Apparently my internet thinks I've been reading too much Metafilter
February 6, 2012 9:17 AM   Subscribe

My laptop won't connect to my favorite websites (including ask.mefi, sadface), but the rest of the internet works fine. I need help.

I have a 2011 Macbook Pro running Snow Leopard (not Lion). This weekend it, without any obvious precipitating event, stopped connecting to my favorite websites.

Most of the internet works, but I can't access Metafilter at all (on a different internet connection and computer now), and I can access websites like the and Facebook only intermittently, even in the same session - by which I mean one minute they will load and then I will go to the next page of an article and it won't work at all, even though I can load other websites just fine. The rest of the internet works without any problems.

Things I have tried:

Restarting the wireless router
Refreshing the "DHP license" in the network settings
Using a different computer on the same connection (same problem)

I have no idea what's happened. The *only* possible thing that triggered this was that I (really stupidly) read a spam email with an auto-loading picture (gah!) before (I think?) this started. So now I'm sort of paranoid I have some sort of virus or something. I'm not sure if this is realistic or not. This seems a little unlikely since it seems like any computer on my home connection has this problem, not just mine.

I've been googling for answers for both the internet thing and for mac viruses, but what I've found is fairly confusing and feels scammy.

Suggestions for the internet issue included stuff like using a proxy or resetting various addresses, which are a bit beyond me. So, if that stuff will actually work can you please explain it to me like I have no idea what you're talking about (because I don't)?

Suggestions from googling for the potential virus issue just seem really suspect, so if that's something I need to be addressing, I need help finding an appropriate Mac de-virusing software.

I won't be able to try suggestions until tonight (away from the problem connection/computer), but hopefully you guys can help!
posted by annie o to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I, too, have been experiencing random pages refusing to load for the last 3+ weeks; some that didn't load were puzzling as other pages within the same top-level domain would load without problem. I was perturbed at this.

After a little searching I found that North America (an evil assumption on my part based on your grammar and word choice) has been experiencing a steady 25% packet loss with only an average 46% of the routers transmitting. China is in even worse condition with anywhere from 33-39% packet loss.

I'm curious as to the reasons for it but without any other data, that the best I have.
posted by schade at 9:28 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Could be a DNS problem. Try using Google's public DNS servers. You can also try connecting directly by IP address. Metafilter and Ask Metafilter both resolve to
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 10:30 AM on February 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

"This weekend it, without any obvious precipitating event, stopped connecting to my favorite websites. "

I, too, have experienced this over the past three days or so—since Friday–but only on my Win7 machine on a Comcast business connection. I tried deleting the browser cache/temp/logins/cookies, restarting, re-booting the cable modem and all to no avail.

In particular, the Seattle Times, meta and even Y! hacker news won't connect very well if at all.

At home on my FiOS connection, everything is hunky-monkey.
posted by bz at 11:22 AM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: I suppose I should note that my connection is Verizon (DSL) in west Los Angeles... maybe others in the area are having problems? It's just weird that it's such specific sites I can't access...
posted by annie o at 12:08 PM on February 6, 2012

When this happened to me, it was an issue with my router. I ended up having to bypass or remove the router from the connection and powercycle the modem to obtain a new Ip addresses for my computer.

Check with your router's manufacturer or search for "MAC address cloning." I hope this helps.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:08 PM on February 6, 2012

I'm pretty sure that your OS being Windows is, actually, a red herring here. The problems I mentioned I had noticed were all on either Ubuntu 11.10 or FreeBSD 10.0.
posted by schade at 3:33 PM on February 6, 2012

As I mentioned here last week, I have been having the exact same issue with since mid-December. I thought it was an ISP issue (I have Verizon FIOS) but I visited my family over Christmas and still couldn't access it with their ISP (Comcast) and router. And I can get to mefi on my smartphone using my home router. So it has to be my laptop. But I tried flushing various caches, using different browsers, disabling firewall and virus programs, installing different firewall and virus programs, and nothing worked. After a lot of frustration, I settled on using the FoxyProxy Firefox plugin and Tor to get around it.

If you'd like to try what I have set up,
1. I installed the Vidalia Bundle from the Tor site. I think I kept all of the default options; I may have had to set something so it started every time I rebooted.
2. Then I installed the FoxyProxy.
3. Under the FoxyProxy options, I added a new proxy and set the IP Address to with a port of 8118 (it should be whatever the values are for the Tor install). I clicked OK.
4. On the Quick Add tab, I made sure it was on and selected the new proxy as the one to add the pattern to.
5. I went to the page that wasn't working, clicked alt-F2 (this probably will be different on a mac -- the Quick Add tab listed the correct key combo) and the Quick Add popup showed a bunch of options. I left it with the defaults and clicked OK. The page showed perfectly when it reloaded.
posted by bluesapphires at 5:51 PM on February 6, 2012

Response by poster: OK, I just came home and everything is working again. Didn't change anything.. I guess maybe this was an ISP issue, somehow?
posted by annie o at 7:44 PM on February 6, 2012

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