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A connection timed out error typically occurs when a server takes longer to load than your browser settings allow. Additionally, it may occur due to personal hardware errors, data request errors, if the requested server doesn't exist, or hits a roadblock. Roadblocks may be something as simple as your router being too busy with other connections.
Generally, a browser tries to load a website for around 30 seconds, give or take, before deciding to cancel a connection. Usually, this error will show in your browser as "ERR_CONNECTION_TIMED_OUT" or on chrome specifically, "This site can't be reached. Domain.com took too long to respond." Note that other browsers may state this differently but refer to the same error using similar wording.
Below we will outline the steps you can take to fix a timing error when it occurs. Note that Before you begin to troubleshoot the problem, ensure that your office or home router is working correctly. And that your wifi connection (if applicable) is slow or not functioning correctly. While this may not be the case, it's always better to start from the most uncomplicated point to save time.
Clear Your Browser Cache and Cookies
The first thing you should do is check to see if it is a browser cache problem. Browsers store the history, data from logging in, cookies, and more to provide you with a quicker loading time when you return to a specific website. Storage of these may sometimes cause problems if they are outdated upon your return, and clearing your cache may be a quick solution.
However, this may clear your auto-filling passwords or log you out of specific pages, which may cause inconveniences for some. An easy trick to quickly test if it is a browser problem is to open your browser in an incognito mode if it has one. Additionally, should you have more than one browser on your device, we recommend looking at the site via the second browser.
If you still see the error, then the first thing you should do is clear your browser's cache and cookies. If you have any plugins or extensions on your browser, turn them off as well. One of them may be interfering and causing the error to occur.
If you are still finding an error, you will need to delve further.
Momentarily Disable your Firewall and Antivirus Software
Your Firewalls and antivirus software regularly scans your device. It will block suspicious activity, often without your knowledge of the threats. Occasionally this can result in connection issues as they may reject pages and content safe for you and your device.
Note: Disabling or pausing your firewalls and security software leaves you vulnerable to attackers. It would be best if you only went to pages that you trust and know for sure are safe with they are disabled.
If you notice a change, you may want to send a false-positive report to the software developer if the website is blocked.
Remember to re-enable your Firewall and Antivirus Software immediately after you have finished this step to keep your device and your data safe.
Change Your DNS Servers
Note: If you are already running through one of these DNS servers, you may want to clear or flush the DNS server's cache. If this does not show results, you want to switch back to the browser's original DNS settings to continue troubleshooting.
Written by Hostwinds Team / December 13, 2016