Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Can't Access a Website? Here's a Free Troubleshooting Guide

If you are having trouble accessing a certain website, it may not be the website's fault. Sometimes, subtle changes to your web browser can be the culprit. 

If you have tried to get a website to load, but have been unsuccessful, please see the list of tips below that may help you regain access. 

Tip #1: Clear Your Cache & Cookies 

For Mozilla Firefox browsers, here is how to clear your cache and cookies:
(1) Bypass Firefox's Cache
Use Ctrl+Shift+r to reload the page fresh from the server.
Alternately, you can clear Firefox's cache completely this way:
Go to Tools menu > Options > Advanced
On the Network mini-tab > Cached Web Content : "Clear Now"
If you have a large hard drive, this might take a few minutes.
(2) Remove the site's cookies (save any pending work first). While viewing a page on the site try one of the two methods below (both have the same effect):

  • right-click and choose View Page Info > Security > "View Cookies" > Remove all Cookies OR
  • Tools Menu > Page Info > Security > "View Cookies"
Then try reloading the page. Hopefully, that helps the connection issue.

In Internet Explorer, here's how to clear your cache and remove your cookies:

1) From your Internet Explorer browser window, Select Internet Options from the Tools drop-down menu.

2) Go to the Browsing History section, and click on Delete; check Temporary Files, Cookies and History, while leaving all other boxes blank. Be sure to uncheck the Preserve Favorites Website Data box as well. Then select Delete.

3) Close out of your Internet Explorer browser and re-open. This may fix the problem. If not, see below...

Even if you delete all Cookies via your Internet Browser, it’s possible that not all of your cookies will actually be deleted. To manually remove all of the related website cookies, follow this procedure:

1) Open Internet Explorer, click on the Tools menu, then select Internet Options.

2) In the Internet Options pop-up window select the General tab, and go to the Browsing History section, click Settings, and then click on View Files.

3) Scroll down in the list and find the website cookie file (this will generally look something like: "cookie:YourUsername@www.(website name).com" (you can also search this directory for any related website file using the windows search tool).

4) Next, delete the cookie files. Delete any cookie file that contains the url for the website that you're trying to access. This may take a bit of time, depending on the length of your cookie file list.

5) After deleting the appropriate cookies, close your browser. Reopen, and go to the website that you were having trouble with. If this worked, you should now see the webpage loading properly.

Tip #2: Reset Your Browser Settings to Default

1) From your Internet Explorer browser window, Select Internet Options from the Tools drop-down menu.

2) Click on the Advanced tab, and click on the Reset button, under Reset Internet Explorer Settings. A pop-up window will come up. Do not check the Delete Personal Settings Box. Click on the Reset Button.

3) After Internet Explorer has finished restoring your browser settings to default, close your browser, and re-open it. Now, try re-accessing the website that you could not previously access.

Note: Older versions of Internet Explorer may have slightly different procedures for restoring your default browser settings.

Tip #3: Disable Your Firewall

You may have active firewall or security software running which is keeping you from accessing the website in question.

Generally, you can examine your Windows taskbar (this is usually found at the bottom of your desktop window), and locate the icon for your firewall program. 

Depending on which firewall software you have installed, this could be Zone Alarm, Norton Internet Security, Windows Firewall, or other software.

Right-click on the firewall program icon, and see if there is an option to Disable or Shut Down the firewall.

Now, try accessing the problem website again to see if you have access. Don't forget to turn the firewall back on after you gain access to the website.

Tip #4: Run the Windows Update Utility Program

Running the Windows update can fix security issues on your computer. You can find the latest Windows Update here:

Simply follow the instructions on Microsoft's website and update your version of Windows. When you are finished, close out of all programs, restart your computer,and try accessing the problem website again.

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