It’s frustrating when a web page doesn’t load. Your connection, software, or website may be causing the problem. Here are some ways to fix the problem and access the website even if it’s not working.
Check your network connection
First check your network connection. Wireless connections can be unstable and disconnect at any time, so make sure you’re connected to the correct network. An easy way to check this is to visit a popular website like Google or Facebook. If the site is loading, you are connected!
If the site doesn’t load, make sure your device is not in Airplane Mode. On smartphones, tablets, and many Windows desktops and laptops, you can disable all communications. Some Windows laptops also have special Airplane Mode keys that you can press by mistake. So, double-check your device settings, just in case.
If you cannot access websites, make sure your computer is connected to your network. Check your Wi-Fi settings, or if you’re using a wired connection, make sure the Ethernet cable isn’t slipping out. If you’re sure you’re connected to a local network, the issue might be related to your Internet connection.
The best way to check this is to look at the lights on your router or modem. Every router is different, but most have a clear connection status indicator. If the indicator next to the Internet symbol is red or orange, you are probably not connected to the Internet.
In many cases, restarting the router and modem can fix the problem. To do this, unplug your modem and router, wait 10 seconds, plug it back in, and then try again on the website.
If the problem persists, you can connect to your LAN equipment for more information. Traditional routers have an admin panel that can be accessed through a web browser. You can usually find the web address printed on the side of the network equipment, along with the default username and password. Usually it’s something like 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1. If you have a mesh router system that uses a mobile app, launch the app.
Most routers provide information about your connection status. If you cannot connect to the Internet, you may receive more information or even an error code. You can then write down the error and contact your service provider to try to resolve the issue.
Investigate any error message in your browser
Error messages are handy because they let you know exactly what’s going on. You can use this information to try to fix the problem, or at least rule out problems with your hardware or software. Here are some of the more common mistakes:
403 Forbidden: You are not allowed to access this page. Check the address and try again.
404 Page not found: The page you are trying to access no longer exists. Check the address and try again. This may mean that the webmaster has moved the page or something has broken.
500 Internal Server Error: There is a problem with the server hosting the website. This is not something you can decide, so try again later.
Find out what these and other common website error messages mean and how you can fix them.
Disable software that might interfere
Ad blockers are browser extensions that often interfere with the display of a website. If you are using one of these extensions, please try disabling it in your browser and then reload the website. If this resolves the issue, you can whitelist the site to your advertiser so they don’t block the site in the future.
Some security programs can also interfere with your computer’s Internet connection. This includes antivirus, anti-malware, and firewalls, including third-party apps such as NetLimiter (Windows) and Little Snitch (Mac). If you have any of these apps running, disable them temporarily or go through your blacklist and then try reloading the page.
It is also recommended to regularly check for malware. Some malware (notably ransomware) prevents your computer from accessing the Internet. You will probably have problems with multiple sites if this is the case.
Some apps also block internet access. For example, TripMode is an application for Windows and Mac that prevents local software from accessing the Internet when it is tied to a mobile device to save data. It uses an app whitelist, so everything is blocked by default.
If you are using TripMode (or something similar), be sure to enable access where needed. The same applies to some productivity apps like Cold Turkey.
Try another browser
Some sites don’t get along well with certain browsers. This is often the case if you are using a browser with a smaller market share such as Safari or Edge. It’s always a good idea to install multiple browsers. Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are good choices because they both have large market share.
If you try to load a website and see a blank screen, your browser might be the problem. Try switching browsers the next time you experience unexpected behavior in web applications, inconsistent scrolling, or elements that don’t display correctly.
If the website you want to access is especially old, you can see if it opens in Internet Explorer.
Check your DNS
The Domain Name System (DNS) functions like an address book. It maps domain names (eg google.com) to IP addresses (eg 22.214.171.124). If your DNS server is slow or has problems, you may not be able to access certain websites.
Changing the DNS server can also speed up your connection. If you use servers like those provided by Google (126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52) and Cloudflare (184.108.40.206), they are almost certainly faster than those provided by your service provider.
You can change your DNS servers per device or network equipment. If you choose the latter, it will affect every device connected to your network. Read this article to learn how to change your DNS server on any device. Which DNS server you choose depends largely on your location. You can go here to find out which DNS server is the fastest in your area.
Restart your computer
If you restart your local hardware, this can resolve many issues, including network issues. When you restart your computer, it resets the network connection and any software that may have crashed and caused the problem.
And would it be a troubleshooting guide if we didn’t suggest turning it off and on again?
Try another device
Try accessing the website on another device connected to a different network. A cellular-only mobile device is a great choice.
You can also try to connect to the site if your mobile device is on the same network. Depending on the results, this may help you isolate the issue as either a local network issue or a computer issue.
Web page not working?
Sometimes sites just don’t work. You also won’t always see an error message. In some cases, the page just takes forever to load. If so, visit one of the following sites:
Type or paste the web address you are trying to access into the appropriate field and run the test. If the site is closed to everyone, there is nothing you can do, but try again later.
If the site doesn’t work for everyone else, the problem is most likely on your end.
Accessing the cached version of the site
If the website is down or you have tried everything to access it, you can try to access the cached version of the site. A cached version of a website is a snapshot that is stored on a different server. Google is the best resource for cached versions of websites because its search engine indexes more websites than any other.
Go to Google Search, paste or type the URL of a website into the search box, and then click Search. The website should be at the top of the search results. Next to the web address is a small downward arrow. Click on it and then click «Cached».
This will take you to the cached version of the site. At the top of the page, you can see when the photo was taken. If you click on any link on the page, you will be taken away from the cached version of the site. You must access the cached version of each page you wish to view in the same way.
If you don’t see the «Cached» button, Google has not indexed this website.
Resurrect dead sites with the Wayback Machine
Google Cache is only for sites that have been up and running recently. If the website you want to access has been offline for a while, you may need to turn to the Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive-managed Wayback Machine is a website saving tool that works in much the same way as Google Cache.
On the Wayback Machine homepage, paste or type the website URL into the address field. Click «View History» to view any cached versions of this site.
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Sometimes websites just don’t work
If a website is down, there is little you can do other than try again later. If it’s a high-profile website like YouTube or Twitter, it will probably only be down for a few minutes. Smaller websites, however, may disappear for a few days before they reappear.