Safari cannot open the page because the server cannot be found.

I have had a few people tell me that when trying to visit a site using safari on their iPhones, they get an error that says:

Safari cannot open the page because the server cannot be found.

I asked other people to test on their iPhones and they said it works fine. After asking Google about this it seems that the answer is always something to do with the phone itself. But, it is not realistic to ask everyone with an iPhone to check this setting, and check that setting in order to try use the website.

Does anyone have any suggestions regarding this?
Black SulfurAsked:
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Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
I'm confused by your question.  Your title makes me want to show you how to solve this problem by providing this support article on how to resolve the error you're providing, but it sounds like you're really asking for a mobile device management solution because you have to manage many iPhone users in your organization, right?
Black SulfurAuthor Commented:
Sorry if I was not clear. I have a website that works fine in all browsers and it works fine on my iPhone. A friend told me that when they visit the site on their iPhone, they get the message I mentioned above. Another friend said the website reloaded about 4 times and then got stuck and threw another error message. This is only happening for some people and only on iPhones.

Today, one of them said they can now access the site on their iPhone. I did not make any changes to the website. So, I was wondering if this is a website issue or iPhone issue.

My initial thought is that perhaps it is an iPhone issue because why is it that only some people have this issue.
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
Thank you for letting me know.  I've added topics to your question to try and get more input from web developers who might have more knowledge on why this is happening.
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Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
I can't help but wonder if the site itself is having DNS update issues. Does the site's IP change from time to time by any chance? A delay in DNS propagation could cause this error. Since, I assume each iPhone is using its own cellular network, and they are not using the same network, I would look to see if the problem follows a specific cell company provider, as one example, as to why the DNS entry of your site is not propagating or updating properly.  

I just saw this problem on a site that was returning two IP addresses when doing a DNS query. Some devices took the first address and worked, while other devices took the second, or only got the second, and that address failed.

So when a device fails, make note of the cell service provider and see if the failures follow a specific provider. You could also put one of the free network tool apps on those devices and do a DNS lookup and see what those phones return as the site's address, and compare that to a device that is working.
Black SulfurAuthor Commented:
Thanks Owen,

in this case, one of the users was in a different country to me and the other user lives 10 minutes away from me in the same country. How would I check if the site is having DNS update issues? Not sure if it has anything to do with anything, but in my .htaccess file I am forcing the site to always go to

So, if you type in or just it will redirect to
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
You can put a tool like this: (iNetTools), a free network app that will let you do a DNS lookup. Open the app press DNS Lookup, enter the website address, and see what results return. One for a phone that works, and one for a phone that does not. If they point to different IP addresses, or they return more than one address, then a problem is occuring.

In that same tool, see if, and return the same address. And then ask your users which one they use. Perhaps the fails are using one while the successes are using the other.

Typically you should not have DNS issues unless the server is attached to a system that has a DHCP address given by some system that changes it on occasion. If the address is static, there should be no problem and the address should properly look up. But I have seen issues in this area.

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Black SulfurAuthor Commented:
Hmm. If I put in
then it says no result.

If I put in just
then it shows some stuff I don't understand like 56m38s IN TXT, IN MX, IN SOA, IN NS

If I put in
it only shows 72m20s IN CNAME

Not sure if that means anything to you but I have no idea
That's DNS.  You get DNS entries which show you what name is in DNS.  You have, which is the record that includes the main text page record (IN TXT), mail (IN MX), a Start of Authority (IN SOA) and Name Server (IN NS).  Then you have which is an alias to

DNS doesn't use the http:// or https:// designation in front.  It only needs the name.

It's entirely possible that different Cell towers, maybe because they're different countries are using different name servers and one of those name servers is not resolving your domain name.  It's also possible that they're blocking.  Also, I see you using https://.  Maybe the redirect from http:// wasn't working correctly and your user was attempting to load the http page, when it should have gotten redirected.  You might ask which service provider they're using, maybe it depends on the service provider.
Black SulfurAuthor Commented:
Thanks serialband,

Maybe the redirect from http:// wasn't working correctly

Not sure if you are clued up on .htaccess files but I am using this. I am not an expert so maybe there is a problem here?

<IfModule mod_rewrite.c>
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} off [OR]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www\. [NC]
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^(?:www\.)?(.+)$ [NC]
RewriteRule ^ https://%1%{REQUEST_URI} [L,NE,R=301]
RewriteRule ^$ public/ [L]
RewriteRule (.*) public/$1 [L]

Open in new window

Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
Serialband, that is what I suggested that there is some problem with DNS which is why I wanted him to see the differences.  I have seen this before, and that is usually the cause.

Black Sulfer: Does everyone of your users have the same .htaccess file entries? The reason I ignored that (at first) is you said that "some" other users cannot connect while others can. Do the ones who can have those same entries while the ones that don't do not?

I would also suggest that you have the people who cannot connect try both forms of the URL to see if one works for them while one does not. That might be the simplest solution right now while you find out what is going on with DNS.

As for the DNS check, I really would like to see the results from a phone that does work, and a phone that does not.  There is some additional info I wanted to see in the DNS query. Here is an example for Apple:

Note the items highlighted in yellow. I would like to know if you get the same results (IP address) for each URL variant as well.

Black SulfurAuthor Commented:
Hi Owen, the .htaccess file is just in a folder on the web server. Any user who visits the site should be served exactly the same css, html, php, js and .htaccess. Not sure if that is what you meant?

The problem is, the one person who initially could not get onto the site tried the following day and managed to get on.

I will need to try contact the other person I am aware of and see if they can access the site now or if they are still having the same problem.
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
My bad, you said .htaccess and my brain went .host file for some reason. Just ignore that!  SIGH!
Owen RubinConsultantCommented:
The problem is, the one person who initially could not get onto the site tried the following day and managed to get on.

This even more points to DNS issues as they can change an update.  Or perhaps they moved into an area or on Wifi that had more up to date DNS tables.  I just can't think of anything else that would cause these symptoms like this.
Kyle SantosQuality AssuranceCommented:
Super glad to see this was resolved. =)
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