What are possible causes for browsers not displaying webpages properly?
January 17, 2006 1:05 PM   Subscribe

What could cause both IE and Firefox not to display certain pages (like expedia.com) correctly?

One of my coworkers (who isn't especially comp-savvy) says he's having problems with some webpages loading with the layout and/or fonts screwed up. He was on IE and I got him to switch to Firefox, run AdAware & Spybot and clear his history/cache/temp files but he says it's still happening and I'm out of suggestions. He's tweaked the font sizes up and down but that had no effect. Anybody have a clue what else it might be?
posted by parttimesaint to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Check default fonts, naturally, and also check his HOSTS file. If the page is being misdirected to a not-so-pleasant site, that would explain the weird design.
(My brother's machine was bouncing him to some poor man's Google by typing Google.com. HOSTS told his computer that Google was found at a far different IP than it actually was, overriding anything he got back from the DNS.)

Open it in notepad.
The only entry that's there by default is to localhost.
Anything else indicates some form of tampering, most likely. (Although there are legitimate uses for it.)
posted by disillusioned at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2006

I second the fonts suggestion, specifically, see if he has some crap free version of Helvetica installed. IIRC Helvetica doesn't come on windows machines by default, and the ones that are floating around on the internet render terribly (really terribly) at normal text sizes. Loads of website CSS files have Helvetica as one of the first two 'font-family' choices, probably because CSS files are basically like makefiles in that no one actually writes them, they just continually modify the ur-css-file that came from alistapart hundreds of years ago.

Looking at expedia, Helvetica is number two:
font-family: Arial, Helvetica, Sans Serif
So maybe his Arial got deleted, and a crap Helvetica took over? Maybe he's not using windows, so he doesn't have Arial, but he still has a crap Helvetica?

If the HOSTS file is clean, I'd at least try going to his Fonts/ folder and temporarily removing all Helvetica-*'s and Arial-*'s. and seeing what Expedia.com lists.
posted by jeb at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2006

Get us a screen shot of what it looks like to him, or else we're just guessing.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:00 PM on January 17, 2006

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