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Microsoft Windows OS (XP/NT/Vista/Windows 7/8/9/10) Forum

Access local server when disconnected from internet

 6:10 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

So lately, I've been having this problem, first in IE and now in FF too.

When i don't have a connection and am working offline on my local machine, I want to access my testbed server (i.e. the one that is running on my very laptop, the one that runs on localhost, but is usually a virtual host with an address like example.loc for "local" or example.com if I really want an exact mirror of the live site).

Everything is mirrored locally, so change one line in the hosts file and example.com now runs on my local server. Great.

However, if I am not actually connected to the internet, it will tell me essentially that I can't use [anything...] (except perhaps localhost) because I'm not connected.

Don't frickin tell me I'm not connected - that server is right on my computer. But I have to find a wifi hotspot (last night) or dial up (this morning) just to be allowed to visit my local server.

Is there any way to get Windows to stop blocking me and just try to reach the server and then give me a "unable to reach server" message when the connection fails?




 6:14 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

<snip: next time read the post, jake>

Can you get to it by IP? ie []

Also, what are you running in terms of security software? Not only do some packages block services from running, they also hijack outgoing DNS requests.


 6:26 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Have you tried closing ALL your browser windows and trying again?

For some reason, some computers in our office work fine after changing the hosts file, whereas others still try to use the old hosts file entry unless all the browser windows are closed and re-opened.


 7:24 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

In your web browser you need to toggle the setting:
File > Work Offline

It's likely "checked" on. I'm not certain which utility triggers that but it happens to me when I disconnect from the network.


 9:57 pm on Mar 19, 2009 (gmt 0)

Thanks guys. I'm looking for things to check and those are some good ideas.

Jake - good suggestions both. I'll have to try if via IP and see what happens. That might reopen the connection. Next time it happens, I'll have to ping the IPs from the cmd line and see what happens.

I'm also running Symantec Endpoint Protection. I'll try killing that.

LIA - sometimes that helps, sometimes it doesn't. Aggravating solution though if I have eight tabs open. Sometimes switching browsers works. I should point out, this is NOT happening right after changing the hosts file. It will go along fine for a couple of hours and then suddenly, it won't connect. Reboot and it might be good for a few hours, might not.

Coop - Oh, I've tried. That was my first guess of course, but this has been going on for a while and I have yet to fix it like that. It is usually not toggled to Work Offline on, and toggling it back and forth has no effect. I've actually given up looking, but I guess I should check it in case this time it's messed up. Anyway, you said it happens to you when you disconnect from the network. Like two hours later? After surfing on your local server for a couple of hours? That's the weird thing that happens to me.

I was hoping of something along those lines, though, of a setting that would just tell Windows to simply not check whether or not I've got a valid connection.... Can't find it.


 1:46 pm on Mar 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

Like two hours later? After surfing on your local server for a couple of hours?

No. Immediately. And I realize now after this discussion that I never took the time to actually figure out the cause. I was just assuming the browser noticed a change in the IP stack or something.


 3:48 pm on Mar 20, 2009 (gmt 0)

>> No. Immediately.

That's what usually happens to me with the work online/offline thing. In my case, it hums along for hours, maybe days. Then it stops. Then I close the browser and reopen and sometimes it works, sometimes it works for three pages, sometimes it fails on the first request. A little aggravating.

What is it that Mr Weasley says in Harry Potter: "Never trust something that thinks unless you can see where it keeps its brain."

Sort of a variation on that - I wish I could easily have a list of exceptions where I could tell the computer not to think for me. Just sometimes.

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