Give me my websites, dammit!
March 16, 2008 5:01 PM   Subscribe

My computer won't let me access certain websites. What gives?

The sites I cannot get to are, among others, Get Rich Slowly, Barebones Software, and Ebates. I don't think they all use the same hosting provider. I'm running Leopard on a Macbook Pro with Speakeasy as my home ISP. I also have access to the University of Washington wireless network and this problem persists on that connection too, so it's probably something on my computer. I'm not running a firewall of any kind. I'm using BonEcho (for some reason Firefox is really slow) with Adblock Plus and Filterset G extensions as my main browser, although it persists on Safari and Opera too. Using a proxy allows me access to the sites. I tried disabling the adblocking extensions to see if it was that, and no dice. I don't have any weird stuff in my hosts file (AFAIK), so what's going on? I know this is a pretty weird and obscure question, but if you guys don't know, nobody will.
posted by calistasm to Technology (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
What error message do you get?
posted by lunchbox at 5:03 PM on March 16, 2008

Can you get to those websites by putting in their IP instead of URL ???
posted by jmnugent at 5:11 PM on March 16, 2008

Do a traceroute to each of them and see what the last reported hop is. Also try pinging them, by name, and also by IP.

If IPs work but names do not, that's a huge hint.
posted by Class Goat at 5:50 PM on March 16, 2008

Response by poster: I get a 500 error saying a connection to the server could not be established.

Can't access them by IP, and pings to domain and IP don't go through. I thought it was a DNS problem at first, but I've tried two sets of DNS servers that aren't Speakeasy's and neither of them helped.

Traceroute gives me:
traceroute to (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets
traceroute: sendto: No route to host
 1 traceroute: wrote 40 chars, ret=-1

posted by calistasm at 6:02 PM on March 16, 2008

you didn't even get one hop with traceroute, but you can get to MetaFilter with the same computer? That's certainly bizarre. Ordinarily that error means you don't have your IP gateway set up properly, but in that case you wouldn't be able to access anything.
posted by Class Goat at 6:55 PM on March 16, 2008

If you're not already directly connected to the web, try that first - maybe your router is (for some weird reason) blocking access?
posted by theNonsuch at 7:40 PM on March 16, 2008

So DNS resolves to IP but you can't get to the actual it's not a proxy issue. Can you try a different (public, wireless?) connection and see if you get the same error?

Plug your computer into the modem or whatever and bypass the router and see if you can connect like nonsuch suggested. If that's the problem, reset your router to the factory defaults and reconfigure. If it still doesn't work get a new router.
posted by ostranenie at 3:54 AM on March 17, 2008

Can you load these sites via babelfish - see example. [from: How to Access Blocked Websites]
posted by labnol at 4:42 AM on March 17, 2008

traceroute: sendto: No route to host

Youre experiencing a routing problem, most likely its an issue with your ISP. You should call them.
posted by damn dirty ape at 5:44 AM on March 17, 2008

Response by poster: Like I said, proxies (including Babelfish) work fine in letting me access these sites. But it's no use if I want to submit info to them. Also, this happens when I use a public wifi connection too. I'll try plugging directly into the modem when I have time later today.

damn dirty ape: Would a routing problem persist even when I change connections?

Also, I thought it was a profile-related issue, so I created a new Leopard login. That didn't help either.
posted by calistasm at 7:32 AM on March 17, 2008

That's damn weird. When you're on public wireless, is your system still using the SpeakEasy DNS or does it pull new info from the wireless router?

Try clearing your DNS cache. In Terminal, run the following:
dscacheutil -flushcache

Also, FF3 beta 4 is tons faster than FF2. Haven't tested the BonEcho build, but FF3 has been stable on my MBP since beta 2.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:49 AM on March 17, 2008

Sorry, I missed that part of your question. No, it shouldnt do it on both. Its weird that it craps out at the first hop. The first hop should be your default gateway. Can you view you TCP/IP settings under system preferences > network. Is it set to get address information automatically/dhcp?
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:51 AM on March 17, 2008

In OS X default gateway is just called "router."
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:52 AM on March 17, 2008

I work for UW Technology Services in desktop support--if you're going to be on campus any time soon, I'd be happy to take a look at it in person. Drop me a line (email's in my profile) and I can set up a ticket for you in the helpdesk system.
posted by hades at 9:32 AM on March 17, 2008

Do you have a custom HOSTS file, that might be blocking them as spyware vectors?
posted by Infernarl at 1:23 PM on July 14, 2008

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