Can ping websites but web browser will not navigate to web pages

Posted on 2005-04-28
Last Modified: 2013-11-13
I can ping websites from the DOS prompt, but I cannot use a web browser to visit those pages.

Here is the error message when I use Internet Explorer 6.0:
The page cannot be displayed

Here is the error message when I use Firefox:
Alert! The connnection was refused when attempting to contact

I have tried all the variations of ipconfig from the DOS prompt to try to resolve this problem:
ipconfig /release
ipconfig /renew
ipconfig /flushdns
ipconfig /registerdns

nslookup from the DOS prompt DOES work. It returns several IP addresses.

I have also tried using the WinsockxpFix.exe tool, but to no avail.

I have also tried fixing Winsock problems manually by deleting the Winsock & Winsock2 Registry keys, rebooting, then installing TCP/IP via these steps:

1.       Right-click the network connection, and then click Properties.
2.       Click Install.
3.       Click Protocol, and then click Add.
4.       Click Have Disk.
5.       Type C:\Windows\inf, and then click OK.
6.       On the list of available protocols, click Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then click OK.
7.       Restart the computer.

Still, I cannot navigate to websites, using either IE 6.0 or FireFox.

I'm ready and willing to do anything you might suggest, and post any results here for diagnosis. Let me know, I'm out of ideas. Thanks.
Question by:coderlen
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Try setting your primary dns to

    Assisted Solution

    Since you seem to have done a thorough job in doing a lot of the preliminary investigation, let's addresss some other possible issues:

    Do you have SP2 installed, and if so is Windows firewall enabled?
    Is it accepting traffic for port 80? (it should by default of course, but that said, you should check anyway)

    Are you behind a NAT box? (xDSL router, cable modem) and if so, is *it* accepting port 80 traffic?

    Do you (or does your provider) operate a web proxy?
    If so, does Firefox recognize the existence of the proxy
    If not, is Firefox looking for a proxy unsuccessfully?
    Tools | Options | General | Connection Settings | ->
    a)  Direct Connection to the Internet
    b)  Auto-detect proxy settings for this network
    c)  Manual Proxy configuration (and manual options specified below)

    It's clear you have a network connection, and it's working. From your (well written) description of the problem, I would have to conclude that this is a port specific issue.

    Regards & HTH
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Thanks for the responses.

    mmurch03, I tried setting the primary dsn to, no joy. I did this by going to Start > Control Panel > Network and Internet Connections > Network connections, and then right-clicking on Local Area Connection 2, Properties, highlighting Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), and then Properties. I clicked "Use the following IP address" and filled in the following values:
    IP Address          
    Subnet Mask       
    Default Gateway  
    Also, I clicked "Usethe following server addresses" and filled in these values:
    Preferred DNS Server
    Alternate DNS Server
    I saved all this by clicking "OK", and then rebooted. No joy.

    Did I skip something, or not fill in the proper values? Let me know.

    braindump2, this is WIN XP Home. I have SP2 installed, and, yes, ICF (Internet Connection Firewall) is enabled.
    But I don't know how to check to see if it is accepting traffic on port 80. Please advise how to do this.

    This computer is attached to a LinkSys Wireless G Router, but directly by CAT5 cable (you can use one of 4 ports on the back of the router for this). There is another computer attached to the router in exactly the same way, and it works fine. I also don't know how to check to see if the router is accepting port 80 traffic.

    The FireFox browser is set to "Direct Connection to the Internet". Note that I tried 2 different browsers, IE 6.0, and FireFox, and they both failed. I'm not sure how to check the proxy settings for IE; please let me know how to do that.

    I'm not sure what NAT means, so I don't know if it's a NAT box or not. The High-Speed connection is with Cable America. I don't think a web proxy is involved here, whatever that is.

    Let me know what else to do. Thanks.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    You can leave the IP stuff to "Obtain IP address automatically".  There is a radio button under that for DNS and try only setting the preferred DNS server IP to
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    by:Nick Denny

    It seems that this is a browser specific problem.
    Do you have any anti spyware/adware programs installed that may be restricting access to some sites?
    Or a firewall with overly high settings?
    Can you reach any site at all?
    Have you tried typing in the actual IP number of a site in the browser address bar instead of the name?
    This will determine if it's a DNS problem.
    For Google, try  in the address bar.

    The security in the router may also be set too high.

