Browser FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions regarding web browsers and usage.

I love my browser. I would rather fight than switch. Is this OK?

No! Sorry!! As a 21st century citizen, you need to be willing to use different browsers, if one is not working well with certain websites or content. To be tech-savvy, you need to be flexible and try other things (browsers in this case), when something is not working. A smart online user employs different web browsers, period! Besides, depending on your device, certain browsers may not be available.

Remember...before switching browsers, steps that work generally include:

1. Quitting your browser and re-starting it (not just closing the window).

2. If that doesn’t work, try re-starting your computer.

3. If this does not work, it is quite possible that your browser is “remembering” something about the URL that is interrupting you now. So, try emptying your browser’s cache or history. Use your Internet detective skills to search for directions, referencing the browser that you are using, and/or check out these excellent SUNY resources @

What happens when a link doesn’t work?

1: First, check for human error (did you type the URL correctly?) and your Internet connectivity. And read Q1 above. So…

  • Check to see that you are “live” on the Internet; the easiest way to do this is to go to a familiar website that has few down times (e.g., YouTube).

  • Check the URL in the address bar, to ensure that you are going to the correct URL (web address).

  • Did an extra symbol appear or disappear at the front of back end of it when you copied/pasted it into your browser window? Try deleting it.

  • Try refreshing your browser. Wonder what a REFRESH link is? If you need help, type into your favorite search engine keywords refresh *(replace * with the name of your browser). Near the top of your search results, you will be sure to get guidance on doing refreshing. Then…

    • If that does not work, please quit your browser and start over.

    • If the above steps do not work, shut down your computer and start it again.

2: Second, check to see if you can open the same URL in another browser. If you cannot see the website in any browser, the website may be temporarily down OR you are experiencing blocking by your own browser. Keep reading below and trying, as it is rare for our course websites to actually be “down”…

3: Third, if you are getting a “page not found” type of message, try the following:

  • Check to ensure that your website URL gets you to where you need to be on the website. To do this, try chunk the URL back a little (going back and deleting backwards, to each slash (/) in the URL, to see if part of the URL will work. For example, if doesn't work, chunk it back to, to see if it will work. Then use the site’s navigation and search functions, to locate the original content for which you were searching.

  • Sometimes, your browser can “see” the site, but “chunking” does not work and you cannot otherwise find the part of the site that you want to view. This may be because the site has been re-designed, or perhaps that content may have even been deleted! Isn’t it good that the Internet Archive or Wayback Machine exists? Click to, then use the search window, pasting your URL into the window. Follow the advice on the site, to locate the most recent view of that archived page, or follow these directions at WikiHow.

4: With recent (and ongoing) changes in web browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome), you may get a message that content is being blocked when you go to it. Worse, your browser may block content it sees as "mixed content" and not really tell you. If you are having trouble viewing something, try allowing mixed or unsafe content. Doing this varies by browser, so please follow the directions for the browser that you are using, following the links below (or alternatives that you find). NOTE:

5: If you follow the directions above - but you still have trouble seeing the content - try the following. Please note, though, that your actual screen view may differ from the screenshots in this document. “Things happen” daily in the world of web browsers, thus what you see may differ from the images in this doc.

For Internet Explorer: I am giving you no guidance on Internet Explorer (other than the link above) are on your own with it, if you want to use it. It has many conflicts with mixed media, course websites, etc., and I encourage you to use a different browser for our course (whether or not you are using it on campus or on your own device).

For Safari: Safari help to unblock pop-ups.

For Firefox:

1. Mozilla help; start here.

2. Sometimes, you may need to go “deeper” into your browser settings, to tell your browser to allow mixed content on a particular site. I have personally experienced this recently on some course sites that use SCORM packages, for example. To do this:

a. Try clicking on a little shield to the right of the URL in your browser window. Then click to allow mixed content, in the window that opens. VIsit a brief tutorial on this process here: (Note that the information is relevant to any website that you may be trying to access with Firefox.)

b. If you do not see a shield in your browser window, try clicking on the little icon to the left of your URL in the browser window. Pull it down, to show the options for viewing this site. Then click the Permissions to Allow Pop-up Windows:
icon to the left of your URL

c. OR click to your Firefox Preferences, then choose Content. Either:
Firefox Preferences

  • Unclick the Block Pop-up Windows option:

Block Pop-up

  • OR - from the Content area - click EXCEPTIONS, then add the URL of the site from which you want to turn off pop-ups to the ADDRESS OF WEBSITE area. (See image to the right.)

For Chrome:

1. Chrome help; start here.

2. Try clicking on the little icon to the left of your URL in the browser window. Pull it down, to show the Permissions for viewing this site. Skim down, to locate the Popups option. Then click to “Always allow on this site.” (See images below. The image to the left shows what the permissions will look like before you re-set them. The image to the right shows which item to choose from the pull-down menu.)
Always allow option   Popups status

3. Or, as needed, use the more detailed directions to change your Chrome settings here.

I am trying to copy from a GoogleDoc that has been set to allow me to view only...and I cannot copy things from it. What should I do?

Google help; Google ...

  • Tells us that - due to security protections in browsers other than Chrome - right clicking does not work, but using the two keys Control + C (or on a Mac, Command + C) should work. (Do not use the + key!)

  • Gives advice about using a Docs tool called Web Clipper; try it...I think it may be a good workaround, and help with efficiency. This help doc shows where it is located and discusses its use.

Also, this older USA Today article introduces issues with Firefox and other browsers (other than Chrome):

  • This article reminds us that Chrome is a Google product, and that is why it works so efficiently with Google apps. My advice: Download Chrome and use it, at least when you run into obstacles with another browser. Remember that you do NOT need to sign into Chrome or even create a Chrome account, in order to use it.

  • It also gives the rationale behind some of the related security measures inherent in browsers today.

Bottom line:

1. You need to mouse over and select the thing(s) that you want to copy.

2. Use Control-C (not right click).

3. Look up “help” for Firefox (or your browser), if you cannot try more than one browser (especially Chrome).

4. Note that none of this references specific browser functions inherent to using a mobile device.

I think it may just be easier to go into my browser and tell it to “go for it” and I will take a chance about getting malware or a virus.

JUST SAY NO! This is not the strategy that you want to use. Today’s browsers are more than search tools...they are working hard to keep your system protected (of course, while they track your every move!). with your browser, use its protections, and get 21st c. smart by doing so!


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed by K. Gradel under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Note that screenshots have been made by K. Gradel from the noted websites.

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