Is your site offline?

You can't see your site, but that doesn't mean it's offline. Let's review some common issues and troubleshooting steps.


"Can't connect to the server"

The key word here is "connect." Your browser found DNS info for the site, but the server is either offline or not accepting your connection.

  • Can you connect to other resources on the server such as webmail or a control panel?
  • Can you get email or FTP to connect?
  • Even if the answer to all of these questions is no, your site and service may still be visible to others on the internet.
  • Can a service like WebPageTest open your web page? If so: The issue is isolated to you or your network.

You likely need to contact your host for assistance in resolving this issue. You may be blocked in the server firewall. Include your IP address, URL and the exact error message.


"Can't find the server"

The keyword here is "find." Your browser couldn't find DNS information for your site.

  • Is there a typo in your URL?
  • Has your domain expired?
  • Are your nameservers setup and correct?

Assuming you didn't make a typo, you should contact your host for further troubleshooting and help resolving this. Include the exact error and URL you are connceting with.


The page never loads or eventually times out.

The server may be too busy or have blocked you from connecting. The problem is likely isolated to your page, site, or account, but could be indicative of overall server issues or overloading.

  • Try connecting to another service on the server such as webmail or the control panel to get a feel if the issue is specific to your page, site, or account.
  • Even if the answer to all of these questions is no, your site and service may still be visible to others on the internet.
  • Can a service like WebPageTest open your web page? If so: The issue is isolated to you or your network.

Contact your host with the URL you are using. Let them know that the page never loads.


All I see is a white page

This is a typical sign of a hidden script error. Many scripts don't display errors to help promote better security.

  • Check with the script author or documentation to see how errors can be displayed, or if errors are logged anywhere.
  • You will need to see the real error to determine how to fix the problem. (See the next section: "I see a strange error instead of my site" once you have found the actual error message.)

If contacting your host, carefully explain the problem, what you have done, and any error messages you have found. Include the URL you are using and the aproximate date, time, and timezone of the error.


I see a strange error instead of my site

The contents of the error will determine what to do next.

  • The scripts author or documentation may have useful information.
  • You can also try googling the error message.

Your host may or may not be able to help, depending on their assistance with third party scripts. Let them know the error message, URL, and script you are working with.


Bonus: Tools for checking and diagnosing problems.

  • intoDNS - Web based tool for reviewing DNS records. Highlights common issues.
  • Host Tracker - Check your sites return status and loading speed from dozens of locations around the world.
  • WebPageTest - In depth stats on how your page and it's resources load within a real browser and device of your choice.
  • Pingdom - Paid service to alert you when your site isn't loading as expected.
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Life time nerd with 15 years experience in coding, web development, and web hosting. These days I run an automotive business, but still help people learn to manage their own websites.
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