Is Google down?

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Problem-solving your Interweb.

When your car won’t start, the first thing you would do is call a breakdown service, and rightly so. After all, you wouldn’t call the main roads department or check if your neighbour’s car is working to figure out what’s wrong. But when your email stops working, it is connected to a number of things that need to be checked before you throw your arms in the air and declare the Internet is broken.

There are a few simple things you can and should do before calling your web developer when a web site or email problem occurs. The whole Internet thing is incredibly complex, in fact, I’m not even sure that anyone actually knows exactly how it all works. It just does. I think, if enough people want something to work, it just will. (Possibly another reason why I should not be your first port of call in a crisis.)


Simple Steps to Fixing Web Site or Email Issues

Web site is down!! (<- Insert panic here ->)

When your web site is down, the first thing to do is check if Google is also down. If Google is also down, then the problem is not your web site; it’s your Internet connection. Google is like Jesus, it doesn’t have days off.

Narrow down the problem.

  1. First check the other computers in your office or home to see if they have the same problem. If not, then it’s your computer.
  2. If Google is also not available for your colleagues, then check your modem and router to see if they are still connected. Often turning them off and back on will fix a faulty connection.
  3. If Google is working but your site is not, try going to http://isthisdown.com and type your URL in. This site will check whether it’s just for you or the rest of the world as well.
  4. If your site is unavailable for the whole world, the next thing to check is your hosting and domain accounts. You would be surprised how often people forget to pay their annual hosting or domain bills.
  5. If you complete all four steps and still have no answer, then call your web developer.

My Email is Broken!

No email can be caused by a number of things:

  1. Your inbox is full
  2. Your mail server is broken or offline
  3. Your internet connection is down (again, check Google)
  4. Nobody loves you anymore

Email issues can easily be split into two areas – incoming and outgoing. When you receive email, it usually comes through your web server. This is something your web developer can usually fix. It’s often a mail server issue or your inbox is full. Try logging on to your webmail account and deleting spam and old mail and then, this is important, purge or empty the trash. This will free up some valuable space for new emails.

When you send an email, however, it goes out through your service provider – e.g. Optusnet or Telstra. If you can receive, but not send email, good luck. Cancel the rest of your day, put the kettle on and prepare to be on hold with your service provider for the rest of the day. There is unfortunately nothing your web designer can do to fix an outgoing mail problem.

While you are on hold, try sending yourself an email. If you have a webmail account like Gmail or Hotmail, send it from there. Gmail is like Jesus’ cousin, Santa Claus. It works all year round too.

So, that’s the basics. Next time you think the Internet is broken, run through these few basic steps and you’ll be up and running in no time.

Interesting Note: Actually Google did go down on the 6th May this year – just a short glitch. Perhaps it was the seventh day, the day of rest.

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