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Windows 7: Can't connect to certain websites

15 Jul 2015   #31
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Ok, regarding ZenMate:

It is a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service. A VPN is a tunnel between two points (your PC being one, and the server of ZenMate on the other). Communications between the two are encrypted. It is as if you are connected to the Internet from their servers, hence bypass your ISP.

The free version you loaded is a browser based VPN. The extension you installed for Firefox creates the tunnel between your PC and servers. There is a small icon on top right part of Firefox and see which country you are connected from. You can disable it from that icon, or change the country.

I usually use ZenMate for sites that would normally open but fail to at any time, or to access banned (due to some retarded court order) sites.

You don't need to use it for everything (I don't). I was more interested in seeing how it would behave. Your regular browsers are unaffected by the VPN (they will still connect through your ISP) and you won't get those warnings about being in other countries.

What you can do is, keep Firefox for these 2 sites but do your other stuff with IE and Chrome as usual. That is until (if) we can find a solution for you.

What we learned by this test is that your PC is ok (at least that's how I see it). So I will ask again, did you try to change DNS servers? If not, try it:
- Network and Sharing Center
- click on Local Area Connection
- properties
- TCP/IPv4 properties
- check "use the following DNS server addresses" and enter 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 in the 2 boxes (these are Google)
- ok your way out
- in cmd: ipconfig -flushdns
- try browsing to your problem sites with IE

By the way, if changing DNS works you don't need to use Google DNS (some people don't fancy it due to being tracked), you can switch to, say, OpenDNS.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
17 Jul 2015   #32
w4mps

W7Home Premium 32b
 
 

I went through the DNS server change instructions. On the first try, IE connected to zerohedge after some delay. After that, I couldn't get it to reconnect again. Same on the other problem sites. BTW, I'm one of those who doesn't like being tracked by Google. What would the settings be for Open DNS? Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2015   #33
w4mps

W7Home Premium 32b
 
 
Reformat?

Since the other computers in my home seem to be connecting to sites without a problem, and considering the extraordinary amount of time I have devoted trying to solve the problem on my machine, I'm now wondering if it wouldn't make sense to back up my computer and reformat the damn thing. That's not even taking into account the amount of time you wonderful people have spent trying to help me figure out what's causing my problems. I know it's a pain to reload everything, but in the long run, it might be a quicker (and simpler) solution to my connection problems. I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on the idea. Many thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Jul 2015   #34
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

See: Use OpenDNS

Also use the commands:

Start>search>cmd>IPconfig /flushdns

IPconfig /release

Then IPconfig /renew
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2015   #35
w4mps

W7Home Premium 32b
 
 

Callender: Performed your suggestions. No change/improvement. Problem sites still load ok in Firefox using ZenMate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2015   #36
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by w4mps View Post
...Only one is having the problem; the other 2 connect without issue....
This would seem to rule out the ISP blocking anything (assuming that all 3 computers use the same ISP).

The following info is mostly directed at those helping you:

The Firefox/ZenMate work around is interesting, but I don't think that it tells us anything about the local ISP - given that other computers are not blocked by the ISP.

DNS:
I could be wrong about this, but my various monitoring tools have led me to think that browsers have their own DNS cache. Once a browser knows the relationship between a text based web address and its IP address, it keeps/reuses that info until the browser exits RAM. (e.g. with the Windows DNS Client service disabled, browsers show up in Process Monitor and Wireshark making their own DNS requests. I don't see any further name resolution traffic when visiting the same website twice in one browsing session.) Given that, it seems odd to me that IE connects and then fails.

With the Windows DNS Client service enabled and running, IE (or any other app) would ask that service to resolve domain names (turn a text based web address into an IP address). If the Windows DNS Client service does not have that info, it requests it for the ISP's DNS servers. [Or from whatever DNS servers are configured for the network adapter in use.] The Windows DNS Client service keeps/caches this info so that subsequent requests to resolve the same domain name (text based web address) will not require another inquiry to the ISP's DNS servers. The fact that IE connects once, but fails after that should have nothing to do with the ISP.

As far as I can tell, the Windows DNS Client keeps its cache of resolved domain names in RAM. I have yet to find a source to back up that assertion. Empirical data suggests that stopping the service will flush the DNS cache. There should be no need to flush the cache via ipconfig if the service was stopped. However, browsers should be closed and Task Manager consulted to ensure that the browser did indeed exit RAM.

All of the above info could be flawed. I am open to correction/education on the points made.


There are already enough cooks in this kitchen, so I'll not ask the OP to do anything - yet :-)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2015   #37
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

UsernameIssues:

- I don't think ISP is blocking either, it would have failed every time instead if so.
- As I have mentioned it before, I suspected the DNS caching to be the issue. As you told, first attempt works as there is nothing in cache, but subsequent requests are first looked in the cache (disregarding hosts file etc, talking about the DNS side) and don't use DNS lookup if they are readily available. I don't know about the individual browsers caching themselves. There is a cache you can see with "ipconfig -displaydns". I don't think this cache is related to any browser alone. This is the cache that gets deleted with -flushdns or after a reboot as far as I know.

Since it works with ZenMate, it can't be a cache issue either. ZenMate has its own DNS servers but PC would be using the same cache. Perhaps a routing issue (should be the only other thing different than a non-VPN connection)? I keep wondering about router acting up, then again why only these 2 sites and why work once after each restart?

I would still try connecting PC directly to modem (if possible) to eliminate router suspicion.

** Does it work if you close and restart the browser only?

w4mps: It is up to you to decide on a re-install. You are the boss here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jul 2015   #38
UsernameIssues

W7 Pro SP1 64bit
 
 

Thanks GokAy.


:::goes back to lurking:::
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2015   #39
Callender

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Okay so just some more thoughts.

RE: Firefox. I don't use it much and prefer Cyberfox. I do have FF Portable though.

Firefox cache: As far as I know Firefox stores visited pages in it's cache somewhere and when you attempt to visit a website for a second time it loads the page from cache rather than the actual live page doesn't it?

On my machine I have changed default settings.

Can't connect to certain websites-cyberfox-options.jpg

Cache after some browsing:

Can't connect to certain websites-ff-cache-2.jpg

Also I have an add on installed (currently disabled) that forces pages to reload.

Can't connect to certain websites-ff-cache.jpg

I guess that pressing F5 or CTRL+F5 might also force a reload of the current page.

So I wonder if FF with Zenmate actually displays the cached page on subsequent visits?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jul 2015   #40
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Good info there, however OP tried FF without ZenMate and that failed too. One would expect behavior be same with or without it?

I also thought of temp Internet files being corrupt but that is only for IE, right?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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