Have you ever clicked on a link or bookmark and instead seen an error page? It can be extremely frustrating when a site won't load, so is there a trick you can use to access a busy website with heavy traffic? Do you know how to open a crashed website? What if it contains blocked content?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to access web pages that won't otherwise load.
Let's first find the root of your problem. Why won't a website load? It could be that the site's server is down, or that your internet isn't working properly. Maybe, high traffic caused this temporary problem. But it could be permanent too.
Check out Down for Everyone or Just Me, which will tell you whether the problem is local or everywhere. If the report says it's just you, this could be an issue with your device or your ISP. Try turning your device on and off again: this sounds ridiculous but can sometimes work.
If the page can't be widely accessed, this indicates the site itself has an issue. Seeing an error code can help---that is, if you know what it means.
You don't have permission to access this page. This might mean you've accidentally tried to log in or see private content, so check the URL. If need be, alert the site's admin. Otherwise, you could try a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or proxy server, which we'll come back to.
The page no longer exists, i.e. it's a broken link. The page might have been moved or permanently deleted. Alternatively, the URL is incorrect, so check the address before doing anything else. All is not lost, so stick with us.
This issue isn't down to you, so can't be corrected your end. Again, there is something you can do about it, but as this means there's a problem with the host server, your best option is to wait.
The site you're trying to visit either has excess traffic or is in maintenance mode. The website will likely work again soon. Otherwise, you should learn how to open overloaded websites.
Google Cache is a quick way to view troublesome pages. Search engines cache content when indexing websites, so by accessing it, you can see a snapshot of what Google saw the last time it crawled the site. Many main webpages are cached daily, but older articles that aren't updated sit unchanged in the cache folder.
You can access Google Cache by entering the name of the page or site you're trying to visit into the search engine. Click on the down-arrow by the relevant search result then on Cached. Images can occasionally be problematic, so you could filter the resulting page by clicking on Text-only version in the gray bar at the top.
You can otherwise view a specific page by typing cache: into the search box, immediately followed by the address of the webpage you want to access.
Google obviously isn't the only search engine doing this. For instance, you can use Bing's Cached by clicking on the down-arrow.
The cache feature also tells you when the snapshot was last taken. You can then infer whether an update will have replaced any material.
This is better known as The Wayback Machine, a non-profit library of pages from times long past. It's like taking a trip in a time machine and browsing the internet.
The Internet Archive takes "captures" of websites on a regular basis---depending on the popularity of the site and how often it's updated. That means some pages are harder to access, but a trip to the Wayback Machine is rarely wasted.
Enter a URL, page heading, or keywords in the Archive's search function. Find the page you're looking for and it'll tell you when captures were taken. You can browse through calendars and decide what you want to look at.
This could be the very latest, right from its first instance, or somewhere in between. You'll probably see when sites have changed formatting themes and read news from yesteryear. This will even work when a website is experiencing high traffic or is in maintenance mode.
Beware, loading captures can take some time, so patience is definitely required! Nonetheless, it can act as a good busy website opener.
Browser plug-ins can really enhance your online experience, including Chrome extensions which protect your security. But some might also be stopping certain sites from loading.
First, check parental controls aren't turned on and are stopping you from accessing a page. Service providers in the U.K apply some of these legal but frustrating restrictions. If you're the adult in this situation, you should know the relevant details to unlock content, then you may need to talk to your mobile network server to lift regulations.
Some security suites offer parental controls, so you might have to tamper with these through your antivirus or firewall.
Otherwise, some sites will restrict access if you have an ad blocker installed. Uninstall or switch off these plug-ins before trying to load the page again.
Don't let the above issue put you off using plug-ins. Most won't negatively impact browsing. In fact, using a VPN extension can speed up site load-times, and by installing one, you could access region-restricted material.
So what can you do if your ISP, employer, or country blocks the content you want to enjoy? A VPN masks your address, so it looks like your device is in another region.
Check out our list of the best VPNs. Don't worry; you don't always have to pay to get a decent one!
You don't always need a VPN to access blocked pages, even if it's restricted. Instead, you can use a proxy server. This sounds complicated by it can be really simple.
Proxies act in a similar way to VPNs by masking your exact location. However, they do so by acting as a middleman and direct traffic through a third-party.
You don't need to download a proxy, though. Try searching for a restricted site through Startpage.com, which piggybacks on Google searches but protects all your data. When you want to access blocked content, search for the relevant page, then click Anonymous View on the side of every result.
And yes, you can add Startpage.com as a Google Chrome extension, to make the whole experience even faster.
You don't have to be tech-savvy to force websites to load. Google Cache and The Wayback Machine are ideal tricks to access busy websites, while extensions and proxies can help you get around blocks.
But you can still bypass restrictions without using VPNs and proxies.