Networks? Servers? Huh?
March 8, 2005 12:03 PM   Subscribe

I need help to find out why my mother's website is down because I know nothing about networks, servers, or apparently anything else.

She makes her living selling antiques on eBay. She has a domain and Pop3 used solely for that purpose. Today when she signed on, she realized that none of her listing's pictures were showing up except for the ones hosted on eBay's site. She tried to go to her FTP to see what the problem was, but couldn't access it. She also couldn't access her Pop3 email account or basically ANYTHING having to do with her website therefore anything having to do with her eBay listings.

Of course she called her hosting company who said that they see no problem with her website. They went to her eBay listings and said the pictures showed up fine for them. They did some sort of trace and said it ended at Cox, which is her ISP. She called them and they also said the website and pictures were showing up fine for them, but then said something about the domain possibly being blocked because of illegal activity although they are "never the ones to actually block the domain." Cox then suggested she call the company that registered her domain because maybe it was expired, but she actually just re-registered it in January and the whois information shows it being current. She called them anyway and of course they said there is no problem with their end of things.

My mother shares a cable internet connection with my brother's computer upstairs. I went to his computer and the pictures aren't showing up for him either. Apparently there is no problem except for the people in this house. I called my brother at work and he says again the pictures are working for him. They have re-booted, re-started the router, but nothing has worked and of course all other websites are showing up fine. I used megaproxy to look up one of her photos from an anonymous ip (but still sitting at her computer) and it came up fine for me as well:

What could be causing this? It's something with the network, right? She's having a nervous breakdown because she has listings ending every hour. Should we wait it out and hope it just fixes it itself? Should she change hosting companies (she's not thrilled with them anyway because of previous problems)? We need to get this fixed asap but as easily as possible. Thanks for ANY help you can give.
posted by Ugh to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Can she get to other websites successfully?

I can reach along with everyone else you mentioned, so it seems to be that it's a client-side issue (ie: her computer specifically)

Does she have a neighbor also using Cox she could call up to find out if they can see it? If they can't, it's a Cox issue. If they can, it's probably something with her computer. Have her reboot.

Reassure her that everyone else in Internet land should be able to see it, so her auctions shouldn't suffer.
posted by nitsuj at 12:10 PM on March 8, 2005

Is this a caching issue? Have you tried viewing the pages with different browsers?
posted by AllesKlar at 12:10 PM on March 8, 2005

The domain is fine.
can you ping or access
If so, then it's probably a dns issue.

If not, then do a tracert on and post the response here.
Does your cable internet provider provide a fixed i.p. address, or does it come from a pool of i.p. addresses?

goto and make a note of the address.
Shut down your router for 10 minutes, then do it again.
Are the numbers different?
If they are, then your ISP is probably blocking access to

Can you access

My feeling is that the problem is with the ISP, or with your router. It's probably the ISP, and they've probably blocked access to your hosting company. (Actually, 66.70.247.* does appear to be on a blacklist.)
A short term measure would be to get a dial-up connection and use a modem until it's sorted.
A longer term solution would be to change hosting provider to someone who hasn't been blacklisted.
posted by seanyboy at 12:31 PM on March 8, 2005

Of course she called her hosting company

(1) Can she see other websites that are hosted by that company?

(2) The fact that the problem is showing up on two different computers in the same house tends to rule out software problems unique to one computer.
posted by WestCoaster at 12:38 PM on March 8, 2005

That should be ... *did* appear on a blacklist. It's possible that the blacklist used by your isp is old, or there has been renewed spamming from the i.p. block. b.t.w - my advice should be placed in the *take with large pinch of salt* category.
posted by seanyboy at 12:41 PM on March 8, 2005

Response by poster: Well, I ended up deleting all her cookies and temporary files, shutting down her computer, unplugging pretty much everything, and restarting the router and computer after having waited about 20 minutes. This seemed to do the trick and now everything is working okay again. Does this mean it was the ip address? Can we prevent this from happening again by changing hosting companies? Really, thanks guys for all the help.
posted by Ugh at 1:38 PM on March 8, 2005

Ugh - As I suggested early, it sounds like it was a caching issue. Sounds like you did just about all you could. Unless your provider is having you access a proxy server that is caching webpages, this isn't their "fault." In the event that this happens again, I'd suggest having an alternative browser on hand, say firefox, a trial version of opera, etc. Software that you don't use natively, access the site. This way, you can rule out the possibility of an ISP / Host error.
posted by AllesKlar at 2:21 PM on March 8, 2005

i think the most likely culprit on this guy would be a bum nameserver -- if you've previously hosted with another ISP (particularly the one you're currently using), they may have incorrect name entries (DNS entries can be said to simply associate a name entry with an IP) lying around that they haven't bothered to delete, causing you to get pointed to an IP that either doesn't have a server hooked up to it, or has a server with no information for the domain you want.

an easy way to check this is to run a quick nslookup.

open a DOS window, type


and then try to match that IP to one provided by a online DNS lookup tool, like the one at

if they don't match up, your nameserver is giving you bunk info, and you should either A) contact your ISP and call them nasty names until they fix it, or B) change the nameservers you use for your network connection.

I think it is unlikely that Cox was blocking access to your server, although in the event that the server was infected with a worm and attempting exploits on Cox servers, I could see a tech just wholesale blocking a IP address (instead of blocking just a particular port).

As far as I am able to tell, the list seanyboy linked is not a blacklist, but simply a list of all hosts that are assigned to, an ISP.

Here is the text from the frontpage: does not list spammers, spam supporters or vulnerable hosts at the present time. These lists are meant to contain all known networks assigned or allocated to the respective provider or organizations within the respective country. Lists are created for research purposes, primarily, and are made public for any use others see fit.

a couple of questions that would help you get further teched:

when you tried the littlepeddler jpeg URL, did it show as a broken image, or did the page not load at all? I'm guessing it's the latter, which suggests you weren't even hitting the server (because of DNS issues) -- if it was the former, it was probably a caching problem, as alleskar suggests.

I'm doubtful it was a caching issue, however, due to the unlikelihood of a broken image being cached *both* on your mom's computer and your brother's computer -- either way, here's a quick tip to resolve that in IE: shift-click the reload button.

Why would the DNS suddenly start resolving correctly? Well, if you recently moved the homepage to these guys, there might have been lag in dns propagation -- or, if they, for example, moved the website to another server without mentioning it to you, you might also see a dns lag in propagation. or, if Cox had bunk info, they might have corrected the issue.
posted by fishfucker at 2:47 PM on March 8, 2005

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