The internet is a fairly reliable resource but it isn’t without its technical faults. Networks are complicated beasts at the best of times with a million different potential problems with twice as many solutions. If you have ever been asked, or heard someone asking across the office, if a particular website is down this post is for you.

Knowing whether a particular domain is out of commission, just slow or whether there is something wrong with your network can have an impact on your productivity. Fortunately, there are a couple of quick tests to find out before you call your IT helpdesk.

Is it them?

The first and most basic test is to try a different website. If other major websites such as the BBC, Yahoo or Google are up, then it’s likely the website you’re trying to visit that’s at fault. If they are unreachable too, the fault may be closer to home.

So try another website by typing in the URL into the address bar. If that doesn’t work, open your search engine of choice and type the name in there. If one of those methods works, it’s likely the destination website that’s at fault and not your network.

A second test is a little old school. It’s called Ping and anyone used to working on older versions of Windows or within networks will have a soft spot for it. PING stands for Packet INternet Groper and has been in used since the 1980s. It’s a simple tool packaged within Windows that can access the network stack and perform basic tests

Open up a CMD Window with Run > CMD. Then type “ping www.google.com. If the website is up, you will see “Reply from…” If the website is down, you will see “Request timed out.” Just be aware that for security reasons, a few major websites automatically ignore pings so this isn’t a definitive test.

Is it me?

There are a number of websites that will check a particular domain for you to see if it is down. It’s the web equivalent of that call across the office. Websites such as DownForEveryoneOrJustMe.com, Is It Down Right Now or Is It Down are all fast ways of getting a second opinion.

Each website will try to access the site as a user and report back how it got on. If the site is okay, they will tell you so. If they can’t access the site, they will tell you that too.

Finally, if you use a VPN or SecureID access method, disable them and try again. If you can access the website, it’s the VPN or access service. If you can’t, it’s likely your network. If this is the case, now would be a good time to call IT!

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