Although Internet connection issues can be confusing and discouraging, remember that computer problems always have causes. Asking yourself a few questions and performing some basic troubleshooting steps can reveal why some of your websites refuse to load and what you can do to re-establish connection to those sites.

Basic Questions

Before you try to fix connection problems, figure out under what conditions the websites refuse to load. For example, try opening a problematic site in another browser. If it opens, the problem may be browser specific. If it doesn't open in another browser, maybe the website is down or your network settings have changed. Wait 30 minutes before trying to access the site again. It is possible the site is experiencing too much traffic and its servers are too busy. If you determine the problem is browser specific, try deleting cookies and other browser-specific data. If you determine the problem is not browser specific, check your DNS and security settings.

Browsing Data

Internet browsers routinely store information about your browsing experience in your browser and on your hard drive. Some browsing data is stored as bits of information called cookies that allow for a faster or more personalized browsing experience. However, old or corrupted data may prevent you from visiting certain websites. For example, you may have an old cookie stored on your computer that conflicts with recently updated site code. The computer may be trying to access old data that does not exist, and you are therefore unable to reach the site. Clear all old browsing data, cookies and history from your browser and reload the site. If deleting data does not work, you may need to disable plugins, extensions or other browser add-ons.

Add-ons

Although plugins, extensions and other add-ons can be useful for performing online tasks, they can also become corrupted and prevent you from accessing certain websites. Any extension that affects connections directly, like one that enforces secure connections at all times, may be incompatible with how your computer connects to specific sites. Disable all add-ons, including themes, plugins and extensions, in your browser and reload the website. If the site loads, enable add-ons one at a time and reload the website to narrow down the problematic add-on. If the site does not load after disabling all add-ons, check your security and DNS server settings.

DNS and Security Settings

If these troubleshooting methods do not resolve access to websites, check your firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware settings. If you have recently upgraded your operating system or have experienced a power outage, your security programs' settings may have been changed. Make sure your security settings are not blocking you from certain websites or types of data. Also, check that your DNS server is working properly. If you can visit a website by entering its IP address but cannot by entering its URL web address, you may need a new DNS service (see Resources).