    If you can access the router, then put you computer in the DMZ (de-militarized zone - i.e. straight pass through router) and try again. Beware though, you will lose any NAT protection the router gives you if you do this , so unless you have alternative protection, use only as a test for a short time.
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    mmurch03, I tried resetting everything just as you said, "Obtain IP address automatically", and then setting only the preferred DNS server IP to That still didn't work. Same old stuff.

    seriousnick, I do have anti spyware/adware programs installed, but I've never had this problem before, so I don't THINK that is the problem. Please explain your reasoning if you think I'm wrong. Thanks.

    I turned off the Windows XP firewall (ICF) and set all the IE browser security settings as low as they would go, even though I was warned not to do that. But, I still can't reach any site at all, none whatsoever.

    And I tried the exact address you gave me, but I get "Cannot Find Server - Microsoft Internet Explorer" in the title bar.

    As far as the security in the router, if it's set too high, then why can I access the Internet with the other computer which is attached to that router? You may be on to something, since I recently set the security on that router to a high level, since it is a wireless router. But I don't see how that would apply, since one computer is working and the subject computer is not. Let me know if I'm off base on that one, though.

    I'm a little afraid to change the settings on the router since it IS working on one computer. Guide me if you feel I'm mistaken in not changing the router's settings.

    I'm just about ready to do a Repair Install of Win XP Home, and see if that helps. I'll wait a few hours before doing that, to give all of you a chance to respond. I don't like to do repair installs, without exhausting all other avenues first. I'll try any suggestions you might have up until that time, so please post here so I can try the suggestions. Thanks, everyone. You've all been very helpful to me.
    LVL 1

    Assisted Solution

    Type the this into your browsers address bar and hit enter:

    What happens?  If you go to Yahoo, it's your dns.  If not, dunno...
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    by:Nick Denny

    I suggested antispyware as one or two programs silently block pages.

    However, re-reading - this is clearly machine specific as well as browser specific and unlikely to be router related.

    It could well have something to do with your hosts file.

    Have a read here

    Maybe something there you haven't yet tried.

    Good luck
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    by:Nick Denny
    Hi again

    Also make sure you've reset your TCP/IP settings to "obtain DNS server address automatically".

    Unless of course you are using valid IP's.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    Yea, you could also ask your ISP for a specific dns server address.  I had the same problem in the past, but I have adsl and it is a different setup.  
    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    see if u can ping the websites from command-prompt, its not a issue of DNS..
    but still can u send the output of a normal ping to (I am interested in what IP it resolves to)

    Also, if u r successful, then can u try this...

    from command prompt type :

    telnet 80
    and if u see a blank cursor waiting.. then u have connected to google server
    there type :     get    /

    this should ideally return a response from google server,
    if u receive the response then your internet connectivity is fine, just the issue with browsers...

    but if you are not able to connect to on port 80 then definitely its a network issue
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    mmurch03, when I tried only setting the preferred DNS server IP to, I was no longer able to ping successfully. So, I changed it back to "Obtain DNS server address automatically", and then I could ping again. Of course, the original problem still remains.
    Also, I did as you suggested and typed into the address bar of IE. I got this message box:
    You also suggested that I ask my ISP for a specific dns server address. This is not an ISP, it's a high-speed connection with Cable America. But, maybe you're right. I'll have to address that on Monday when they open. Maybe they're open for support over the weekend, I'll have to check.

    Microsoft Internet Explorer
      X  Internet Explorer could not opne the search page.

    seriousnick, I am still researching that link you gave me on hosts file. I'll post here later when I complete that. Thanks, good call. I hadn't thought of that.
    Yes, I have reset to "obtain DNS server address automatically".

    kapes, here are the results of your suggestions:

    pinging [] with 32 bytes of data:

    Reply from bytes = 32 time = 51 ms TTL = 238
    Reply from bytes = 32 time = 53 ms TTL = 238
    Reply from bytes = 32 time = 78 ms TTL = 238
    Reply from bytes = 32 time = 73 ms TTL = 238

    Ping statistics for
        Packets sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
        Minimum = 51 ms, Maximum = 78 ms, Average = 63 ms

    telnet www. 80
    Connecting to not open connection to the host, on port 80
      : connect failed

    Any other suggestions? Thanks.

    LVL 6

    Expert Comment

    not able to connect to on port 80 clearly suggests that, your outgoing traffic on port 80 is blocked...

    Now, to re-confirm it, can u follow the same process on another PC where you are able to browse the Internet.

    if it able to connect to on port 80, Then definitely, something is blocking your access to internet on troubled PC.

    it could be either a third party tool / spyware /malware   or it could be router config which is not allowing your PC to connect to internet websites...
    LVL 13

    Accepted Solution

    Following on from kapes ideas, it is definitely not a DNS problem. You will not need to obtain DNS IP's from your ISP as the one's you are currently using are working.

