For the sake of explanation, we will format this article in as “elementary” as possible. Although we know “techies” will think it’s very primitively written, those that will actually need the information contained within, will thank us for its prose.
There are times when you cannot connect to a certain website, yet your Internet connection is fine. The problem could be numerous things. When all else fails and you’ve gone through the usual troubleshooting, and you still can’t figure it out, the result may be surprising.
First, let’s check and assure that you have taken the following steps, to rule out the common culprits.
Domains and Home:
– Check with your ISP that you indeed have service and the lines test out OK.
– If you are using a server, make sure IP and DNS server addresses are OK.
– Router and switch users, make sure you don’t have unusual traffic or blinking lights on these devices. If so, look into that.
– Make sure you can at least access other websites.
– Make sure that the block is on all computers in the same network, and not just one computer. If you are using multiple browsers, this fix only applies if you are not able to access the one website from any of the browsers on any of the computers in the network. If this is not the case for you, then try using other browsers, and if using IE, try adding the site to your Trusted Sites in Internet Options.
– Do a ping test to google.com, yahoo.com, and also ping your Gateway and make sure it is communicating with these points. A ping test can tell you whether packets are reaching the destination within your network and beyond. Then PING the website you are trying to reach, and if there is no communication or you are receiving Request Timeouts, then you are ready to check the following things.
– Run a TRACERT CMD from the command prompt to the website in question. See where the packets are dropping. Usually it will send fine, and then suddenly start timing out. At the last point it times out, is where you can begin your investigation. An example would be:
tracert thewebsite.com AND THEN PRESS ENTER – You should see something like this:
With this command, you will be able to see at what “HOP” does the problem begin. By doing so, you can see if it’s within your network, in your ISP’s network, or beyond. Usually after the first 3-6 hops, it’s usually already passed your ISP’s CO network.
Now, the following only applies to businesses, small home offices, and basically anybody who has their own IP address. All users, home and business, have an assigned IP address either from an ISP or a domain hosting service like GoDaddy. The only difference is that this FIX may not apply to HOME users, as they have an IP that has passed verification by their Internet Service Provider. In other words, your ISP would not compromise your IP address, unless you have been engaging in suspicious activities as a home user. Also, sometimes your passwords or accounts get hacked, and others can be doing malicious things using your profile, emails, home computer, you name it.
So, moving forward with the assumption you have checked all of the above, we can now get to the root of the problem. For this discussion only, we will be examining the phenomenon of a blacklist.
Blacklisting it when your IP address is being blocked of access and service to a certain site, server,or service. Sometimes, a compromised email is all it takes for major internet companies to put you on their blacklists.
If you are a company, or use business accounts and emails, and cannot access a website with any of the units in the network, chances are that you are being Blacklisted. The only way to get access back, is to be removed and authorized to enter again.
There are many helpful tools that can determine if you are on a blacklist, such as Barracuda, SpamCop, McAfee, etc. We would need to write an article just about Blacklist Check services, so we’ll leave that part up to you and Google.
Once you have confirmed you have made it on a blacklist somewhere, your next step will be to “whitelist” yourself. This basically means, GET OFF THE LIST!
You do that numerous ways depending on the reason you were blacklisted. For example, in some cases, IP addresses are blacklisted because an email account is being used to spam. Big name hosts like AOL and Yahoo will block your IP completely to any and all their users, not just one email account, if you make it on their list. If you do a search and find that you are not on any of the major blacklists, you still may be on private “internal” blacklists.
One solution is to sign up with an email forwarder, if you are planning on sending many emails from your company’s accounts, to random emails for marketing purposes. One such service is NO-IP.com. They can provide a service where they offer their server to forward your emails, thereby making your SMTP a different one than the one associated to your IP and ports.
Another solution, if you are not able to reach the host or hosts that are blocking you, is changing your ip address. This is only a good option is you indeed are not engaging in any malicious activities and are genuinely the victim of a mistake, and cannot find the assistance you need.
Finally, the best way to get off a blacklist, is to use the method mentioned above with the TRACERT command. You can narrow it down to the host that first blocks you. Then, you can usually look them up by WHOIS domain lookups, and contact them. Sometimes, the website you are unable to reach does not house their own servers, and their website may actually be hosted by some other company completely unrelated to their business. A domain parked on another company’s server may be harder to contact, but not impossible. Many ISPs can help if you ask the right questions.
Contact the administrators of the host that is blocking you, explain to them the situation, and they will remove you from their internal blacklist.
Remember, many situations can land you on those lists out there. The most common are emails or accounts being compromised, hacker attacks on your network, mass emailing, and unusual activities on your DNS or Exchange server.