Find out why you can't access a website or service on the Internet - gHacks Tech News

Find out why you can't access a website or service on the Internet

Even the most prominent websites or services may go down. While the downtime of sites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter is measured in seconds usually, other sites may be down for hours or even days at a time.

But downtime is not the only reason why you may not be able to access a website. Maybe it is blocked in your country, blocked by security software, or you cannot access it because of ISP routing issues.

The following guide offers a list of suggestions on analyzing connection issues. It lists recommendations to access the site in question regardless of connectivity issues furthermore.

Part 1: Analyze why you can't access a website

You open a site in the browser's address bar or click on a link, but instead of seeing the website rendered in the web browser of choice you get an error message, or it takes ages before a timeout is displayed to you.

In Ways to check if a website is down, I listed four options to analyze why you can't connect to a particular site. I don't want to rehash the whole article, so check it out as a good starting point.

Try Again

The first thing you may want to do is try to access the site that you can't access again. If the site is still loading, hit the stop button, and then reload the website to see if the connection issue was temporary or if it has been resolved in the meantime.

Ping / Tracert

tracert

Run Ping / Tracert on the command line -- This is quickly done and may reveal valuable information right away. Open a command prompt (on Windows, tap on the Windows-key, type cmd.exe and hit the Enter-key)

  • Type ping site, e.g., ping www.ghacks.net, to ping the site.
  • Type tracert site, e.g., tracert www.ghacks.net to run a trace.

Timeout messages are indicators for server or routing issues.

Web Checkers

down for me

The main advantage that web checkers have is that they can tell you if others, in this case, the server the checking script runs on, can access a specific site.

This is useful, as you will get two responses:

  • The site is down for anyone -- you know now that the issue is not caused by a setting on your computer or your ISP.
  • The site is down for you -- the issue is caused by your computer or your ISP.

Use a service like downforme.org to find out if the site in question is down for anyone or just you.

Ask someone else

While you can use a service to find out if a site is not accessible on your end or globally, you may also ask a friend or contact to check it out.

This may not work all the time, depending on the site in question, but it may help you find out more about the connection issue.

Friends who use the same ISP as you may help you figure out if the issue is related to a specific ISP, and if they live in the same country if it could be country related.

Part 2: Troubleshoot connectivity issues

chrome private browsing

Now that you know that you can't access a site or service on the Internet, you may want to do something about it.

It may not always be possible, however, as connectivity issues are not always issues that you may fix on your end.

Here is a list of suggestions:

  1. Try a different web browser or the same browser in private browsing mode. If you use extensions, I suggest you try a clean, unmodified profile or a different browser.
  2. Check if security software on your device blocks access to the site. You need to check the log of a firewall, or temporarily disable security software to find out.
  3. Check if your Hosts file has an entry for the site in question.
  4. Use third-party tools like Domain Health Report or Blacklist Check to find out if a site is on a blacklist (and thus blocked).
  5. Run a search on Twitter, Reddit or other near real-time services to find out if the site is down for others, or if the operators of the site have published information.
  6. Open the Developer Tools of your browser, usually with F12, and switch to the network tab. Reload the site in question and check if you get errors there.

Part 3: How to access sites that you can't access

startpage proxy

It is entirely possible that you may not be able to access a site. Maybe it is blocked at the ISP level or even countrywide, or it is down for anyone.

You may use the following tools and services to try and access the site in question. Note that these often grant access to static content only and don't let you interact with the site. So, if Facebook is down, you may access the public profile but may not be able to post, write comments or use the messaging service.

  1. Startpage's Proxy (or any other proxy service). The search engine Startpage has a proxy feature which you may use to access sites through their servers. Just enter the URL of the site in question in the search form and click on the proxy link next to it to access the site using a proxy. This works if the site is down for you but not anyone else.
  2. Use a VPN. This works similarly to using a proxy, but you may connect to servers in different countries usually (depending on the VPN). This is ideal if a service is blocked in your country or region, or if a site is down in a particular country but not in others.
  3. Wayback Machine. Use the Wayback Machine to access a stored copy of the site. This is useful if you want to access posted content, e.g., an article on a site. There is no guarantee, however, that the Wayback Machine managed to archive a copy of the page in question.

