ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED? Don’t Panic! A Simple Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Back Online

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is an error message that can appear in the Chrome browser indicating that the connection request to a website or server was refused.

When you attempt to access a website or web page in Chrome and are met with the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, it means the server you were trying to connect to actively rejected the connection request from your browser.

The following issues most commonly cause this error:

  • Server problems – The website’s server could be down, overloaded, or have some configuration issue blocking requests. This causes the server to refuse connections.
  • Firewall blocking – The website’s firewall security settings could block connections from your location or IP address. This results in refused connections.
  • Local network problems – Your own local network connection, router, or ISP could have connectivity issues preventing your computer from making outbound requests.
  • Browser cache and cookies – Corrupted browser cache or cookies related to the site can sometimes trigger connection refused errors.
  • ISP blocking – In rare cases, your internet service provider may be blocking the website domain and causing requests to be refused.
  • Government censorship – If accessing the website from certain regions, government censorship could be blocking access at the network level.

The important takeaway is that ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors imply your browser’s request was actively rejected, not just a random connection failure. The error specifically indicates the server refused to complete the handshake required to transfer information.

When Does This Error Occur?

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error can occur at various times when trying to access the internet or use browser functions that require a network connection.

Some examples of when you may encounter this error include:

  • When trying to load or open a website in your browser. This is one of the most common times that ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED appears. As soon as you enter a URL or click a link, the browser tries to establish a connection to that website’s server. If that connection is refused for some reason, this error displays.
  • While browsing the web normally. Even if a website loaded initially, you may suddenly get this error when trying to click links or navigate to new pages on that site. This indicates the connection was working before but then was refused on subsequent requests.
  • When submitting forms or uploading files. Online forms require a connection to send data to the server, so they may trigger the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error upon submission. The same goes for uploading or attaching files to websites.
  • During general internet use. Since many apps and programs rely on internet access to refresh data and pull down updates, you could see this error when trying to use them if the connection is disrupted. Some examples are email clients, social media apps, chat/messaging apps, streaming apps, games, and more.
  • When browser tries periodic or background connections. Modern browsers make many connections “under the hood” to prefetch pages, check for new versions, sync data, etc. Problems with these background connections can also lead to ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors surfacing during normal browsing.

So in summary, anytime Chrome needs to communicate with a remote server and that server refuses or blocks the connection, you’ll get the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED message. It could happen sporadically or persistently until the underlying issue is resolved.

Diagnosing the Root Cause

Diagnosing the root cause of the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is an important first troubleshooting step before trying to fix it. This can help you narrow down whether the issue is on your end with the browser, network, or device versus a problem on the server-side causing the error.

Some things to try to diagnose the cause:

  • Check the website status – Search online to see if the site is down or having reported issues. Check their official social media and status pages for outage alerts. If it seems to be an ongoing server problem, you’ll have to wait it out.
  • Test your network connection – Try loading other websites not affected by the error. If other sites work fine, it points to an issue with the specific site rather than your general internet connection.
  • Compare browsers and devices – Try loading the site in different browsers like Firefox, Safari or Edge and see if the error persists. Also test on other devices like mobile, tablets, or computers on the same network. If the error only appears in Chrome on your machine, it likely indicates a browser problem versus network.
  • Compare WiFi vs mobile data – Connect your phone or another device to mobile data instead of WiFi and see if you can load the site. If it works fine over mobile data but not WiFi, there may be an issue with your router configuration or ISP causing the refused connection.
  • Check other devices on the network – Have someone else try accessing the site on your same local network. If it fails for them too, it points to a broader network issue vs something specific to your device.

These basic comparison tests can isolate whether the issue stems from the website itself, your local network and ISP, your browser, or your device. That will direct your troubleshooting steps.

Browser and Network Fixes

Many times the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error can be resolved by troubleshooting your browser’s cache, cookies, and DNS settings or restarting your local network equipment. Here are some steps to try:

Clear Browser Cache and Cookies

Over time, corrupted temporary browser files can cause issues loading websites and other internet connectivity problems. Clearing your browser’s cache and cookies can eliminate these stale files.

