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

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 8, 2018
Updated • Aug 30, 2021

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

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, to ping the site.
  • Type tracert site, e.g., tracert 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 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
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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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

  14. justputthispostanywhere said on September 29, 2023 at 3:59 am

    I’m not sure if there is a point in commenting given that comments seem to appear under random posts now, but I’ll try… this comment is for

    My temporary “solution”, if you can call it that, is to use a VPN (Mullvad in my case) to sign up for and access Reddit via a European connection. I’m doing that with pretty much everything now, at least until the rest of the world catches up with GDPR. I don’t think GDPR is a magical privacy solution but it’s at least a first step.

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