Now You: What do you do if you can't access a site on the Internet?

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Find out why you can't access a website or service on the Internet
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Find out why you can't access a website or service on the Internet
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Even the most prominent websites or services may go down. While the downtime of sites like Facebook, YouTube or Twitter is measured in seconds usually, other sites may be down for hours or even days at a time.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. ola baro said on February 8, 2018 at 9:10 am
    Reply

    http://www.abelhadigital.com (HostMan) is down for me. And has been for a long time now.

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 10:10 am
      Reply

      Available from ere, at this time.

    2. yossarian said on February 8, 2018 at 10:20 am
      Reply

      No problemo for me. Try this
      http://www.abelhadigital.com/hostsman/

    3. Al CiD said on February 8, 2018 at 11:18 am
      Reply

      @ola baro – so you are connecting to http://www.abelhadigital.com from a portuguese IP, you should use a proxy or VPN.
      The term “Abelha” is blocked by law because of piraty server with similar name in PT… ;-)

    4. Sophie said on February 8, 2018 at 11:18 am
      Reply

      Available for me………. might be you. I was thrown by this a few months ago. It really caused concern for a while. What I found was that I could not reach certain sites. There just seemed no pattern or reason.

      Then eventually, I tracked it down to over zealous use of IP blocking in Peerblock.

      Moral of the story, slow down and watch what you are blocking/controlling….. pay attention to the side effects of certain actions, but still make sure to do all those actions!!!

      @ola – if this has persisted for you, it is highly likely that its a local issue on your side.

      I really wanted to employ some Microsoft domain-blocking, but soon found out it caused a lot of problems. At some point, I’ll go through those by hand, and come up with a list that works, without being too heavy handed.

      1. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 11:32 am
        Reply

        Hello Sophie,

        >Moral of the story, slow down and watch what you are blocking/controlling….. pay attention to the side effects of certain actions, but still make sure to do all those actions!!!

        So true. Between not enough and too much, that’s where it is. Be it with a hosts file (which I’ve abandoned), Peerblock IP ranges, DNSCrypt-Proxy IP and domain blacklists… beware of excessively zealous lists as well as redundant ones which slow down. Maybe also worth reminding that connections are not to be considered as if they were established only with browsers (sounds obvious but many users feel it that way) but are of course system-wide : blockers such as uBO, Adblockers etc are worthy but with the browser, only! Some will find my remark childish but I can testify that some of my near relatives aren’t aware of this…

    5. Anonymous said on February 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm
      Reply

      isitdownrightnow.com > Abelhadigital.com is DOWN for everyone. It is not just you. The server is not responding…
      Anyway on the forum the developer never answered to any question since very long time.

    6. Al CiD said on February 8, 2018 at 2:10 pm
      Reply

      The mentioned site is NOT down… I visited 5 minutes ago
      I took the following mirror link adress for “Hostsman”-files from abelhasdigital.com…

      http://www.softpedia.com/get/Network-Tools/Misc-Networking-Tools/HostsMan-Portable.shtml
      http://hostsman2.it-mate.co.uk/HostsMan_4.8.106_installer.zip

      You certainly mean “abelhas.pt” – this has been a “piracy cloud” for a long time – till it has been closed by law

      1. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 2:27 pm
        Reply

        Indeed isitdownrightnow.com reports, now :
        “Abelhadigital.com is DOWN for everyone.
        It is not just you. The server is not responding..”

        But, at the same time, I have access to http://www.abelhadigital.com !

        First time I encounter this situation

        We are referring to abelhadigital.com
        Obviously a DNS mismatch.

    7. Cigologic said on February 10, 2018 at 7:32 pm
      Reply

      @ ola baro & Anonymous (February 9, 2018 at 6:46 am)

      Are you using Google’s Public DNS servers (8.8.8.8, 8.8.4.4) ?

