What to do when you can’t open a page’s URL

It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter errors when you’re using the Internet. Error 404 is an example of a simple error code that makes the problem at hand clear.  Then there are other errors where the underlying problem is far from being clear. An error that states “this site can’t be reached” is one of those errors. The error provides no guidance on how to rectify the situation. 

The solution may be unclear at first, but when you know what to look for it can be an easy fix. Keep reading to learn the most common reasons for why a page URL won’t open and how to fix it.  

How to fix a “we couldn’t open the page’s URL” error

When you see an error that states “we couldn’t open the page’s URL” a number of things could be going wrong. There are four strategies you can try to fix the issue.

Restart your internet connection

The error message “we couldn’t open the page’s URL” can appear even if you are connected to the internet, and your connection is working properly. There could be some kind of problem with the website making the connection. The first thing to try is simply rebooting your router or modem. It’s often an effective and speedy solution for problems like this, even though it may appear overly simplistic.

Turn off the antivirus and firewall

The firewall software you’re using, or the operating system’s built-in firewall, may actively block some pages and prohibit your computer from connecting to them. Try temporarily turning off your firewall and antivirus software to see if that solves the issue.

Not sure how to turn off the firewall? The following articles are good resources for disabling an operating system:

Wipe the cache from your browser

Your browser saves a lot of information and files from the sites you visit. Doing so means the browser doesn’t have to completely refresh web pages every time you visit them because the files are stored in a local cache. The “we couldn’t open the page’s URL” error may appear if there is a problem with your cached files. This can be fixed by erasing the cache in your browser.

In Chrome, you can do this by:

  • Navigating to Settings 
  • Click on Privacy and Security 
  • Select Clear Browsing Data 
  • Check the box labeled Cached Images and Files
  • Click the Clear Data option

After giving Chrome time to complete the task, try reloading the web page that was giving you trouble to see if it will open properly.

Clear your DNS cache

The IP addresses of the websites you visit are also cached in the Domain Name System (DNS) of the operating system. That way, whenever you want to make a connection, your browser won’t have to look up the same IP addresses through its DNS server. The DNS cache saves information in a manner that’s similar to a web browser’s cache. However, the data itself is different.

If your operating system is caching out-of-date information for a website it can cause issues. The solution is to “flush” or clear your DNS cache. Clearing your DNS cache is much easier than it sounds like it would be. How you’ll go about doing that depends on the operating system. 

cPanel Docs has created a great resource for clearing your DNS cache no matter what type of operating system you’re using. 

Final word on URL opening errors

Even though the “this site can’t be reached” issue can be frustrating, finding a solution to the problem isn’t all that tough. Most of the time, the error is caused by issues with your DNS and caching settings or your connection to the internet. So, if you experience the “we couldn’t open the page’s URL ” error, start with the simple fixes before moving on to the DNS.

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