  • Chrome: Go to Settings > Privacy and Security > Clear Browsing Data. Select “Cached images and files” and “Cookies and other site data”. Set the time range to “All time”. Click Clear Data.
  • Firefox: Go to History > Clear Recent History. Select “Cache” and “Cookies”. Set Time range to “Everything”. Click Clear Now.
  • Safari: Go to Safari > Clear History > Clear. Select “Cached files and images” and “Cookies and other website data”. Choose time range “All history”. Click Clear History.

Restart Your Router and Modem

Sometimes router or modem glitches can interfere with establishing proper internet connections. Restarting them flushes the DNS cache and resets your network devices.

1. Locate the restart button on your router/modem and press to restart it.
2. Wait about 30 seconds for the router to finish the reboot process.
3. Restart your computer and other connected devices to reconnect.

This often resolves temporary network issues causing connection timeouts and refused errors.

Flush Your DNS Cache

The DNS cache stores location mappings used to route browsers to the correct website IP addresses. Flushing it clears out invalid entries that may be causing ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors.

On Windows:

1. Open Command Prompt as admin.
2. Type `ipconfig /flushdns` and hit Enter.

On Mac:

1. Open Terminal
2. Type `sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder` and hit Enter.

After flushing DNS, try loading the problematic website again in your browser. This simple fix helps resolve connection issues surprisingly often.

ISP and Internet Fixes

If you’ve tried the browser and network troubleshooting steps but are still seeing the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, the issue may be on your Internet Service Provider’s end. Here are some steps to try:

Renew Your IP Address and Flush DNS

Most home internet connections get assigned a dynamic IP address from your ISP. Renewing this IP address can help resolve connection issues.

On Windows:

1. Open Command Prompt
2. Type `ipconfig /release` and press Enter (this releases your current IP address)
3. Type `ipconfig /renew` and press Enter (this renews the IP and grabs a new one)
4. Type `ipconfig /flushdns` and press Enter (this flushes the DNS resolver cache)

On Mac:

1. Go to System Preferences > Network
2. Select your connection type (Wi-Fi, Ethernet, etc) and click the Advanced button
3. Go to the TCP/IP tab and click Renew DHCP Lease
4. Click OK and restart your browser

This will renew your IP address from your ISP’s server and clear out any corrupt DNS data that could be causing connection issues.

Flush Socket Connections

If you are able to access some sites but not others, flushing your socket connections may help:

On Windows:

1. Open Command Prompt
2. Type `netsh int ip reset c:\resetlog.txt` and press Enter

On Mac:

1. Open Terminal
2. Type `sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder` and press Enter

This resets all active internet connections and clears any stuck sockets that may be causing selective connectivity issues.

Contact Your ISP

If you still see the error after trying the above steps, contact your Internet Service Provider’s customer support. There could be an outage or network issue on their end blocking access. Provide them with the sites you are unable to access and any error messages. They can look into it and resolve any problems from their side.

Having your ISP reset your connection or noticing the issue impacts multiple sites points to a problem with the broader network rather than just something on your computer. Your ISP should be able to help identify and correct the issue.

Dealing with Server Issues Causing ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

If troubleshooting on your end doesn’t resolve the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, it’s likely caused by an issue on the server side. Here are some ways to deal with website or server problems leading to this error:

– Check the website’s official status page or Twitter feed to see if they have posted about any downtime or known issues. Many major sites like Facebook and Reddit have public status pages acknowledging outages.

– Contact the website owner, admin, or support team directly to ask about any server outages. Most sites will have contact information in the site footer or on an About page.

– Use a VPN or proxy service to route your traffic through a different server, which can bypass connection issues stemming from your ISP or geographic location. Free browser extensions like Hola VPN or paid services like ExpressVPN allow you to mask your IP address and circumvent network blocks.

– If the site was working previously, just remain patient and wait for the issues to be resolved. If it’s a widespread outage, the site owners are likely working diligently to restore service. Refrain from repeatedly refreshing the page, which could overwhelm the server further. Check the site’s social media pages for updates on restoration progress.

– For sites you access frequently, consider using a site downtime monitoring tool like [Downdetector]( to get alerts about any downtime and avoid wasted clicks during an outage. The tool tracks status based on user reports and displays historical uptime/downtime patterns.

While frustrating, ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors due to server issues are usually temporary glitches that clear up relatively quickly as problems get resolved behind the scenes. Using proxies, monitoring tools, and status pages can help you deal with and navigate around them.

