My website is broken, what do I do?

Troubleshooting a broken website is often hard, with often dozens of companies inbetween you and your website, and anyone of them could be to blame. Patrick introduces the world of ping, traceroute, looking glasses and more.

There are not many things worse than getting a call from a customer, who can not access their website. Except maybe calling up your hosting provider, and abusing the poor sod on the other end of the phone because you can't access your site, only to be told its because your computer is not connected to the internet. To avoid this embarrassment, read on.

Troubleshooting a problem with your website is not a linear process, so the following tips do not necessarily need to be followed in order.

  • Verify you are on the internet, try going to a random google search, or

even just google from a different country, ie Google Argentinia, Google Germany. As Google is very rarely down, if you can reach google, its safe to assume you are on the internet, if you can't might be time to reboot and reconnect.

  • Try going to the website of your web hosting company, ie Anchor. If you can get to them, but not

your site, it might be a problem with your hosting company, give them a call.

  • Check your domain is still valid, do a whois search on your domain, Is

your domain status OK, or is it PendingDelete? If its pending delete it might be time to renew your domain

  • Check if other people are having problems, preferably ones who connect

through a different ISP. If you don't know who to ask, try doing a traceroute to your website from a online service, a list is available at When you do a traceroute to your domain, it will say \"Traceroute to (IPADDRESS)\", the IP address is a number like If the last step at the bottom of the page is the same number, even if it is a different name, other people can reach the server, it might be your ISP.

Sam Spade to browse to your website, see if it comes up for them.

  • If your email is through the same company, try checking your email. If you

can receive email, but not see the website, it is possible your ISP has a proxy that is playing up.


This article is by no means a comprehensive list of things to check, but it certainly covers the main points. If you can test half of these things before you call your hosting company, then you have saved a lot of time, otherwise the hosting company has to do all these tests themselves. In an ideal hosting environment, you should not have to utilize the skills from this article often, but it is nice to feel in control when something does happen.

Keywords : toubleshooting, broken, website, ping, traceroute, tracert, looking glass, proxy, upstream Author : Patrick Kelso

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