Why You‘re Unable to Connect to Instagram

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Hey there! It looks like you‘ve been facing the "We couldn‘t connect to Instagram" error recently. I know how frustrating connection issues can be when all you want to do is scroll through Instagram. But don‘t worry – I‘ve got your back!

As a long-time Instagram user and tech geek, I‘ve run into this problem myself in the past. After extensive troubleshooting and research, I‘ve discovered several ways to get Instagram working again when that pesky error pops up.

In this detailed guide, I‘ll walk you through exactly why the "couldn‘t connect to Instagram" error happens and provide proven step-by-step solutions to fix it. We‘ll also dive into some interesting stats and data around Instagram outages that can give us clues.

So get ready to become a connection error troubleshooting master! Let‘s get started.

Before we fix the problem, it helps to understand exactly why the "couldn‘t connect to Instagram" error happens in the first place.

There are 5 main culprits:

1. Instagram is Down

The most common reason you can‘t connect to Instagram is that Instagram‘s servers are down or undergoing maintenance. With over 1 billion monthly active users, downtime is inevitable as their engineers work to maintain stability.

According to data from Downdetector, some of the most notable Instagram outages include:

  • October 2021 – A major outage lasting over 8 hours prevented users from loading feed, stories, or making posts. This was one of the longest outages in Instagram‘s history.

  • March 2019 – An Instagram bug caused some users to temporarily lose followers and display a "couldn‘t refresh feed" error for over 24 hours.

  • December 2018 – Users across the globe could not access Instagram for almost an entire day.

  • September 2018 – Stories and feeds failed to load for some users over several hours.

So before you start troubleshooting your device or connection, always check third-party sites like Downdetector to see if Instagram is globally down. Outages are shown as spikes on the graph.

2. Weak Internet Connection

Even when Instagram is fully operational, an unreliable internet connection can interfere with communication between their servers and your device.

Public WiFi networks in coffee shops or hotels are prone to congestion. And if you‘re in an area with poor cellular service, mobile data can cut out frequently. This disrupts the constant "handshakes" needed to keep you connected to Instagram.

3. IP Address Banned

In rare cases, your specific IP address may have been temporarily blocked by Instagram‘s servers. Their automated systems can occasionally mistake normal user activity for spammy bot behavior and blacklist an IP.

Why does this happen? Well, Instagram uses the individual IPs of devices accessing their platform to monitor suspicious patterns and safeguard against attacks. If your IP seems suspicious to their algorithm, you might get blocked – even by accident.

4. Outdated App Version

Did you know the Instagram app updates pretty frequently? If you haven‘t updated recently, your version of the app could be so outdated that it‘s unable to maintain a stable connection with Instagram‘s constantly evolving servers.

Make sure you have automatic updates enabled in your device‘s app store settings so you always have the most compatible Instagram version.

5. Account Problem

Lastly, although very uncommon, a technical glitch with your specific Instagram account could cause persistent connection issues that others aren‘t experiencing.

Maybe your account credentials became corrupted or your privacy settings are conflicting – anything is possible! In this case, the problem lies with your account rather than Instagram or your device.

Now that we‘ve explored why the error occurs, let‘s get right into the solutions.

Follow these 6 troubleshooting steps to banish the "couldn‘t connect to Instagram" error for good. We‘ll start with quick fixes and progress to more advanced techniques.

1. Check Instagram‘s Service Status

Anytime you get the connection error, your very first move should be to check if Instagram is down for everyone.

Head to Downdetector and look at the outage map for Instagram. If the red dots are clustering in your region, their servers are probably unstable.

You can also glance at the green line graph for spikes over the last 24 hours. Each major spike likely indicates downtime.

Additionally, search "Instagram down" on Twitter to see if lots of other users are complaining. If so, Instagram is definitely experiencing problems on their end.

If it looks like widespread outages based on these tools, there‘s unfortunately nothing you can do besides wait patiently for Instagram‘s engineers to get things back up and running. Major outages typically take 2-4 hours to fully resolve.

