While it usually doesn’t happen often, the “unusual traffic from your network computer” Google error is frustrating and confusing. You can get this error just from normal browsing, whether or not you have any “unusual traffic.” There are several different reasons you might see the error along with a few fixes to prevent or at least reduce how often you see it.
What Doers It Mean?
At first, you might panic seeing the “unusual traffic from your network computer” error. Your first thought is probably along the lines of “I have a virus.” That was my first thought when I saw it.
While it could be a virus, Google (no matter which browser you’re using) gives you this error whenever the search giant suspects automated traffic. According to Google, using bots, web scrapers, computer programs, and automated services to search can get you blocked. The same is true if you use automated programs to check website ranks.
If you are like I was and not using any of those things, you probably feel even more confused right now. While the above is Google’s official reason for giving the error, there are a few other reasons:
- Too many searches in a short period (that period isn’t specified)
- Using a public computer (when all computers are in use, there are numerous searches happening in a short period)
- Using a VPN (Google may limit VPN searches more than standard searches)
- Malware infection
- Using search operators too often
While you’re getting this error, you can’t perform any more Google searches until you successfully solve a reCAPTCHA. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you won’t see a reCAPTCHA at all.
If you don’t see one or it doesn’t work, there’s still hope. Or, if you’re seeing this error often, there are still things you can do beyond solving endless reCAPTCHAs, which, let’s agree, everyone hates.
Scan for Malware
The first step is to scan your system for malware. If you’re not searching Google that much or using any automated search tools, malware is a real possibility. Free antivirus tools usually work well for performing a deep scan. Tools like Malwarebytes focus more on malware and ransomware. While free tools may not always offer real-time protection, they can help you remove any malware currently causing you issues.
Reset Your Router/Modem
The “unusual traffic from your computer network” could be a simple misunderstanding between Google and your router or router/modem combo. Simply resetting the router refreshes the connection.
Turn your router off, wait 30 seconds to a few minutes, and turn it back on. Some routers also have a reset button, though not all. Resetting your router is also a great troubleshooting step if you’re having general network issues.
Take a Break
It might sound just as annoying as the error itself, but if you’ve turned into a Google power user suddenly, taking a break may be the only way to stop Google from seeing you as a bot.
For instance, as a writer, I’m constantly doing research. I used to see the error every few months. Then, Google decided to crack down even more on automated searches. During one particular project, I was performing several searches a minute. No amount of reCAPTCHAs solved the issue. I just had to slow down my searches.
Actually, I ended up using Bing while Google calmed down. It’s important to note that even if you use alternative search engines, some of them still pull results from Google. So if you’re being blocked from searching Google, you may still get an error from them.
Turn Off Your VPN
Not all VPNs are created equal. In fact, some of them are worse than using no VPN at all. Naturally, Google doesn’t like any of them since it makes it difficult for Google to track you. Some VPNs, though, are incredibly unsafe. These are blocked by Google.
If you’ve started using a new VPN, especially a free one, and see the “unusual traffic from your computer network” Google error, turn off the VPN and try searching again. If everything works well, it’s the VPN that’s the problem.
Log in to Google
Though usually this isn’t the cause, I have personally had luck if I log in to my Google account and then search. Numerous searches while logged out can trigger Google into thinking you’re a bot and not a human user. This has helped me on occasion. While you’re never truly anonymous with Google, there are ways to make your searches more private.
You can also try using a different device if possible. It doesn’t always work, but if your phone is using mobile data, traffic appears from a different network than your computer.
Patience is sadly the best solution. As strange as it sounds, Google, the number one search engine, actually prefers you to search less often. Try the troubleshooting steps above to hopefully put an end to this frustrating error.