Is It Me or the ISP?


This morning I had the chance to play my favorite game, “Is it just me, or is Site X down?” Turns out it was just me, or rather, my ISP, since a couple of fellow Time Warner Internet customers I called were experiencing difficulties as well. Plus, once I moved onto an AT&T DSL network, Google, Yahoo and WordPress all loaded just fine.

It’s not that they weren’t loading at all on the Time Warner network, it’s that they were loading intermittently. As someone who uses a lot of web applications, this isn’t a good thing. I have very little recourse when this happens, other than turning off my modem, router and computer and rebooting.

I thought cleaning out my cache would help, so I did that. I ran a traceroute program to see if I could spot any troubles, but with limited experience at detecting them, I didn’t find anything noteworthy. I tried to check out Down for Everyone or Just me?, but couldn’t get there. I called Time Warner for help and was told to reboot. So I did. And it worked. And then, just as suddenly (you know, right after I got off the phone) it stopped working.

So here I am in the conference room of my husband’s company, using their DSL access to blog. Any suggestions, thoughts or magic spells that might help me figure out how to fix my home network would be greatly appreciated. At this point I’m just hoping that in a few hours it will somehow fix itself. Because on the Internet, that actually happens.

Photo courtesy of Tailored Consulting


Reed Bailey

Has anyone discovered more? I have two computers and have this ongoing battle with “Problem loading page” when website is active and has recent cached Google page. Can get Google cache and can not get actual web site. Then 10 minutes later or next day and voila the page is available from web site. (Computers = 1 Ubuntu, 1 Win NT)

Curious is the few major web sites I do directly contact — ones that sell stuff — tell me it me. And try to tell me it is all the usual browser stuff.

Intuitively, this is too widespread and pervasive to be a few of us. We are just ones that notice.

Is this possibly related to Apache server rootkit issues or to recent OpenSSl debacle or something else? (rootkit = for many months, rootkits have been on ISP servers and user private stuff has been stolen) (SSL = bad certificate keys, Verisign etc..)

Logical Extremes

DNS is a reasonable suspect and OpenDNS is a very solid alternate DNS service as Brian Hart points out.

Also, sometimes with intermittent connectivity issues, your local DNS cache can get out of whack. If you’re on a Mac, you can clear it with:

dscacheutil -flushcache

Stacey Higginbotham

Thanks for all the good advice so far. Y’all were much more pleasant and helpful than Road Runner support. I’m going to try the OpenDNS option and see where that gets me.


I witnessed/ing same problems from India and locked in a battle with my ISP.

Cotton Rohrscheib

Actually I think that there some sort of global issue going on today w/ the web in general. I also couldn’t access some websites and could others, I can’t put my finger on what exactly the issue was but I know of two other people in different locations w/ different isp’s that were experiencing the same issue. I have been researching online and haven’t been able to locate what the issue was yet…

Brian Hart

I used to have problems like this fairly often when I was pointing to Comcast DNS servers. Not saying your problem is necessarily DNS-related, but it’s possible. Try pointing your router to OpenDNS ( & for DNS, then release/renew DHCP on your laptop (or reboot).

Spend a few minutes learning nslookup, ping, and telnet basics to help troubleshoot for next time, or email me and I can provide a primer.

Tim Panton

It may be a routing problem where the routing between the ISPs drops into a hole until someone tweaks a table somewhere.

We have a cheap server in a hosting center. One of it’s jobs is to run as a (squid) proxy. Whenever we have
a problem getting to some sites, I change my config from browsing directly to browsing via the proxy.
It is slower, but often gets me out of a problem.


I often find that refreshing my WAN address is effective – and I also noticed then when I do this, I often land in a new subnet from Comcast.

When I want a new IP, I open my router interface,

clone (or unclone) the mac adress of the router to change it,

powerdown the cable modem,

powerdown the router,

powerup the router

powerup the cable modem and enjoy my fresh IP/subnet.


Did you try resetting your router, too? Sometimes, that does it for me. But generally, I’d agree with Ronald on the DNS issue.


I have been using our real-time twitter search to see if others are having problems with a site or service. Helped me NOT trouble shoot my mail when Google’s IMAP support stopped last week. Let me know if it helps others:


So Google didn’t pay their dues to Time Warner …again :-)
On a serious note, did you check DNS. My ISP, Comcast, doesn’t have a clue how to run a DNS service, so I just setup one for my home network and perceived uptime has gone up dramatically. I mean you don’t care if ip can not be routed or a domain name can not be resolved, for most people the result is the same.
Booting should not resolve it, except you got a new DNS server assigned via DHCP before it crashed since everybody else got it assigned too.
It’s hard to know without poking around what Time Warner does,and then there is always the little rst flag my ISP likes so much.


I’m in the lucky (slighlty expensive) position of having two phone lines coming into my house.
The advantage is that I can have two different ISPs; one on each line.
Internal networking is a bit more complex but it’s great when you have issues on one line, just being able to switch over to the other to check.
nothing beats being able to raise a web ticket with your ISP to say your DSL connection is down !

Greg Glockner

Three words: Dual WAN Router. I think that anyone who is a full-time telecommuter should invest in both DSL and Cable and get a Dual WAN router. You’ll get incredibly fast speeds for regular uses, and nearly 100% uptime. You won’t get 100% uptime from any residential broadband service.


There is too much “noise” in your coaxial line. Tell Time Warner to get a tech out to your house and install a different filter where the cable signal splits from the internet signal. Or climb the pole out back and do something up there too. While you are at it, tell them to put the Big Ten Network in their digital cable package. You live in an older neighborhood? Homes 30 – 40 years old?

Good luck.

Comments are closed.