No. of Recommendations: 1
Starting Tuesday I'm having various troubles with various sites. As an example, My Fool takes forever to load, and when it does the format is all messed up. Everything's there, but in one column instead of showing headers and footers. I cannot access www.washingtonpost.com at all. Yet www.imd.com and www.bankofamerica.com operate normally. E-Mail operates normally (Outlook).

I went through the connectivity troubleshooter this morning and got the Subject error message. That and 25 cents would have gotten me on Chicago's El in 1966.

I'm using IE 11.0, but the same problem exists with Chrome. Windows 7. I'm housesitting and using Comcast, a different ISP than I do at home. Network status shows me connected to the network and the network connected to the Internet.

I would greatly appreciate cc responses via e-mail and promise not to store your address for eternal bothering. It's just so much easier for me to check e-mail than it is the Fool.


These are basically symptoms of an unstable internet connection. There usually isn't a lot you can do about it other than make sure cables within the facility you control are properly connected. What you will find is that nearly all problems are intermittent. When a page fails to load - however it fails - reloading it will probably work. For most pages, that is, not necessarily all.

DNS (Distributed Name Service, also known collectively as nameservers) is how the internet turns computer names such as www.fool.com into IP addresses. It's a distributed database - each server holds a little bit of the data plus how to contact the servers that know the rest. And hierarchical: there are a few servers that serve, for example, all .com addresses, but they (for the most part) only know one additional qualifier such as google.com, and they will have that name attached to a pointer to Google's own nameserver that knows about such things as translate.google.com (Google's nameserver will also have the address of at least two nameservers it can forward requests to when someone asks it for something it can't answer itself - quite possibly the complete set of single-qualifier nameservers). The DNS system has TREMENDOUS redundancy, and it is simply not plausible that the whole system goes down.

However, if your intermittent connection means you don't get a reply from the DNS system...

...which is really disconcerting when you have a page up and click a Next button, and get told the DNS system isn't responding. This actually indicates that TWO sets of communications got lost: your computer had cached the IP address of the site, but that communication failed, so it threw away the address (which it assumes may have gone bad for some reason) and asked the DNS system for the correct address, and that communication also failed.

Like I said, there isn't much you can do about it.
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