Subscriber V.R. Beeson wrote me recently about a strange problem he was having:
Terry, I’m stumped and need your advise.
I have Win XP w/SP 3. I have been trying to access "sourceforge.net". I get to the site but all I get is a blank page. This has been going on for at least a week.
I’ve checked Firefox and IE to see if something was blocking it. Nothing I could find. Checked my firewall and virus checker just to be sure. Nothing. I’ve tried it on my desktop and my laptop. Still can’t get sourceforge to show.
I’ve also gone to several search engines to see if there was a problem. Nothing. I’ve used two friends computers and they work. Sourceforge comes up.
I don’t know where to go from here. Any advise would be most appreciated.
V.R. and I wrote back and forth a number of times, as I would suggest things to try and he would tell me what else he had done.
Initially, he and I had the same thoughts — something was blocking the connection from his computer. First, I thought his firewall or antivirus program for some reason (sourceforge.net is a respected open-source software development site, so that really should not be blocked by firewall or antivirus software).
He didn’t have any content-blocking software — and it wasn’t THAT kind of site, anyway.
I also suspected that he had installed some Windows "Host" file definitions from the Internet. The purpose off these lists is to disable the ability to connect to web sites. While they were originally designed to block malware, they quickly became methods to block advertising from working (you still saw the ad, but if you clicked on it, nothing happened).
Sure enough, he had installed some of these lists, but sourceforge.net was not in there.
We then tried pinging sourceforge.net, but the pings timed out.
There was one option that should have been so obvious. What’s the first trouble-shooting technique to use with Windows? Reboot!
Well, it wasn’t rebooting Windows — he had done that numerous times.
Let’s see it in V.R.’s own words:
Terry, just thought I would let you know the problem is fixed. After everything you suggested and everything I tried it all came down to rebooting my modem and router.
The only reason I did that was a google I did using different word combinations, and found someone with a similar problem. Some one suggested to either reboot modem or call ISP to see they were blocking that site for some reason.
If the reboot didn’t work I was going to call my ISP. This morning I rebooted, and all is well. I guess one thing to keep in mind, if all else fails reboot!
Thanks so much for you time and help.