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Basic Troubleshooting Methods for Web Browser Issues

Learn the most common yet basic troubleshooting methods that you need to take to fix web browsers issues for any browser on any device or platform.

The web browser often encounter issue with not much of helpful information to resolve. We can follow few of the basic yet effective troubleshooting methods and steps to resolve the browser issues. The basic troubleshooting includes, checking network connection, site status, system date and time, trying on different browsers and devices. Even rebooting the computer or phone device and network device also helps.

Fix Web Browser Issues with Basic Troubleshoot Guide

Every web browser that you use will have some or the other issues. It might not be persistent, but you will face it intermittently.

There are many troubleshooting methods that you can take, but it’s always a good idea to start with the basics.

Advanced troubleshooting mainly includes clearing the cookies & cache, turning off the extensions, and resetting the browser, which is often destructive. So starting with simple and basic troubleshooting might help in a few cases.

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Note: Ensure that your operating system is up to date and also the web browser is running on the latest version.

We have listed some of the most common basic troubleshooting methods you can follow in any web browser or page-loading information.

Check internet connection

If you have an issue with page loading, checking the internet connection is the first step. We can check the connection status and stability.

Ping URL to verify data loss

You can ping the website URL to know the status and stability. The option is available on macOS (Terminal) and Windows OS (Command Prompt). All you need is to ping the domain name; for example, you can ping Google with the following command: ping google.com

ping google.com and cloudflare.com using macOS terminal

The screenshot shows two different pings, one for Google.com and the other for Cloudflare.com. If you notice the time= element against a series of pings to Cloudflare.com, there is a significant variation (between 10ms to 288ms). However, for Google.com, the time remains stable.

It depicts that the connectivity to cloudflare.com is jittery compared to google.com.

Similarly, it would be best to consider checking the percent of packet loss under ping statistics. If you find any packet loss, the connectivity to that site is unstable in such cases.

Ping to site URL can confirm if the website is accessible and stable with no network issues.

If you encounter ping: cannot resolve google.com: Unknown host, it might be an issue with your internet connection.

Check your Internet Speed

Several sites allow you to check your ISP network speed. Even Google has a built-in speed test module. However, I prefer using fast.com from Netflix and speedtest.net by Ookla.

The online speed testing site displays our bandwidth speed (Upload and Download), connection status, and network latency.

Internet Speed Test | Fast.com

You have a stable network if the speed is enough with a low latency value in milliseconds.

Check if the Site is down

Now that we have confirmed no network issue, we can check if the website has a problem. One of the simple ways is using the ping command and checking the packet loss we already discussed. However, for widespread and popular websites, you can check online.

Verify on Downdetector

It’s one of the famous sites where the users check if it’s a widespread and primarily a user-reported issue. It also aggregates the social media sources to confirm if the reported site is down.

If you encounter an issue with any sites, you can search for the site on Downdector and report the issue without needing a user account. Click on I have a problem with… button to report the issue.

Downdetector Twitter Outage issue report spike

In the above screenshot, you can notice a sudden spike in outages reported for Twitter.

Do a Twitter Search

You can search the site on Twitter or check for trending #hashtags. If the issue is reported on Twitter (which generally happens for popular sites), it’s probably widespread.

If the site is down, then we can’t do anything except wait and watch for the resolution. It generally takes a few minutes to a few hours for any severe issue for the site as disaster management is in place.

Check the Date and Time

The websites have an SSL security certificate which helps make a secure connection between the user’s browser and the web server. Certificate Authority issues this security certificate and has a preset expiry date.

If the system date and time are invalid, the SSL certificate might get the auto-expire failing connection between the browser and host. Hence, keeping the correct date and time on your system is required.

Few websites also validate whether the system date and time match global time. The website does not load and displays alerts if it finds a mismatch.

Verify Windows OS System Date and Time

  1. Open the Start menu on your Windows PC and select the Settings settings gear icon menu.
    Windows OS Settings option under Start menuIt will open the Settings window.
  2. Switch to Time & Language settings page.
  3. Ensure the Time zone is correct and enable the toggle switch for the Set time automatically option.
    Windows 11 Time and Language Settings to set time automatically

If they’re wrong, you can manually adjust them by turning off the Set time automatically toggle switch and using the Change command on the Set the date and time manually option.

Check macOS Date and Time settings

  1. Click on the Apple on menubar and select the System Settings menu.
    Apple Menubar with System Settings highlighted
  2. Switch to the General tab on the left pane and open the Date & Time settings page.
    macOS Date & Time Settings page
  3. Ensure the date and time is correct, else you can customize the same.

Adjusting the system to the correct date and time will fix an issue if it creates a problem. Select the correct time zone or automatically enable your system’s set time and data to avoid conflicts.

Try other browsers

Every system has a default browser, and if you’re using the same, you should consider trying and checking on different browsers.

There are several web browsers available online. And we already have a list of alternatives for each operating system.

If the site you’ve issued can load on an alternative, you should consider switching away.

However, if the issue persists on all other browsers on your system, you might need to try it on different devices.

Try other devices

If you’re using a computer, you can check the site on mobile or tablet devices and vice versa to verify if it’s a device-specific issue.

In most cases, the device-specific issues can be resolved with advance troubleshoot like clearing data and resetting the browser.

Testing the website or task on different devices allows you to gather more insights about the problem and potentially find a resolution. It’s important to note that websites and web applications can sometimes behave differently depending on the device used, so cross-device testing is a valuable troubleshooting approach.

These days most websites follow a responsive design when developing that automatically adjusts to the device viewport.

Restart System

You heard it right; rebooting a system is probably one of the most effective ways to resolve issues with the system and the web browser.

If there are new software updates, restarting the system will process the complete installation and iron out any teething issues.

Windows PC Restart

  1. Click the Start button in the taskbar on your Windows PC.
  2. Click on the Power button and select the option to Restart option.
    Restart Windows 11 PC from Start Menu

After restarting the Windows PC, you can check if the issue has been resolved.

macOS Restart

  1. Click on the Apple apple logo on the menubar.
  2. Select the Restart menu and confirm the restart window.
    Apple Mac Restart menu under Apple Logo

The system will restart, and you can check for the browser or page error on the desired browser.

Restart Network Device

Network devices like Modem and Wi-Fi router help connect the internet to the devices.

If you’ve any network issues, you can also consider restarting the network device before dialing up your internet service provider (ISP).

  1. Locate your Wi-Fi device, such as a router, modem, or access point.
  2. Unplug the power cord from your Wi-Fi device.
    Hard Brexit? UK & EU plugs.
  3. Wait for approximately 30 seconds.
  4. Plug the power cord back into your Wi-Fi device.
  5. Wait for your Wi-Fi device to start up and establish a connection.

Ensure the network indicator is either blinking or stays solid (differs based on manufacturer) and isn’t in an old color (like Red).

If it doesn’t help, contact your ISP to arrange a service to resolve the network issue.

Bottom Line

One should try these basic troubleshooting methods before entering a destructive mode.

I believe most intermittent problems with the network, web browser, and site loading will be solved using these simple troubleshooting.

If this doesn’t help, you can always follow the advanced troubleshooting that requires changing the settings, clearing the data and cache, and even resetting the browser. The steps for each of these actions varies based on the browser you use.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback on Basic Troubleshooting Methods for Web Browser Issues, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.

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Kushal Azza

Kushal is a Bachelor of Engineering, a Certified Google IT Support Professional, and a Digital-Tech Geek. He has over a decade of experience solving tech problems, troubleshooting, and creating digital solutions. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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