      Google’s Public DNS servers have either been blocking or else failing to resolve Hostman’s web domain (abelhadigital.com) since at least early 2017. So it’s impossible to reach any part of Hostman’s main website or its forum, even if you change your IP address.

      There is no problem if you use OpenDNS servers (208.67.222.222,
      208.67.220.220), & perhaps some other DNS servers.

      Outcome of nslookup for abelhadigital.com using Google’s DNS Servers:
      “DNS request timed out.
      *** google-public-dns-a.google.com can’t find abelhadigital.com: Server failed”

      Outcome of nslookup for abelhadigital.com using OpenDNS servers:
      “Name: abelhadigital.com
      Address: 104.198.14.52 ”

      In addition, it appears that online website status checkers (3 examples below) generally make use of Google DNS servers, hence Hostman’s web domain would all appear to be “down” for everyone all the time since early 2017.

      http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/abelhadigital.com.html
      Response: “Abelhadigital.com is DOWN for everyone. It is not just you. The server is not responding…”

      https://down.com/?q=abelhadigital.com
      Response: “Down! Looks like http://abelhadigital.com is offline.”

      http://is.abelhadigital.com.downorblocked.net
      Response: “According to our tests the site abelhadigital.com is offline! Server not found”

      As such, we can see just how widespread Google’s reach is. Hostman’s developer must be wondering why traffic to its website & forum dropped drastically since 2017.

      1. Anonymous said on February 14, 2018 at 8:34 am
        Reply

        Thanks for the explanation. I will try with another DNS when I have time.

        “Hostman’s developer must be wondering why traffic to its website & forum dropped drastically since 2017.”

        According to his responses on the forum, Hostman’s developer seemed to me strange, not user friendly. So I am not really surprised.

  2. Anonymous said on February 8, 2018 at 9:28 am
    Reply

    I use “DNS Jumper” when my FAI is playing dictatorships. For example Free recently. Xavier Niel the boss, build his fortune at the beginning with the Minitel Rose, now he lowers his panties in front of the cinema industry.

    1. Anonymous said on February 8, 2018 at 9:53 am
      Reply

      … I tried to contact Free by phone this morning to have an explanation about this infringement of citizens’ rights. It’s snowing in Paris, a lot of disturbances.. “we can not satisfy your request” they said. Their platform is in Morocco, a country more democratic probably.

  3. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 10:09 am
    Reply

    I discover downforme.org for querying sites’ availability.
    Up to now I’d use isitdownrightnow.com.
    isitdownrightnow.com is hosted by Cloudflare, not downforme.org which moreover is in Europe.
    But isitdownrightnow.com may be queried with a bookmarklet such as:

    javascript:void(open(‘http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/downorjustme.php?url=’+location.hostname))

    and it seems that downforme.org cannot. What a pity. I’ve contacted downforme.org to know if they have such a bookmarklet form available.

    Querying isitdownrightnow.com is the very first thing I do. If the answer is positive (site available) then I check my blocklists (Peerblock and DNSCrypt-proxy blocklists) to see if it is either which has blocked the site. If the answer is negative (not blocked locally) then I check other causes such as ciphers in the case of an https site.

    Very few unavailable sites and 9 times out of 10 the site is confirmed unavailable by isitdownrightnow.com

  4. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 2:02 pm
    Reply

    @Anonymous,

    Indeed isitdownrightnow.com reports, now :
    “Abelhadigital.com is DOWN for everyone.
    It is not just you. The server is not responding..”

    But, at the same time, I have access to http://www.abelhadigital.com !

    First time I encounter this situation

  5. Anonymous said on February 8, 2018 at 7:02 pm
    Reply

    DownForMe.org > 11 scripts on the page. No thanks

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 9:28 pm
      Reply

      Strange issue with downforme.org :
      if I give it www. ghacks. net it informs me the site is ok, of course
      but
      if I give it www. abelhadigital. com it states ‘Sorry, we can’t resolve if this website is down or not at the moment. Try your status search again shortly or try visiting the website directly.”

      No idea what they’re up to. A pity.

