From the Kenosha News on 11-5-06

You can fix some web browsing problems

There are times when you can’t seem to access the web site you want. Below are some tips to help you.

  1. Check the address. Not all web sites start with www; make sure you’re not adding that to an otherwise valid web address. Try putting http:// before the address. Check any special characters in the address, such as hyphens and underscores. Some addresses that have been printed in this column have been long and may have had hyphens inserted.
  2. In WindowsXP, click the Start button and go to Run. Type in cmd and press Enter. On the black screen, type ipconfig /flushdns Try your web address again.
  3. Check if you have a general connectivity problem by trying to access other web sites. If you can’t access any web sites and/or you can’t do other internet things like connect to your e-mail or Instant Messenger, then your internet connection is not working properly. Check your gear (router, cable modem, DSL, etc.) for power and appropriate flashing lights. Contact your internet service provider by phone. They can often walk you through checking your computer and your connection.
  4. The web site you’re looking for may actually be down. Here are some cool techie tricks to see if the site is reachable. We’ll use www.google.com for our example; substitute the web address you’re trying to reach. In WindowsXP, click the Start button and go to Run. Type in cmd and press Enter. On the black screen, type in the following commands, one at a time:

    ping www.google.com Watch for “Reply from…” to come back. If the response is “request timed out,” then the site may be down or the site may be blocking ping traffic. Note that the IP number of the web site will be shown on the first line. You can try this IP address in your web browser.

    tracert www.google.com What you’ll see is all of the different internet segments (“hops”) between your computer and the target site and how long it took for the data packets to complete each leg of that journey. If you have a slow connection, you can see which parts of the communication are the slowest. If you get * symbols and time outs at the end, that’s probably a sign that you’ve hit the site’s firewall and the trace cannot continue. It might also mean that their server is down.

  5. Your browser may be experiencing technical difficulties. Use an alternate browser, such as Firefox or Netscape.
  6. You may be the victim of “hijacking” where spyware or viruses redirect the web address you enter to another site. You’ll need a copy of HijackThis software. You can download it free from http://merijn.org – if you can get to it! Instead, try http://216.180.233.162/~merijn/ which should work even from an infected computer. Click the Downloads link on the left and select HijackThis. Follow the instructions on the screen. This is a useful tool that you should download and have on hand even before your computer has this problem.
  7. You may be a victim of a virus or spyware. Update and run your anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 11-5-06