It’s happened to all of us: you get on your computer or smart phone to check your Gmail, see what’s up on Facebook or Twitter, post a cat photo to Instagram, etc. and… you can’t! Sometimes your browser gives you a “can’t find it” page, sometimes your app just fails to connect or refresh. What do you do?
The first thing to check is your device’s connection to the Internet – do you have a good number of signal bars on your phone? Is the “internet” link light on your broadband modem/router green?
If so, the second thing to check is whether your DNS lookup is working. This is the place where your computer goes to find out the IP address belonging to the human-name address used for the URL – for instance, to find “http://google.com” your device connects to a Domain Name Service (DNS) location and finds that “google.com”‘s IP address is 126.96.36.199 (and a bunch of others since it is so popular).
If you have tried to access one web address that didn’t work, try several others. If none work, try putting in a known IP address – if putting 188.8.131.52 gets you to Google, then you have a DNS lookup problem. Contact your broadband provider, Apple support, or other tech assistance (it would be another whole article for me to explain it here – maybe another day).
If you can access all other sites except those belonging to one company, their site may be down. Many sites have a special web address outside of their production site where you can go to find out if the main site is having problems. For instance, if a particular Google application (e.g., Gmail, Google Drive, GCAl, etc) is having problems but not the whole site, this page will tell you their apps’ status:
A site that monitors many popular websites and curates trouble reports from users to assess a site’s current performance is:
If you want to check whether a particular site may be down you can enter the URL on this site. If they can get to it but you can’t it may be your problem:
In general, if there is a web service on which you depend, visit their site information pages to find whether they have a site status address and bookmark it for future reference. Or you can Google [name of website] site status to find it. For instance, I just Googled “Apple site status” and found this handy page for Apple services that is new to me!