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How to check if a website is down

It’s happened to all of us at one time or another — you’ve got your caffeine ready, you’re settled into your couch or office chair, and when you go to pull up your favorite website, all you see is Google’s apologetic robot informing you that an error has occurred. Rather than getting frustrated at your electronic devices, it might be worth seeing if the URL you’re trying to reach is functioning as normal or if something has gone awry.

Here’s how to check if a website is down so you can stop worrying that you have a problem with your setup.

Step 1: Open Down Detector

One of the easiest ways to check if a website is down is to use a service like Down Detector. It’s a free website that provides information on outages for online services, gaming networks, ISPs, financial organizations, and websites in real-time. Down Detector accomplishes this through a combination of error reports submitted to their app and website and monitoring Twitter and other social media for the latest info.

Open Down Detector on your preferred browser and enter the URL of the website you’re having trouble reaching, or if it’s a big site, just the name will do.

Image of Down Detector Search Bar
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Step 2: Select the website from the list of options

From the search result page, select the most relevant result to view detailed data on its uptime and current status. Bear in mind, if your website has multiple similar services (in our case, YouTube is made up of the main website, the TV-style service, and YouTube Music) you will need to be specific about the service you want to check the status of.

Image of Down Detector YouTube Search Results
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Step 3: Check over the status information

Review your chosen site’s page to see if there have been any reported issues in the last 24 hours (both nationally and internationally). You’ll also have free access to live outage maps, a list of dates when issues were resolved. If the site is down, it will be obvious and you can rest assured that there isn’t a problem at your end.

If, however, the website is running as intended and you still can’t access it, you may need to adjust your settings, reset your router, and make sure all your cables are connected. If you’re sure you aren’t experiencing local problems, it might be worth reporting the error to Down Detector. It could be you’re just the first to spot the outage.

Image of Down Detector YouTube Problems Page
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

Alternative website outage detection service

There are several other no-cost services that you can use to check if a website is suffering an outage. One popular option is the aptly named Is It Down Right Now?, which also provides live updates on website outages and issues. If you’re just looking for a quick glance that doesn’t involve a detailed search, Is It Down Right Now? provides a running update of the most popular websites and when their info was last updated, as well as an extension that lets you check a website’s status directly via your bookmark menu.

Image of Is It Down Right Now Homepage
Daniel Martin/Screenshot

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Daniel Martin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Daniel Martin is a technology expert, freelance writer, and researcher with more than a decade of experience. After earning a…
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