Why is Google reporting ‘unusual traffic’ on your computer’s network?

If you have seen this error when using Google, it is very likely that you have been using it too fast:

Unusual traffic on your computer network

Alternatively, this message may appear:

Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network.

These errors appear when Google thinks that the searches are being sent from its network automatically, and assumes that it could be a robot or something malicious, such as a virus, that is doing the searches and not a human.

However, it is important to realize what these errors do not mean. They are not “proof” that Google is monitoring all of your network activity or even your Google searches, nor do they confirm that there is a virus on your computer. (Ideally, you’re using great antivirus software and won’t have that problem.) These bugs don’t have a long-term impact on your system or network.

Why do you see the error

The error could occur if any of the following occur:

  • You were looking for too many things too fast.
  • You were connected to a VPN.
  • Your network uses a shared public IP address, such as a public proxy server, in which case Google may have triggered the message based on traffic from other people’s devices.
  • You were intentionally running an automated search tool.
  • Multiple people in your network were searching at the same time.

You should be fully aware that one of the following harmful scenarios could be occurring that is the cause of the error:

Someone else is using your network nefariously, or

A virus has overtaken the network or computer, or

An unknown background process is running that is sending unwanted data.

What to do to stop the error

Your decision of what to do next depends on what you were doing. If you are sure that the error was caused by you, then rest assured that you can overcome it with one simple step. However, if you’re not sure what caused the error, you should investigate it before continuing your Google search.

  • There should be a CAPTCHA code on the screen that you can fill in. Type the characters you see in the box to tell Google that you’re a real person and not abusing their network.
  • Stop doing any more manual Google searches for a few minutes to widen the gap and prevent another “unusual traffic” error from occurring.
  • Disconnect any VPN connection.
  • Temporarily disable search scrapers like Mozbar.
  • If you suspect a virus infection, feel free to run a malware scan to get rid of it.
  • Restart your web browser, followed by your computer if the error persists, and finally your router.
  • Run the Chrome Cleanup Tool to make sure you don’t have any of the malware Google watches out for.