Self Help: Web Site Issues

This article is part of a series on how to solve basic computer issues yourself.

Today’s article will help you with problems you may encounter on the web. A common problem is that some web site is misbehaving. Maybe you can’t logon, or maybe some feature or page of the site isn’t working properly.

In this scenario, you are probably thinking: I can’t believe that those idiots at major-fortune-500-company have a bug like this on their web site! If it’s this bad for everyone, no one can buy or use their product.

You’re probably right that if this problem was affecting everyone, it would already be fixed. So, there is probably something you can change on your computer to fix it.

After each step below, try accessing the problem site again, looking for any change or improvement.

Solution Steps

  • Keep Calm – computer problems don’t respond well to anger or curse words, but they can seldom resist an icy cool analysis.
  • Make sure you are visiting the correct site. Are you at goggle.com or giggle.com? Does the correct site name end in .com, .org, or something else?
  • Make sure your internet is working for other sites. Are you able to browse to other major web sites? Try Apple.com, for example.
  • Make sure your web browser is updated to the latest version:
    • Chrome: select Chrome/About Google Chrome
    • Safari: open the App Store and click Updates
    • Firefox: select Firefox/About Firefox
  • Open the affected site in a Private Browsing Window/ Incognito Window. This will disable extensions and ignore web history and fixes many issues:
    • Chrome: select File/New Incognito Window
    • Safari: select File/New Private Window
    • Firefox: select File/New Private Window
  • Clear your browsing history and cache. Sometimes outdated cache information breaks a site’s functionality. Note: This will log you out of all web sites, and you will have to re-login to all your favorite sites.
    • Chrome: select Chrome/Clear Browsing Data. Select All Time.
    • Safari: select Safari/Preferences. Click Privacy. Click Manage Website Data. You can choose to Remove All, or remove just the data for the affected site.
    • Firefox: select Firefox/Preferences. Click Privacy & Security. Scroll down to Cookies and Site Data. Click Clear Data.
  • Check your ad blockers and similar browser extensions. For example, if you have Ad Block+ installed, you may want to exempt your problem site to prevent accidental blockage of site features. You can try temporarily turning off extensions to troubleshoot. To see a list of your installed extensions:
    • In Chrome: visit chrome://extensions/
    • In Safari: select Safari/Preferences and click Extensions
    • In Firefox: select Tools/Add-ons and Themes
  • Resize or reorient your browser window. Maybe a button or other control you need is off-screen.
    • Try entering full-screen mode on the Mac (green button in window header).
    • Try a different screen resolution. System Preferences/Display
    • If you are on a mobile device, turn it sideways
    • If you are using the mobile version of the site, try requesting the desktop version, or vice versa (using a site-specific menu).
  • Try quitting and restarting your browser.
  • Try restarting your entire computer or device.

The steps above will solve a surprising number of strange web issues. Let us know what worked for you.

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