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Ubuntu can ping websites, but can’t browse in Firefox

I had a problem on Ubuntu where I was able to ping websites, but couldn’t browse them through FireFox or get updates via the Update Manager.

I actually had a slew of problems with my home installation of Ubuntu this weekend, and it was a combination of software and hardware I reckon.

After I successfully installed Ubuntu Fiesty (7.10) at work, I got home Wednesday afternoon to my Ubuntu Gutsy (7.06 I think) installation and noticed the differences. For the sake of having both work and home installations the same, I wanted to upgrade my home version.

And this is where my problems started.

First it’s important to note that my CPU fan on my 4 year old computer is not as reliable as it should be, and frequently stalls. If I don’t realise it stalled, the CPU heats up (and quickly, I am in hot and humid Borneo after all) and the system then resets (multiple times if I don’t get the fan kick-started again soon).

With that potential glitch not in the back of my mind, I started the over 500MiB large upgrade (estimated time about 2 hours) of Ubuntu Gutsy to Ubuntu Fiesty and went Pub Quizzing for the night.

Upon my return, the upgrade was apparently complete, the system had restarted and the log-in screen was awaiting my arrival. I promptly logged in for some Ubuntu-bashing, but beyond the prompt all that awaited me was a grayish-greenish screen, which didn’t do anything nor offered options of any kind.

I thought perhaps it was a glitch, and restarted the system, but the same thing happened. At this point I noticed my CPU fan spinning at an exceptionally slow rate, and figured that it must have stalled during the update, overheated the CPU triggering a restart in the middle of the upgrade, which corrupted it (it did warn me that once the update was started, it couldn’t be stopped).

It was too late at night to worry about it. The next morning I popped into work and picked up the Live CD featuring Ubuntu Fiesty (7.10) that I downloaded earlier in the week and took it home to install from scratch. Luckily I had created nothing so far in Ubuntu, so I just re-formatted the partitions and reinstalled Ubunut – no sweat.

Everything went well with the installation, but when I launched Firefox I realised I had no Internet access. I fiddled with it for a bit and eventually pinged google.com, which gave me a positive result and showed that I did in fact have Internet access, but I couldn’t get to websites through my browser.

I tried running Update Manager, thinking that perhaps some or other component didn’t install, but that didn’t work either. I rebooted into XP and went in search of answers. After a while I found this solution in simple to understand instructions.

Apparently it’s a combination of cheap hardware and ipv6, which is a new or updated protocol being implemented on the web. The problem is also perhaps not so much cheap hardware, as it is hardware that is designed for Windows in mind. I use an Aztech 4 Port Router/ADSL modem and had this problem with Ubuntu Fiesty (7.10).

After I followed these instructions, my problems were solved and I could not only ping websites and surf to them in Firefox, but my Update Manager also worked once again.

So just to reiterate, if you can ping websites from Ubuntu, but you can’t reach them through Firefox or can’t reach http-related functions, then visit this thread on the Ubuntu Forum for your salvation.

8 Comments

  • Jonny

    16 July 2008 at 06:28

    Hullo, I had this problem about a year (back then it seemed nobody else was having any similair problems) ago maybe more which prevented me from using Ubuntu so I just had to stick to my old Debian install. At least I know what I'll be doing tonight when I get home. Thanks.

  • 1Earth

    16 July 2008 at 07:12

    Hey Jonny, I wrote this when I was still on Ubuntu Fiesty 7.10. I upgraded to Ubuntu Hardy 8.04 and I didn't have this problem on there. So make sure you use the latest Ubuntu and you might find many of the previous problems solved.

  • Jonny

    16 July 2008 at 07:24

    Hey, thanks replying. I'm downloading the latest Gutsy dist as I type. I'm going to try and just upgrade from Fiesty 7.10. It's still on my laptop as a second OS exactly as I left it a year ago. If it still doesn't work then I'll just try the new disc and reinstall the lot.

  • 1Earth

    17 July 2008 at 18:19

    Hey Jonny, how'd it go? Are you in Ubuntu heaven?

    I got my graphic and web editing tools from Windows working flawlessly on Wine.

    The only time I will now have to use Windows is when I edit the odd home movie (still no great solution for that on Linux as far as I know).

    Rock on Ubuntu!

  • Jonny

    18 July 2008 at 01:53

    Hey. Well first of all I tried that fix you suggested and it worked brilliantly, then I just upgraded to Gutsy since I had no reason not to. And I have to say it's a big difference compared to Fiesty. I had lots of problems previously with Fiesty and my X11 config getting it to work on my LCD TV but Gutsy just work right out of the box. I'm in total Ubuntu heaven – going to turn my spare machine into a Ubuntu media center. I use linux at home and only use Windows in work because everybody else does and it makes life simpler. I like Windows but not anywhere near as much as Linux.

  • Sagar Bhate

    31 August 2009 at 05:23

    I am very new to linux, in fact am trying it out as a free alternative to windows which is getting more and more expensive day by day.

    I was having the same problem with ubuntu. i.e. i am able to ping my isp's dns servers, connect to remote desktop but was unable to brows the internet using firefox.

    Thanks to your solution, i am now able to browse…

  • Arvind Raman

    1 February 2010 at 03:41

    Thanks a for the solution :). I am using UNR (Ubuntu Netbook Remix) version 2.6.31-16-generic on my Toshiba Nb205 netbook.

    It seemed very weird that I could ping website but couldn't browse them. What made it even more weird was the fact that I was able to browse the web back at home but was unable to do so whenever I came over to my in-laws place. I was therefore not suspecting the Linux installation or the inbuilt wi-fi.

    After a few unsuccessful attempts came upon this article and voila it worked.

    Best Regards

    – Arvind

  • ck2r2

    6 August 2010 at 03:38

    Check firefox proxy settings

    Edit -> Preferences -> Advanced ->Network ->Settings

    choose No Proxy

    this worked for me

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