Waiting for Issues to Resolve

Sometimes the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is caused by an issue on the server-side that you cannot resolve on your end. The website you are trying to access may be down temporarily for maintenance or experiencing a more serious technical problem.

In these cases, the only thing you can do is wait patiently for the website owners to fix the issue. Monitoring sites like Downdetector can give you an idea of when a site is having widespread problems. You can also check sites like IsItDownRightNow to confirm issues accessing a specific site.

Many larger sites will post updates on their official Twitter or Facebook pages when experiencing downtime. Check these to get an ETA for when service will be restored. Sometimes server issues can take minutes, hours, or even days to fully resolve.

As frustrating as it is, repeatedly trying to access the site will not speed up the process. The best approach is to be patient and periodically test the site to see if the error has been fixed. Once the underlying problem has been taken care of by the site’s technical team, the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error should go away on its own.

Advanced Troubleshooting

If the basic troubleshooting steps don’t resolve the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, you may need to try some more advanced techniques.

Disable Firewalls and Security Software

One potential culprit could be firewalls or security software blocking the connection. Try temporarily disabling any antivirus, firewalls, VPNs, browser extensions, or other security software and see if that allows the site to load properly. You can enable them again after testing.

  • In Windows, disable the Windows Firewall temporarily.
  • For antivirus software like Avast, Norton, etc. disable the firewall and real-time scanning features.
  • In Chrome, disable any extensions that could be interfering with connections.
  • If using a VPN, disable it and test with your regular internet connection.

Once you’ve disabled these, refresh the page to see if the error goes away. If the site loads, it indicates your security software was blocking access. You can then look into adjusting the settings to prevent blocking that website from functioning properly.

Reset Network Connection

Resetting your network connection essentially forces your device to get a fresh start with a new IP address and clears any stuck connections.

To reset on Windows:

– Open Command Prompt
– Type `ipconfig /release` and press enter
– Then type `ipconfig /renew`

For Mac:

– Open System Preferences > Network
– Select the connection type (e.g. Wi-Fi, Ethernet)
– Click the gear icon and choose “Renew DHCP Lease”

This renewal process often resolves fluky network issues, including ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors.

Preventing Future Errors

Here are some tips to help prevent ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED errors in the future:

Keep Your Browser and Network Up-to-Date

Make sure you are running the latest version of your browser and that it is updated automatically. Older browser versions are more prone to problems and bugs that can interfere with connecting to websites.

Also keep your network drivers, firewall software, security suite, and router firmware up-to-date. Out-of-date network components can sometimes trigger connection issues.

Manage Your Browser Cache and Cookies

Too many cached files and cookies can slow down your browser and cause problems with site connections. Try clearing your cache and cookie settings occasionally to free up browser resources.

You can also disable cache temporarily as a troubleshooting step if you suspect the cached site files are outdated or corrupt. Manage your cookies settings and clear cookies for sites giving you connection issues.

Use Site Monitoring Tools

There are various site monitoring tools and services you can use to check the status of websites and be alerted when they go down. This lets you distinguish between site outages versus problems on your end.

Being aware of any downtime or server issues can prevent you from wasting time troubleshooting on your side when the problem is not with your connection.

When to Contact Support

If the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error persists after trying all of the troubleshooting steps outlined above, it’s time to contact your ISP or other relevant technical support for further assistance. Here are some good times to reach out:

  • If you have tried everything on your local network and devices but the error still appears consistently across browsers. This indicates an issue between your network and remote servers that your ISP would need to investigate.
  • If the error only occurs when trying to access a specific site or server. The owner or admin of that domain is responsible for any server-side problems blocking connections. Check their official status pages for known outages. If the issue persists, reach out to their support team to report the problem.
  • If you suspect the error is due to nationwide censorship or your ISP blocking access to certain sites or IP addresses. Your ISP can look into whether they are blocking the connection and make exceptions if needed.
  • If the error started after changing ISPs or network environments. Your new ISP may need to adjust settings or review your subscription to ensure your network is properly configured.
  • If you receive the error when trying to access your own website or server. Your hosting provider can help identify and resolve any firewall or server configuration issues.
  • Reaching out for assistance is especially important if you rely on access to a site or server for work. Technical experts should be able to pinpoint why the connection is being refused in cases where you’ve exhausted your own troubleshooting options.