How to access a blocked website at work
December 11, 2003 5:51 PM   Subscribe

On the computer I use at work, there is one -- just one -- website that I cannot access. Any idea why and how to fix it? {more inside}

PC running Windows 2000. Using both Mozilla 1.4 (primarily) and IE 6.0 (if I have to), I am completely and utterly unable to access any page hosted by ebay.com. Both browsers will think for a long time, and then tell me that "The Document Contains No Data" (Mozilla) or "Cannot find Server - The Page Cannot Be Displayed" (IE). Very occasionally, IE will let me go in and look around for a minute or two, but the minute I use any buttons (like 'search') I get "Cannot find Server - The Page Cannot Be Displayed".

I know there's no blocking software of any kind on this machine or network. Our Internet access is via cable. I've checked the hostsfile, and nothing weird there. I can get to any other site on the internet ... porn, other online auction sites, chatrooms, everything but ebay. Its putting a crimp in my last minute sniping for holiday gifts. Any idea what might be causing this and how to fix it?
posted by anastasiav to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Here's the first question that might give you a clue as to what's wrong: Can any other computers at work reach the site? If it's just the one, you know the problem isn't something network-related.
posted by majick at 5:57 PM on December 11, 2003


Yes, the one other PC on the network can access the site easily, with no wait time.
posted by anastasiav at 6:02 PM on December 11, 2003


anastasiav: is it because of https:// ? I have the same problem with amazon.com, but I found out that enabling https on the windows XP firewall solves the problem. It is still not clear to me why is this happening though.
posted by MzB at 6:03 PM on December 11, 2003


MzB -- that's a good thought, at least for issues I've had with IE, but I'm not sure if that explains the Mozilla problem ... and I certainly don't have any problems getting to any other https sites... How would I check this on Win 2000?
posted by anastasiav at 6:13 PM on December 11, 2003


Have you deleted your ebay cookies yet? Yes.

Have you deleted the cache from both browsers? Yes.

Have you checked for spyware that might be trying to bogart the ebay connection to apply ads, steal your password, etc. Have you fully scanned your PC for viruses?

I'm running both Spybot and Ad-aware, along with Norton Anti-virus. Scans on all turn up nada.

If you've done all that, then who knows whats going on. Perhaps someone can let you use their web proxy for holiday shopping.

I can access it from home ... the only problem being that I'm working right now something like 830 am - 10 pm, so I'm not home very often.

Honestly its become more of a frustrating "why doesn't it work" puzzle than anything else at this point.... What was it Matt said the other day ... STBU?? STBM, I guess.
posted by anastasiav at 6:41 PM on December 11, 2003


Could there be anything in the security settings of your browsers that might be causing the problem?

Also, see what happens when you try to access the site through an anonymizer (just a thought).

Does anyone know what the <MainA1> tag is at the top of the EBay page?
posted by taz at 10:44 PM on December 11, 2003


Just because you're using mozilla - doesn't mean the XP firewall won't be active. Try disabling it, and see if that makes a difference.

have you tried a "ping" to the site. Does this work OK?
What does a tracert show?

If you're going through the company firewall, is it possible that there is a rule on this firewall which stops you going to this site?
posted by seanyboy at 11:28 PM on December 11, 2003


Also - is the problem with one https:// site, or with all of them? Can you go to https://test.uddi.microsoft.com?
posted by seanyboy at 11:30 PM on December 11, 2003


Have you checked your hosts.txt file?
posted by gramcracker at 12:25 AM on December 12, 2003


I have the same problem on Windows 98 only mine is for certain MSN sites. I can't access gaelfc's work log for instance. Her Popculturejunkmail site, I can access. Weird.
posted by konolia at 4:29 AM on December 12, 2003


While you're at it, run up to Windows Update and see if there are any IE service packs and/or patches for your box. Occasionally these make strange problems go away as a side effect because the update process will replace a damaged or misconfigured DLL.
posted by majick at 5:10 AM on December 12, 2003


from what I've seen, there are few https pages on ebay, so this is not the cause - their main page is pure http.
(regarding my problem, when the firewall is enabled, I can access other https pages, but not amazon's.)
posted by MzB at 5:55 AM on December 12, 2003


Thanks for all the suggestions -- I'm sorry work got in the way of my reading and responding earlier today.

I'm sure we don't have any kind of firewall that could be keeping me out -- I work for a very small non-profit and we don't have a sysadmin or any kind of monotoring software.

I'm pretty sure its not due to the https, both because I'm blocked from the regular http front page and also because I can access tons and tons of other https sites.

I have checked the hosts.txt file, and there's nothing funky there.

have you tried a "ping" to the site. Does this work OK? What does a tracert show?

I'm sorry, I don't know what this means.....
posted by anastasiav at 1:20 PM on December 12, 2003


The IP address for ebay.com is currently 66.135.192.87 - if you go to that address, can you get there? I too suspect a problem with your hosts file.
posted by willnot at 1:42 PM on December 12, 2003


anastasiav - ping is a tool to use if you want to find out of a server is up and responding. Think the old submarine movies with the sonar. The sub sends out a ping, and if there's something out there it bounces back.

Bring up the command prompt and type ping ebay.com. You'll get back something that says the number of milliseconds it took for the server to respond to the ping, or the request will time out indicating that you can't ping the server.

You might also try tracert ebay.com which pings each hop between you and the server. Using this you can at least see how far you request is getting down the internet before failing.
posted by willnot at 1:46 PM on December 12, 2003


The IP address for ebay.com is currently 66.135.192.87 - if you go to that address, can you get there?

Yes! But I can't leave the home page (I'm guessing the attempt to go to the url address kills it).

Bring up the command prompt and type ping ebay.com. You'll get back something that says the number of milliseconds it took for the server to respond to the ping, or the request will time out indicating that you can't ping the server.

Request times out. Really fast.

tracert ebay.com

Shows 'request times out' on the first hop, but then it keeps going (???) and shows 15 hops/IP addresses, then 'request times out'
posted by anastasiav at 3:48 PM on December 12, 2003


You are having a problem with domain name resolution. Since other computers on your network don't have that problem, and since your computer only has that problem with this one site, and it's a problem with multiple browsers on that computer, it must be something funky in your hosts file. I know you said you looked at your hosts file and that you didn't see anything funky in there. Look again. It has to be in there unless somebody else knows of some other way to hose DNS for just one site on just one computer.
posted by willnot at 1:49 AM on December 13, 2003


Thanks, willnot!
posted by anastasiav at 7:59 AM on December 15, 2003


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