Inaccessible Sites

I have been trying all day to listen to some podcasts at Odeo.com, but I couldn’t access the site. I have learned a few tricks that I thought I would pass along (just in case you didn’t know them) if you ever notice that you are having problems accessing a site.

  1. Search for references to the site in blogs. A good way to do this is via a Technorati search. You may find bloggers have had problems accessing the site, too, and have posted about it. At least then you know you’re not alone, and it probably isn’t anything wrong with your own connection or computer.
  2. Try looking at Google’s cache. Search for the URL on Google, then instead of clicking the site, look beneath the description at the link that says Google cache. Click that. If you can look at that, the problem is possibly temporary (although it could also mean the site is being taken permanently offline and Google still has a cache).
  3. Try pinging the site’s server. Access your DOS prompt (I don’t know what you do if you have a Mac, but Windows has an MS DOS prompt. At the C:\> prompt, type PING website.com. In the case of the site I was trying to access, it would look like: C:\>PING odeo.com. If everything looks OK, then there is no problem with the server. This was the result of my ping to Odeo (click for larger version)
    Ping: Odeo.com
    Don’t be bothered by the fact that I have a C-prompt that looks like C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>. That is due to the settings on my computer. If you looked at the image, you will see I hit no snags. There is no text that says “Response Timed Out,” which is what to look for.
  4. Try to do a traceroute and see if there is something going on between the site’s server and it’s destination — your connection/computer. Once again, open your DOS prompt and type C:\>TRACERT odeo.com (or whatever the site is). If everything loads OK, and you do not find any “Request timed out” messages, then it’s back to the drawing board. I happened to discover this is not the case with Odeo’s path to my computer:
    Odeo.com: Traceroute
    If you look at the image, you’ll notice right about number 23, I start getting “Request timed out” warnings. This means there is a problem with a router between my connection and the site’s server, and there is probably nothing anyone can do about it. Try this before you contact web site administrators to complain — they can’t do anything about problems like this. There isn’t much you can do except try later and see if the site route is clearer then.

All this means is that somewhere in between my connection and Odeo.com, there is a breakdown, and there isn’t anything I can do about it except wait. Dammit.

Posted in IT