FIX: Unable to access particular web sites
This morning I received this email:
"For the past two plus years, I have been able to access a website www.bmwsporttouring.com. For the past two weeks, I cannot access this website from my desktop computer (high speed internet). We also have a laptop and we can access it from the laptop only.
We saved this site as a favorite. When we click on the favorite in the lower left hand corner of the tool bar we see “connecting” http://www.bmwsporttouring.com...” and then we get the page cannot be displayed. We are connected and the website is not encountering any problems. When we type in the url: www.bmwsporttouring.com we get the same reaction. We restored the pc to the point that we were last able to access this site and still no luck."
Ok, first thing to do. Make sure the site works (yep it does)
Next, see if you can access it via IP address. Go to Start, Run, type "CMD" (without the quotes) to open a command prompt window.
Now type "ping www.bmwsporttouring.com" (without the quotes). This will get you an IP address - you will see this in the command window:
Pinging bmwsporttouring.com [188.8.131.52] with 32 bytes of data
Now, open IE and enter 184.108.40.206 into the address bar - can you access the site using the IP address? If yes, you most likely have a problem with a hidden file called a HOSTS file. This is a hidden file, so you will need to turn on the option to view hidden files (Control Panel, Folder Options, View - turn on the option to view hidden files and folders)
Depending on your operating system, and a few other variables, you may find the HOSTs file in the following locations (note that %systemroot% is c:\windows\ on a standard machine):
%systemroot%\system32\drivers\etc (NT based systems such as XP)
Embedded OS such as WindowsCE use the registry:
Why did the user experience this problem?
The most common cause of this problem that I have seen is Web accelerators that use the HOSTS file to create the illusion of faster web browsing can actually cause problems rather than speed things up.
Programmes that use the HOSTS file to speed things up have one basic flaw - they work by recording IP addresses saving you that millisecond that it takes for your Web browser to convert a URL to an IP address. If the IP address of a Web site changes for any reason you can no longer get to the site until the recorded IP address is updated in the HOSTS file (which invariably does not happen).
What else can go wrong to cause the "page cannot be displayed" error?
Do not use the "Automatic" cache setting in IE (IE Tools, Internet Options, General Tab, Browsing History/Temporary Internet File settings). The way the "Automatic" setting works is IE monitors how often a web page is updated. But, there is a bug in the feature in that IE will eventually decide, seemingly at random, that a page is never updated and stops checking.
Check your IE cache size. Traditionally Internet Explorer has set the size of its cache as a percentage of total hard disk size. That was fine years ago, but now that hard drives are getting so large Internet Explorer can set its cache to ridiculously large sizes (2 Gig and more). This is simply too large for Internet Explorer to be able to handle. Reduce the size of your IE cache to around 50 Meg (maximum of 150Meg) and empty your existing cache (make sure you also delete offline content).
One more thing that may work:
Try running the following command from a CMD window:
Lots more advice for pre-Vista operating systems here: