Certain sites won't load

Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2004 12:59 pm
Certain sites won't load. My web otherwise works perfectly. I am not behind a firewall, and I don't have a port-blocker installed. So when I click this link: http://www.alexa.com/, I get the standard "The page cannot be displayed -- The page you are looking for is currently unavailable." I added alexa.com to the "trusted sites" list, just to make sure it wasn't blocking something... I have no idea.

I think the same thing is happening with ads served by amazon. When I go onto a site with amazon ads, the ads don't show. It also means I can't serve dynamic amazon ads on my website. For this reason I was thinking maybe some AdAware-type program had blocked alexa (and amazon owns alexa, no?).

I just don't know what to do about it. Thanks.
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Craven de Kere
Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2004 01:03 pm
Did you check your HOSTS file? Here is a discussion About the HOSTS file.

If you see nothing amiss in there then we can try other solutions.
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Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2004 01:15 pm
Wow, that worked. I thought I hung out in some good circles, but no one's been able to solve that in the months I've been asking people...

So tell me more. What's the HOSTS file?
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Craven de Kere
Reply Wed 25 Feb, 2004 01:39 pm
It's a local DNS database. Works like this:

All sites and computers etc on the net have "addresses" that are IPs.

Since humans can't remember numbers well we have domain names.

So when you type "able2know.com" into the address bar of your browser it will first look at your HOSTS file. If there's an IP associated with the domain in the HOSTS file it will go to that address without looking up what it actually is.

So the domain can be routed to any IP. Your computer will use it whenever it's loking for that domain.

What you probably had in your HOSTS file was "" for the amazon and alexa domains.

That IP is "localhost", in other words your own computer. So when you were trying to get to those domains it was just sending the request to your own computer, where the request dies a graceful death.

This can be used to block certain sites, and that's what apparently happened. Some anti-spyware program decided to "protect" you from Amazon and re-routed the domains to your own computer.

So by removing the entry from the HOSTS file your computer took the next step, it queries the main DNS (Doman Name Servers) servers and they return the IP that the domain is pointed to by the owner/registrar/datacenter DNS.

So if you have an entry in your HOSTS file it will eliminate the DNS lookups, using instead what's in that file.
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