Living abroad and can't access Gmail or Facebook - help!
October 6, 2009 11:01 AM   Subscribe

I can search Google, read the news and view most websites, but specific sites like Facebook and Gmail won't load on my Mac Powerbook - I just get page load errors. Any idea what the problem is?

I'm a Canadian living in France temporarily, and I've taken my laptop from home with me. While here I'm using a shared internet connection at a school, and although I can do web-searching and such, Gmail and Facebook won't load, in Firefox or Safari (or even the crappy discontinued version of Internet Exporer I just downloaded in the hope that it might work). I suspect the problem is with my computer, since other people using the same network connection are able to access these sites with no problems.

The page load error message suggests I might have a firewall in place, but I've checked the settings and nothing seems to be enabled. That said, I'm not terribly well-versed in this stuff. As well, the local tech support guy gave my computer a thorough once-over and can't figure out the problem.

Any ideas? For what it's worth, I've used both Gmail and Facebook in Canada and elsewhere on this computer with no problems.
posted by nicoleincanada to Technology (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Go to the Network settings area, click the particular interface you're using (wireless, wired..) and look at the DNS settings.

Are they automatically set, or are they manually filled in? If they're manually filled in, remove them and try again.
posted by odinsdream at 11:08 AM on October 6, 2009

DNS settings have been automatically yet, regretfully.
posted by nicoleincanada at 11:20 AM on October 6, 2009

Also, it's an ethernet connection.
posted by nicoleincanada at 11:22 AM on October 6, 2009

Try modifying the DNS settings and supply:
posted by odinsdream at 11:23 AM on October 6, 2009

Sorry, no dice. But thanks for the efforts so far.
posted by nicoleincanada at 11:36 AM on October 6, 2009

Go to a Terminal window and issue the following command:


What response do you get?

If you don't get an error message of some kind, select the first IP address in the response and try:


What response do you get?
posted by odinsdream at 11:48 AM on October 6, 2009

I had PeerGuardian installed and it borked some sites for me. Uninstalled it (kind of a pain) and the problems went away.
posted by rtha at 11:56 AM on October 6, 2009

This was my question on the subject, FWIW.
posted by rtha at 11:57 AM on October 6, 2009

I have no answer, but can tell you that my kid's macs had the same problem (GMail) for a while and I tried everything. It worked when I logged in as an admin, but not on their regular logins. Just another datapoint. (THe problem cleared itself up or I did something, but it went away and I cannot tell you why.)
posted by JohnnyGunn at 12:15 PM on October 6, 2009

What are the error messages?
posted by mendel at 3:42 PM on October 9, 2009

Sorry odinsdream, my tech expertise is lacking - what's a terminal window? I'd like to try that option.

Here's the error message from Firefox, in its entirety:

Failed to Connect

Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at

Though the site seems valid, the browser was unable to establish a connection.

* Could the site be temporarily unavailable? Try again later.
* Are you unable to browse other sites? Check the computer's network connection.
* Is your computer or network protected by a firewall or proxy? Incorrect settings can interfere with Web browsing.
posted by nicoleincanada at 1:31 AM on October 10, 2009

Ok, found it. There's no error message when I do the nslookup, but here's the response to the traceroute:

traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
1 ( 2.604 ms !N 1.831 ms !N 1.722 ms !N
posted by nicoleincanada at 4:30 AM on October 10, 2009

That's odd.. does anything happen after that last line for nslookup? It doesn't go further than that?
posted by odinsdream at 6:36 PM on October 10, 2009

...traceroute... last line for traceroute.

You should see one line for each step towards facebook. The first line is the closest to you, the last line is facebook. Here's mine for example:
 1  salmon.lan (  1.861 ms  1.231 ms  1.303 ms
 2  * * *
 3 (  17.991 ms  13.978 ms  14.113 ms
 4 (  15.967 ms  15.895 ms  15.705 ms
 5 (  28.524 ms  31.465 ms  29.468 ms
 6 (  47.838 ms  30.565 ms  29.431 ms
 7 (  28.826 ms  28.783 ms  29.649 ms
 8 (  29.502 ms  31.042 ms  29.762 ms
 9 (  28.329 ms  28.838 ms  28.049 ms
10 (  29.130 ms  32.440 ms  28.028 ms
11 (  87.978 ms (  26.810 ms  29.758 ms
12 (  28.879 ms (  35.312 ms  29.276 ms
13 (  39.697 ms  30.455 ms  29.492 ms
So, if you're not seeing anything further than the line you posted which contained, that indicates problems on your local network. Addresses starting with 192.168 are private, indicating that your traffic request is stopping before hitting the internet at large.
posted by odinsdream at 6:40 PM on October 10, 2009

To make sure I understand correctly, here's my response to the nslookup:


Non-authoritative answer:

I did the traceroute for - is that correct? Or should I be using the server address?

If that's correct, then yes, that short response is all I got from the traceroute. Although I suspect I might be doing something wrong, since I had the same brief response just now when I tried, which I can access just fine on this computer (not gmail, but the search engine itself).

At any rate, if it's a network problem that's actually a (sort of) good thing, since I'm getting a new internet connection in a couple of weeks - paid for personally, not part of a broader network. Here's hoping that does the trick.
posted by nicoleincanada at 1:08 AM on October 11, 2009

« Older Heading off trouble at the Peace Bridge   |   openid? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.