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Online tools to troubleshoot hosting website at home

Updated on February 24, 2016

Ping - Check if your website is online

Ping works by sending Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) request to test if a particular host is reachable. If you cannot reach your website in the browser, you might want to ping your domain name yourwebsite.com to see if it is really responsive or not. Other than that, it is also useful to check the response time of your website.

If you are hosting your own website at home like me, you should set up your router to respond to ICMP packets since by default routers are set to ban ICMP requests. This setting can usually be found in 'Security' section.

I included here a few sites where you can do ping test. Always make sure that you use several of them instead of using only ping function from your computer. Ping.eu, Ping test, Site24x7 .

Port check - check if you can host your website on port 80

Port check is useful if you want to verify that you can run your website on default port 80. Most ISPs blocks port 80 because they do not want you to be hosting a website on your network. After you have set up a website on your computer or server at home, you can set up a port forwarding rule for port 80 so that traffic coming to port 80 of your network can be forwarded to the internal IP address of your computer.

After the port forwarding rule has been set up, you may find that you are unable to reach your website. Then it is highly possible that they are blocking port 80. Use this port check tool to see if port 80 can be reached. If not, it's time to contact your ISP! This tool can also be useful if you can configuring remote access or remote viewing as they also involve opening ports in the firewall or router.

Fortunately, my port 80 is OPEN!
Fortunately, my port 80 is OPEN!

DNS lookup - look up DNS record for your domain name

I host my own website and manage my own domain name. A domain name maps to an IP address, which is the domain name's A record. Apart from A record, there is also MX record which specifies a mail server responsible for accepting email messages on behalf of your domain name, TXT record that hosts all TXT information about the domain name etc. After you set up everything, you may want to verify that they did indeed go into effect. You need DNS lookup tool for that. Here I am recommending MX Toolbox, Network-tools, DNS lookup tool. I always use all of them to ensure accuracy.

I will be adding more tools to the list. Hope these 3 can already help you make some progress. I know they did for me!

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