cash on hand in small bills to pay for supplies, food, gas or any other essentials. $200 to $500 per person is a good start.

Having a comprehensive list of emergency contacts and preparing in advance can help reduce panic and ensure safety for yourself and your loved ones in a crisis situation. Be sure to practice and drill emergency plans with family members so everyone knows how to respond during an actual emergency.

Learn About Different Internet Alternatives

If the internet goes down, whether due to a natural disaster, cyberattack or government censorship, there are a few alternatives you can use to get online.

Mesh Networks

A mesh network is a decentralized network where each device acts as a node that relays data for the network. Mesh networks don’t require infrastructure like cell towers to operate. They can provide internet access when traditional networks are unavailable. To use a mesh network, you need a mesh-enabled device like a mesh router or mesh Wi-Fi adapter for your computer or phone. Some mesh networks are open for anyone to join, while others are private networks that require an invitation to access.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet provides internet access through communications satellites orbiting the Earth. It’s a good option if you live in a rural or remote area where access to cable and DSL is limited. Satellite internet can also provide connectivity during emergencies when other internet services are down. The downsides are that satellite internet tends to be more expensive, often has slower speeds, and can have higher latency. You’ll need a satellite dish installed to access the service.

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Dial-up Modems

If all else fails, you can use a telephone landline to connect to the internet using a dial-up modem. Dial-up internet uses your phone line to connect to an internet service provider (ISP). Speeds are very slow, around 56 Kbps, but it will allow basic web browsing and email access. You’ll need a landline phone connection, a dial-up modem and a dial-up internet service to get set up. Dial-up is really a last resort, but can be useful as a backup option during emergencies.

There are a few ways to get online even when your regular internet service is unavailable. Do some research on the options available in your area and set up any equipment you might need ahead of time so you have a backup plan in place for an emergency situation. With the right alternatives and preparation, you can survive an internet shutdown.

Keep Yourself Entertained

When the internet goes down, it’s easy to become bored without your usual entertainment options. Here are some ways to keep yourself occupied during an internet shutdown:

Read a book

Curl up on the couch or in bed and escape into a good book. Reading is a great way to pass the time without technology. If you have a Kindle, you can download ebooks ahead of time to enjoy offline.

Do a puzzle

Puzzles are an engaging activity that exercises your brain. Try a jigsaw puzzle, crossword, sudoku, or word search. Have some on hand in case of internet outages.

Play board games

Break out some classic board games like Scrabble, Monopoly, Risk, or Settlers of Catan. Playing with family and friends is a great social activity that can provide hours of entertainment without the internet.

Get outside

Go for a walk or jog, work in the garden, or just sit outside and enjoy some fresh air. Getting some exercise and vitamin D will boost your mood and make the time pass more quickly.

Learn a new skill

Use the opportunity to learn a new skill or hobby, like cooking, drawing, playing an instrument, or learning a new language. Pick up an educational book, video, or online course on the topic to guide you.

Listen to music or podcasts

If you have music, audiobooks, or podcasts downloaded to your phone, tablet or MP3 player, you can listen to them even without internet access. Curl up and enjoy some tunes or stories.

The key is to have plenty of offline entertainment options on hand before an internet shutdown hits. With some activities to keep you busy, staying disconnected for a while won’t seem so bad. You might even find you enjoy the break from technology! An internet outage is a good reminder of all the fun things you can do without being constantly connected.

FAQs: Surviving an Internet Shutdown

An internet shutdown can be scary, leaving you disconnected and in the dark. But don’t panic—with some preparation, you can get through it. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you survive an internet shutdown:

How will I stay informed?

Listen to radio broadcasts to get news and updates on the situation. Many stations have mobile apps so you can tune in on your phone. Local TV stations may still be broadcasting too. Check in with friends and neighbors in person to share information.

How can I communicate with others?

Use your phone to call or text friends and family. If cell service is also down, you’ll need to connect in person. Designate an emergency meeting spot in case you get separated from loved ones.

What if I need help?

Call emergency services like 911 if you have a medical, fire or crime emergency. Their systems are often separate from commercial networks. Get extra cash in case stores are only accepting cash payments. Stock up on essential supplies in case transportation and shipping are disrupted.

How else can I prepare?

Have physical maps on hand in case navigation apps and services go down. Keep a battery-powered or hand crank radio so you can get news and emergency alerts. Have a landline phone that doesn’t require internet to function. Stock up on books, board games, and other offline entertainment in case you’re stuck at home.

How long could it last?

There’s no way to know for sure. Internet shutdowns can range from a few hours up to weeks or months. It depends on the cause and severity of the outage. The best you can do is prepare to go without connectivity for an extended period. Check with your internet provider for updates and timelines on restoration of services.

An internet shutdown is inconvenient, but with the right mindset and preparations you can get through it. Stay calm and connected to your community. The internet will return, but in the meantime focus on the simple pleasures in life beyond the web. You’ve got this!


So there you have it, a few tips to help you survive and thrive even when the internet goes down. While it may seem like the end of the world without your social networks and streaming services, use it as an opportunity to reconnect with the real world around you. Call up a friend for a chat, cook a nice meal, read an actual book, or go outside for some fresh air and exercise. An internet shutdown doesn’t have to be the disaster it’s made out to be. Stay calm and occupied, rely on your survival skills, and take comfort knowing the web will be back up and running before you know it. In the meantime, enjoy the temporary digital detox! The internet will still be there when you get back.

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