    All they do is resolve a name into a number format and vice versa. The fact that you can ping is evidence that they are ok.

    I suspect that their is something in the router that is blocking either your computer's IP or its NIC MAC address.

    Easiest thing 1st is to change your IP. See what the default gateway is (e.g. - the router's IP) and simply change the last octet - (the 254 in this case) to something you know isn't used - anywhere between 2 and 253 should do, but not whatevet the gateway is. E.g. your computer IP change to - subnet gateway - as it was before.

    When you manually change an IP you have to manually enter DNS server IP's too, so note down what they are automatically assigned and use these before you start.

    Having said all that, if its your MAC addres that is blocked, then either use another network interface or go into the router config - under "access restrictions" or similar, and make sure you are not being denied access.

    It could even be both. THe weird thing is that you could connect before.

    All in all, it may be worth a quick test by-passing the router and plugging directly to your cable socket to see if it is the router.

    Good luck.
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    kapes, I did a normal ping to on the computer which has a good Internet connection, and it pings just fine. Then, I tried your telnet command:

    telnet 80

    and I saw the blank cursor waiting. Then I typed    get    /  but I couldn't see anything else. In fact, it didn't even echo "get /". So, I don't know what that means. Mind you, this is on the good computer, not the problem computer. Please explain what this means.
    I am able to bring in another computer to that CAT5 cable connection, plug in the RJ45 connector to the Ethernet card, and the new computer is able to browse the Internet with Internet Explorer. I don't think this is a router issue, unless it is blocking that computer specifically. I don't know how to check that on the router, so please enlighten me.

    kapes, you said "it could be either a third party tool / spyware /malware   or it could be router config which is not allowing your PC to connect to internet websites..." How would I check if it's a third party tool? I guess it COULD be spyware or malware, although I've run scans of AdAware, AVG, and Spybot, although without the latest Internet updates (since I still can't get connected to the Internet).

    seriousnick, I haven't the energy left to chase down your suggestions right now. Sorry. I want to, and I will, but no time or energy left today. I also want to finish the research on the hosts file, which you suggested earlier.

    I really did not think about hardware, but since I had not addressed that, I decided to swap in a NIC (Network Interface Card), and see if that helped. The Ethernet, as configured on this machine, is part of the motherboard. But the new NIC didn't make any difference. I also tried swapping in a brand new power supply, and interchanging the two memory sticks, but no luck.

    Sorry, I'll just have to get on this Monday and see what comes up. Thanks so much for all the suggestions. And thanks for sticking with me. I have not given up, and I will post here Monday AM with my results. Thanks again.

    LVL 6

    Assisted Solution


    First, I will explain what we did by telnet 80
    Normally all the websites you see on the internet, are hosted on web servers, which listen on port 80 for connection,
    and as you type say in browser's address-bar, browser first resolves the dns name to IP Address of webserver, and connect to it on port 80, and asks for the default page....
    by telnetting to on port 80, you are just replacing browser and directly connecting to web server of
    (just a note, as i tried myself, i got the same blank screen, if you try same for you will get some HTML error page, which is fine !)

    Now, if you are able to do that from another PC, means definitely problem with this PC... or router config not allowing this PC's ip or mac to connect to internet...

    Now to pin-point, the exact problem, we will eliminate the router side issue first,
    (i.e. IP or MAC address based blocking)

    for that, can u eliminate the router from connectivity and directly connect the PC to Internet?

    if not, can u swap the ports on which your two PCs are connected?
    if that also doesn't help, can u change the IP address of troubled PC to say another PC from which internet connection is working fine,mind you while you are testing this, remove that another PC from network, otherwise, you will get duplicate IP address error.

    To eliminate PC issue, can u download hijackthis utility and run it..

    Also, copy its log file for analysis on this page, if possible let us know what was the analysis results...
    LVL 4

    Author Comment

    Thanks to all for responding to this question. It was a tough one.

    I solved the problem by using the no-brainer solution of just formatting the hard drive and re-installing Windows XP Home. I had tried a Repair Install, but the problem still remained.

    Although none of you suggested this solution (which really didn't require any thinking at all), I am still awarding all the points, since the suggestions were really quite good and provided me with insight.

    Here is how I awarded the points:

    mmurch03  175
    braindump2  50
    seriousnick  175
    kapes          100

    The grade is "B".

    I still don't know what caused the problem. This caused me to open another question to find out why none of the normal solutions seem to be working anymore. The bad guys are getting smarter, and we just need to be well-informed to fight them. You are all welcome to respond to that question:

    Thanks again for the responses.

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