Monday, February 16, 2009

Solving Problems

The Help page sported a special, new announcement earlier this month:

If you encounter an error page when trying to access part of the site, please try a "hard refresh." Go to and when you get the error page either press the Ctrl and F5 buttons on your keyboard at the same time, or hold down the Ctrl button and click the refresh button on your internet browser.

If you continue to experience errors after that, please try clearing your internet cache and then try accessing again.

This isn't really new news. I've said it before. And it's the first thing developers do when unexpected things start happening on the website, or the private, staging copies of the website developers use internally.

It's also not necessarily complete news. If Control-Refresh (Ctrl-F5) doesn't work, the next step you should try is exiting your browser, restarting it and then retrying what you were doing. And if you are a fan of multiple-windows, be certain to close all browser windows before restarting your browser.

It's also not completely correct news. Check the URL in the address bar. If the URL indicates you are looking at an error page, then it doesn't matter how many times you refresh the page, you're still going to get the error page. However, if the URL is normal, then refreshing the page will help. For example,

  • Here's an example where no amount of refreshes will help. Go to . The address displayed by the browser changes to Since it says "error" in the address, refresh will never help. Try hitting the back button and then Control-Refresh (Ctrl-F5).
    Refresh won't work if 'error' is present in the URL
  • Here's an example where refresh could work. Say you were to try to view my cousin Imogene's 1930 census record. If you received an error like the one shown in the illustration below, then control-refreshing might work. Notice the address is entirely normal. OK, I understand you may not have enough experience looking at URLs to know if it looks normal. But you can see that the word "error" is not part of it.

1 comment:

  1. according to ancestry its worth 658 million


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