What does "This site can’t be reached" mean in my browser?

Ben Gayson
Published: 8 April 2024Last updated: 30 April 2024

What does "This Site Can't Be Reached" mean?

When you encounter the error message "This Site Can't Be Reached," it indicates that your browser failed to establish a connection with the server hosting the website you're trying to reach. 

This issue typically originates from problems in the route between your browser and the web server, rather than an inherent fault with the website itself.

Common causes include:

  • Network Connectivity issues
  • Incorrect DNS Settings 
  • Antivirus / Firewall issues
  • Browser issues
  • Web Server issues

What steps should I take to resolve "This Site Can't Be Reached"? 

Check Internet Connectivity

Confirm that your internet connection is operational by visiting a well-known website like https://www.google.co.uk/

If it loads successfully, your internet connection is likely functioning; otherwise, you may have connectivity issues. 

You can also try restarting your router or modem and see if the issue persists.

Verify DNS Settings

Ensure that the DNS settings for your website are correct. Pay particular attention to Nameservers and A records, as they are often the sources of DNS-related issues. 

You could also consider temporarily changing your DNS server to a public DNS server such as Google DNS or CloudFlare 

Browser and Security Software

Try accessing the website using a different browser and temporarily disable any antivirus or firewall software. 

If the site becomes accessible, the problem may be related to your browser or security settings. 

It may also be worth clearing any browser cache or cookies, also check to ensure you are using the latest version of the browser. 

Check Web Server Status

If the issue persists, it could be due to problems with the web server hosting your site. Check your service provider's status page for any reported issues that may affect server availability. 

Server status can be found at https://stackstatus.com

Typing errors In the URL

Sometimes the issue can be as simple as the URL has been entered incorrectly, therefore it is important to ensure that you double-check the URL entered to ensure there are no spelling mistakes. 

What tools are available to help with debugging? 

Traceroute/Ping Test

Use the Traceroute tool to trace the path from your device to the web server hosting your site. This can help identify routing issues or connectivity problems along the way. 

For example:

C:\Users\JohnSmith>tracert stackcp.com

Tracing route to stackcp.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

  1    <1 ms    <1 ms    <1 ms
  2     6 ms     6 ms     6 ms
  3     6 ms     5 ms     5 ms  ae1-cr1-lon-thn.as48254.net []
  4     7 ms     7 ms     7 ms  et1-1-1-cr1-lon-rdg.as48254.net []
  5     7 ms     7 ms     7 ms  185-151-30-152.ptr4.stackcp.net []

Trace complete.

DNS Checker

Utilize online DNS checker tools like https://dnschecker.org/ to verify DNS records and ensure proper resolution. These tools can detect any discrepancies or failures in DNS resolution.