ARCHIVED: How can I view a web page that my browser has difficulty displaying?

Because the web is built on a patchwork of standards and proprietary technologies, occasionally you will encounter a web site that doesn't display correctly in your browser. If the site or the server it resides on is no longer available, or if its maintainer made serious coding errors, you may not be able to do anything to access it. Before concluding this, however, you may wish to try the suggestions below:

  • Update your browser: If you have an older program, see if an updated version is available. This is particularly important for sites that require a secure connection. In some cases, however, you may actually have better luck with an older program. Thus if you're experiencing difficulty with a recent version, try using an older one.
  • Try a different browser: Site maintainers frequently design with a specific browser in mind. In the process of optimizing their site for that browser, they make it less available to others. Using a different browser (e.g., Firefox instead of Internet Explorer) can therefore help you access the site. In extreme cases (e.g., if the site works only for one operating system), you may even need to use a different computer.
  • Install plug-ins: Some sites rely on Flash, PDF, and other formats that require browser plug-ins to function properly. For help, see ARCHIVED: What are plug-ins?
  • Enable or disable scripting and embedded programs: Many sites make use of scripting languages (e.g., JavaScript, VBScript), Java applets, or ActiveX controls to enhance their content. Enabling these features in your browser may be necessary in order to correctly display the pages. Other times, if a site's enhancements are incompatible with your browser, cause it to slow down, or make it crash, you may want to disable these features. For instructions, see ARCHIVED: In Firefox, how do I turn Java and JavaScript off or on? or ARCHIVED: In Internet Explorer, how do I enable or disable Java or JavaScript?
  • Change your color preferences: If a site's link, text, and background colors are not well differentiated, it may be very difficult to read. Most browsers give you the option to override a site's colors with those of your choosing. For information, see ARCHIVED: How do I set my web browser's default text, link, and background colors?
  • Check your monitor resolution and color depth: Many web pages are coded so that the page or images on the page use a certain number of pixels, and thus will look smaller when more pixels are being used (i.e., at higher resolutions), or larger when fewer pixels are being used (i.e., at lower resolutions). If you're viewing a page that looks correctly sized on one computer but wrong on another, try increasing your screen resolution. If the colors don't look correct, try increasing your color depth.
  • Clear your cache: Cache files are used to temporarily store content from web pages onto your hard drive. If other computers running the same version of browser as yours display certain pages correctly, but your browser doesn't, the cache entry for that page may have been corrupted. You can fix the problem by emptying the disk cache; see How do I clear my web browser's cache, cookies, and history?
  • Search for a copy of the site in a web cache: Even if the site you're trying to visit is no longer on the web, traces of it may remain. Google, in particular, caches many web sites on its own servers. This cache is periodically refreshed, so a site that has been offline for a long time may not be represented, but one that is temporarily down likely will be.
  • View the source: If coding errors or browser incompatibility prevents you from viewing a page, you might be able to access the content by viewing its source. In this mode, there is no formatting and the content is often difficult to read, but the information should be there. For instructions, see ARCHIVED: How can I view the HTML code of web pages?

This is document abhc in the Knowledge Base.
Last modified on 2013-01-03 00:00:00.

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