Once things start clearing up, Downdetector‘s graph should go back down to normal levels. You can then try accessing Instagram again.

2. Retry with Different Network Connections

If Instagram seems operational, the next quick fix is to switch up your internet connection.

On a desktop computer, if you‘re on WiFi, unplug your router for 60 seconds, then reconnect to essentially reset the connection. If you‘re wired, unplug the Ethernet cable instead.

On a mobile device, turn on Airplane mode for 60 seconds (to disable all connections), then reconnect to a different WiFi network or use mobile data instead.

Changing networks forces your device to grab a fresh IP address from the new connection. This can resolve any issues related to soft IP bans or network congestion causing the error.

3. Connect Through a VPN

VPNs (virtual private networks) are my personal favorite method for instantly fixing connection issues. When you connect through a VPN, all traffic from your device gets encrypted and tunneled through a remote server run by the VPN provider.

This hides your real IP address, makes you anonymous, and allows you to virtually appear in another location. It‘s basically like starting with a clean slate!

On a desktop, install a free VPN browser extension like TouchVPN. Connect to a server in a different city or country, then try Instagram again. The new VPN IP address should work.

On mobile, download a free VPN app like ProtonVPN or Cloudflare WARP. Similarly, connect through the app and then launch Instagram.

VPNs are amazing for circumventing geographic blocks, privacy protection, and of course, resolving connection issues like this quickly!

4. Update or Reinstall the Instagram App

If you‘re getting the error on mobile, make sure the Instagram app is fully up to date. Open your device‘s App Store, search for Instagram, and check for any available updates.

Install the latest version of the app, which may contain critical bug fixes related to connectivity. Then force quit and relaunch it.

As a last resort, you can try fully uninstalling and reinstalling the app altogether to wipe any corrupt cached data. Just be sure to remember your login info!

5. Try Instagram‘s Web Version

If the error only appears on your mobile Instagram app, see if you can access Instagram properly through the web version on your computer‘s browser at

If the web version loads fine, then the issue is isolated to something with your mobile app install or your phone‘s configuration. You can also try clearing the app‘s data/cache or reinstalling it.

However, if the web version also fails to load, something on Instagram‘s end is likely preventing access across all your devices and platforms. Time for the last resort…

6. Report the Problem to Instagram

If no other troubleshooting fixes work and you keep getting the error, formally report the problem through Instagram‘s in-app support:

  • On Mobile: Profile > Menu > Settings > Help > Report a Problem

  • On Desktop: Profile Picture > Help > Report a Problem

Explain your situation in detail and include any error screenshots. This sends a bug report directly to Instagram‘s engineering team for investigation.

If the issue ends up being account-specific, they may be able to repair your account configuration or restore your access.

Before we wrap up, I wanted to take a moment to point out just how vital the ability to connect to Instagram is in today‘s world.

Though it started as a simple photo sharing app, Instagram has evolved into one of the most influential social media platforms on the planet.

Consider these eye-opening statistics:

  • Over 1 billion monthly active users – That‘s almost 1/8th of the world‘s population!

  • 500 million daily active users – Half a billion people scroll Instagram every single day.

  • Over 100 million photos uploaded per day – That‘s a lot of #OOTD shots and brunch pics!

  • 500+ million hashtags used per day – From #ThrowbackThursday to #FoodPorn, hashtags are the lifeblood of engagement.

  • 4.2 billion Instagram Likes per day – Those hearts sure add up!

  • 100+ million active business profiles – Instagram doubles as a vibrant ecommerce platform.

With this level of ubiquity, it‘s no wonder being unable to access Instagram due to connection issues feels so frustrating.

But I hope that after reading this guide, you now have the confidence to swiftly troubleshoot and resolve those "couldn‘t connect to Instagram" errors for good.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help a fellow Instagram enthusiast.


Written by Alexis Kestler

A female web designer and programmer - Now is a 36-year IT professional with over 15 years of experience living in NorCal. I enjoy keeping my feet wet in the world of technology through reading, working, and researching topics that pique my interest.