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LEARN TO HANDLE INTERNET PROBLEMS
Firstly, all Internet users, especially those who have websites, need to understand the following facts.
- FACT - Every ISP and web hosting company has to either pull their servers off the Internet periodically for one reason or another, whether it be software or hardware upgrades or other maintenance. Sometimes the servers crash and it takes time to restore the systems from backups. No ISP or web hosting company can guarantee 100% up-time of their servers. Nothing is infallible.
- FACT - If you use email addresses that are tied to your domain names, when the servers go off-line, so do the email facilities. Even if you use an email addresses allocated by your ISP, they can also go off-line occasionally. This is a fact of life.
- FACT - If your website and associated email accounts go offline until upgrades are made or problems resolved at the webhosting server, there is NOTHING you can do about it. The only thing you can do is to just be patient until the problem at the servers is rectified and they come back on-line.
SO IF YOU CANNOT ACCESS WEBSITES OR CANNOT GET EMAILS - DO NOT PANIC OR CALL PEOPLE IMMEDIATELY.
TROUBLESHOOTING REQUIRES A METHODICAL APPROACH - COMMENCE A BROAD CHECK OF YOUR FACILITIES AND AFTER YOU ELIMINATE EVERYTHING THAT IS WORKING, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY FIND THE PROBLEM.
IT IS UP TO YOU TO DO THE FOLLOWING - FIRST!
- CHECK YOUR COMPUTER. Sometimes a computer problem will be solved simply by rebooting the computer. Before you start troubleshooting anything else, reboot the computer and the problem may be resolved. The same goes for the modem router. Just turn it off, wait a minute and then turn it back on and wait until it connects to your ISP. This may fix the internet access.
- CHECK ALL CONNECTORS AND PERIPHERALS. One of the most common faults with computers is a simple mechanical problem - the plug fell out. Most peripherals such as routers, printers, external speakers and other devices connected to a computer are pretty reliable, but they wonít work if they are not plugged in. Sometimes a plug has become dislodged and looks like itís connected, but is not. So before going into panic mode, it pays to check all connectors and make sure that they are all plugged in properly.
- CHECK INTERNET ACCESS. If you cannot access any websites, you may not be connected to the Internet at all. If so, then the problem is either with your computer setup or your ISP. If itís your computer setup, check your modem and router and if they are working, then you need to fix your computerís settings. But if your equipment is working and your ISP is off-line or has disconnected you, contact them and sort it out. But if you can access the Internet and browse websites, then the problem is not at your end, so move to the next check.
- CHECK IF YOUR WEB HOST IS ON-LINE. Go to your web hostís home page and if it loads, then the chances are that their servers are on-line. This still doesnít mean that your particular website and email account are functioning, If you are still having problems accessing your own website and email, move to the next check.
- CHECK IF YOUR WEBSITE IS ACCESSIBLE. If your website does not load, or you get an error message, that generally means that the particular server that contains your website is offline, most probably malfunctioning or being upgraded. There is NOTHING you can do at this point except to wait until this is repaired. If your own website does load but you are not receiving email, then the particular email server that contains your email data is off-line and you have to wait until it is repaired. However, you really need to check if the email problem is at your end, so go to the next check.
- CHECK YOUR EMAIL SETUP, If the web hosting servers and your website appear to be operating but you get error messages when trying to download or upload emails, check your configuration in your email program, just in case it has become corrupted. You should keep a hard copy of your email account settings. Most importantly, keep a note of your usernames and passwords for each account.
So next time your email or websites cannot be accessed, donít get into a panic and start ringing your ISP, your webmaster or your friends and drive them crazy for no reason. Learn to deal with these issues yourself. Go through the above troubleshooting routine and if you check your computer and modem router and they are working, but you find that your ISP is offline or websites cannot be accessed, the problem is not at your end. Sit back, relax and wait or do something else for the day. If the problem is at your end, you can do something about it.
One good thing everybody should have is a free backup email account with one of the major webmail providers, such as Microsoft Hotmail, Google Gmail, Yahoo Mail or any other web-based email providers. Put a message after your signature in every email and let your contacts know that if their emails to you bounce back, they can send them to an alternate email account that you can access if your web hostís email servers are down.