What To Do If a Website Is Down

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August 5, 2022

When was the last time you tried to check social media, access your favorite streaming service, log in to your email account, or do anything else online only for the site to not open? Maybe you got an error message, or maybe the website just kept loading while you stared at a blank white page.

You’re no doubt asking yourself what could have caused this. However, the next question you should ask yourself is if you’re the only person running into this problem, or if the website is down.

Learn how you can check if a website is down, and how you can use the tools available to you to be a resource-savvy surfer.

Is The Website Down for Everyone or Just Me?

Finding out whether a website is down for all users is easy. Many checker tools online can help you track outages in a website, and the one we recommend is downdetector.com. Owned by Ookla, creators of speedtest.net, Downdetector is an easy to use status test that  gives you a detailed look into any potential problems a website has had in the last 24 hours.

All you have to do is enter the URL for the website or service you’re having trouble with into the search bar, and Downdetector will give you real time, detailed information on any issues being reported at that website. Downdetector’s website status results also include a graph of how many other people reported problems with the site in the last 24 hours, and a map that displays where people are having issues.

It’ll also give you the opportunity to report any problems you’re having with the website, so you can help any other users who may be having the same issues as you.

If The Website Is Down

If Downdetector or your website monitoring tool of choice shows you that other people are having issues, it’s safe to assume the site itself is down. This can even happen to streaming services.

A website could be down for a variety of reasons, all of which are most likely out of your control. If a website crashes due to high traffic, or is experiencing server errors, there isn't much you can do because the problem isn't with your devices or network. Whatever it is, you’ll have to wait until whoever can fix the issue, either the website's owner or it's hosting company, does so.

If The Website Isn’t Down

If Downdetector and other tools like it aren’t reporting any issues with the website, you might be having trouble viewing the site because of something on your end. There are a few things you can try to help diagnose the problem:

1. Double-check the URL. One of the most common reasons for not being able to visit a website is typos in the URL.

2. Visit the website on a different device while on the same network. If multiple devices are connected to your Wi-Fi, but only the one you initially tried can’t open the website, then you know that it’s because of the device itself. If none of your devices can access the site, it might be an issue with your network—skip to step 7 if that’s the case.

3. Close and reopen your browser. If that doesn’t do anything, try rebooting your device.

4. Try opening a different web browser. If you usually use Chrome, try Firefox. It’s possible that there are settings or add-ons keeping you from opening a web page. If the other browser works, you may need to alter the settings or add-ons in the first browser, or reinstall it.

You should also try clearing your browser’s cache, browsing data, or browsing history (depending on what your browser calls it). Some 404 or 502 errors can be caused by a corrupted cache.

5. Scan for malware. There’s a chance that a virus could be interfering with your access to the site.

On the other hand, it could be your antivirus or firewall software that’s blocking your access to a website. If you think that may be what’s keeping you from viewing a webpage, try temporarily disabling your antivirus software to see if you can open the site. And if possible, try another firewall program if you think your current one is blocking the site.

6. Restart your router. We would usually recommend this if your Internet connection is faulty and you can’t access any website at all, but it’s still worth trying here.

7. Make sure the site isn’t blocked. In case it is blocked for whatever reason, try using a different network to access the site. You can either just your mobile network, or you can try a VPN service. If that turns out to be the case, you can either unblock it or ask your administrator to keep it unblocked.

Hopefully running through these steps can help you if you ever have trouble accessing a website. Luckily, powerful tools like Downdetector can quickly narrow down potential causes, help you effectively troubleshoot a down website, and save you a lot of time.

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