Link broken for one user
Posted on 2013-01-03
One user is having a problem with a broken link on our website that's not broken for anybody else. She must be using Google as a proxy server; when she clicks the link, she gets "Oops! This link appears to be broken." In the address bar (in IE), everything in the domain name is bold except the www part. The rest of the address is gray. Under the "Oops" message, it has the typical "suggestions," and the first says to go to the domain name. The top level domain name (e.g., the part after the dot) is in italics. This matches what's in the address bar.
Now here's the strange part. If I purposely misspell a page on the site, I don't get a message from the proxy server at all (e.g., my ISP's page, in my case). Instead, I get a "Not Found" page from Apache that says "The requested URL [insert url here] was not found on this server."
So somehow, it appears that her browser, when she clicks on this link, is somehow not finding the domain. What's even stranger is that she consistently gets this problem, while other people don't get it at all.
The fact that Google proxy server is putting the top-level domain in italics (under "Suggestions") makes me wonder if this could be a character encoding problem. In other words, even though to the naked eye, it's exactly the same, could it be that the top level domain is different to the browser somehow? For example, is it possible that when other people click on the link the letters get transferred to the browser and sent to the server and get the right domain, but when she clicks on the same link, the browser reads the letters that look exactly the same but somehow sees them as different letters because of some sort of character encoding thing, so that it comes back as not being able to find the domain, even though it looks right in the address bar?
By the way, she is able to view other pages on the site, so I would think that rules out there being an odd entry in her hosts file. It's just this link (actually a couple of links) where she keeps getting this problem.