Firefox Reloading on the Fritz
January 24, 2008 4:09 PM   Subscribe

Why won't Firefox reload web pages after I receive a "server not found" message?

I'm running Firefox on Leopard 10.5.1.

Fairly often, a web page will not load on Firefox. For example, earlier today an article refused to load, and I received a "Server Not Found" error message. I tried to reload the page by clicking on the blue refresh button, but there is no response. It doesn't even attempt to reload the page.

This happens on several web sites, several times a day.

I don't think that the problem involves my internet connection. When I try to open a page that refuses to load/reload on Firefox, it will invariably load normally in Safari.

Does anyone know what might cause this, or how to fix it?
posted by eswusp86 to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Nah it's the way firefox caches. If you go tools/clear private data and uncheck everything but "cache", then click "ok", it'll actually attempt to reload because the error won't be there in firefox. I dunno nuffin 'bout no apple products, but that's one reason the fox makes me mad w/ web updates sometimes. There have been days my server has rebooted and been back in 5 minutes that I've thought the page was down all day because 'foxes reload continued to load the 404.
posted by TomMelee at 4:20 PM on January 24, 2008

posted by rokusan at 4:22 PM on January 24, 2008

You may want to change Firefox's cache settings so it checks for the most current version of the page on every visit. (the equivalent to IE's "Check for newer versions of stored pages") setting:

In the address bar, enter about:config
Scroll down and double-click browser.cache.check_doc_frequency and change value to 1.
posted by Perplexer at 4:28 PM on January 24, 2008

What they said :) If you get a lot of page-not-founds on otherwise good servers, it may be a problem with your DNS servers not being very good (probably from your ISP). You could try a local caching DNS server, or switch your dns settings to opendns for a little while for testing.
posted by ArkhanJG at 5:27 PM on January 24, 2008

Thanks for the advice, everyone. Unfortunately, though, it's still not working. I followed TomMelee's and Perplexer's advice, but the problem persists. Could there be another explanation? ArkhanJG, how do I go about following your advice re: DNS settings? It's a bit beyond me.
posted by eswusp86 at 6:15 PM on January 24, 2008 it has instructions on it.
It could also be a router issue, but if it works sometimes and not sometimes, then it's probably not the router. It *could* be though, you could try hard-resetting the router and see if the problem persists.
posted by TomMelee at 6:59 PM on January 24, 2008

Maybe this isn't the same, but I often find that when FF has failed to load a page successfully, the way to get it to "refresh" is actually to "resubmit" the URL -- i.e., click back in the location box and hit "enter". But in my scenario, the refresh button is actually grayed out/disabled, I believe.
posted by misterbrandt at 9:11 PM on January 24, 2008

I think misterbrandt might be on to something... when I reenter the URL of a page that won't reload, but omit the "www" the second time, sometimes the page will reload successfully. What does that signify?
posted by eswusp86 at 9:21 PM on January 24, 2008

What's the URL in the address bar when you get a page not found? I remember in some older versions, it would create its own error page, with its own URL, so refreshing would refresh the error page. I thought this was totally out of recent versions, but maybe the Mac version is lagging. OpenDNS does this, too (although in their case it's so they can show you ads).

Have you also tried using the back and forward buttons instead of refresh? (Go back a page and then try to go forward again?)
posted by anaelith at 4:40 AM on January 25, 2008

Detailed instructions are available here:

Don't forget to write your old ones down somewhere. OpenDNS does do advertising on mistyped addresses and the like, so I hesitate to recommend them permanently, but it is handy for testing - you don't need an account with them btw, in case it nags you.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:47 AM on January 25, 2008

Another thing you could try for testing purposes is this plugin:

it allows you to go to the online cache site versions of a given webpage (google cache, Coral) when it fails to load. If the online cache page versions fail to load, there's something more fundamentally wrong with either your 'net connection or the install of firefox.
posted by ArkhanJG at 6:51 AM on January 25, 2008

Finally, this looks like a similar problem with an older version of firefox:

You could try starting a new clean profile (back up your old one first though!)

Or increasing your TCP/IP timeouts - complicated on osx by the looks of it, and frankly is probably not the problem.

For what it's worth, I used to get a lot of timeouts when loading metafilter with pipex DNS servers. Changing DNS, then eventually changing to a non-sucky ISP fixed it.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:00 AM on January 25, 2008

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