  6. Anonymous said on February 8, 2018 at 7:13 pm
    Reply

    I live in France like you. I use Hostsman with the DNS service disabled. I tried with Google’s DNS with several browsers, I still have no access to that site.

    1. Tom Hawack said on February 8, 2018 at 9:20 pm
      Reply

      HostsMan doesn’t have anything to do with DNS except that it runs better with Windows’ Dnscache service disabled, which is what you must be referring to.

      DNS resolving on the other hand is handled natively by the servers corresponding to your ISP. Applications such as ‘DNS Jumper’ allow the user to change those servers. So it all depends on the DNS servers to arrive or not on a page.

      1. Anonymous said on February 9, 2018 at 6:46 am
        Reply

        I tried with “Hide All IP” from another country with another IP and with Hostsman disabled. still no access to abelhadigital.com

  7. Eva said on February 9, 2018 at 7:48 am
    Reply

    Thank you for this article, it is so timely for me. I have a reseller account with multiple sites including my own. Since last night, none of my sites are reachable from my home, but according to your tests they are not blacklisted and reachable from elsewhere and through the Start Page proxy. My tracert shows the timeouts and cannot complete the connection. It appears to be a routing problem. Tech support thinks its Comcast, but I’m not so sure. An alternate IP address that my hosting company asked me to check does connect through on tracert. The last hop on the blocked IP is a Comcast server, but the next hop is to a Level3.net server on the alternate IP that connects through.

    I cannot find any news on this issue and the downdetector.com site shows lots of outages for Comcast and Level3.net in the SF Bay Area (where I live) and in Atlanta, GA (where my server is located).

    So now what do I do? Can you provide some guidance on how to interpret the tracert info? I’m not an expert on this. I ought to report the problem to somebody who cares, but how do I determine this?

    Also, where is the best place on the internet for timely announcements on routing problems?

    This issue is going on nearly 24hrs now with no way of knowing of when and if it will be fixed !

    Thanks much,
    Eva

    Blocked IP tracert:

    C:\Documents and Settings\Eva>tracert abcxyzweb.com

    Tracing route to abcxyzweb.com [69.73.180.180]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 <1 ms <1 ms tracert 69.73.180.175

    Tracing route to cedar.nocdirect.com [69.73.180.175]
    over a maximum of 30 hops:

    1 15 ms 2 ms 1 ms 192.168.1.1
    2 16 ms 11 ms 8 ms 10.0.0.1
    3 20 ms 24 ms 15 ms 96.120.89.245
    4 23 ms 29 ms 25 ms po-105-rur01.pinole.ca.sfba.comcast.net [68.87.195.57]
    5 22 ms 15 ms 14 ms be-224-rar01.pinole.ca.sfba.comcast.net [162.151.78.185]
    6 33 ms 14 ms 14 ms hu-0-1-0-0-ar01.santaclara.ca.sfba.comcast.net [68.85.154.33]
    7 16 ms 15 ms 14 ms lag-14.ear3.SanJose1.Level3.net [4.68.72.105]
    8 * * * Request timed out.
    9 75 ms 76 ms 81 ms GIGLINX-INC.ear1.Atlanta2.Level3.net [4.35.6.114]
    10 76 ms 71 ms 73 ms 205.214.72-86.static.data393.net [205.214.72.86]
    11 75 ms 72 ms 77 ms l3-atl-v1-p30.netdepot.com [209.51.137.218]
    12 74 ms 74 ms 73 ms 1100-DIST-A.nocdirect.com [207.210.108.170]
    13 76 ms 74 ms 79 ms cedar.nocdirect.com [69.73.180.175]

    Trace complete.

  8. Anonymous said on February 9, 2018 at 10:14 am
    Reply

    Also check your DNS, try 9.9.9.9 or 8.8.8.8 as your dns for debugging (My ISP’s DNS was down and timing out for a short while)

  9. Anonymous said on February 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm
    Reply

    I just contacted Free, I have access to http://www.abelhadigital.com now, what a miracle! problem solved for me.

    1. Anonymous said on February 14, 2018 at 2:19 pm
      Reply

      No access anymore, WTF!

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