The Dreaded WordPress Connection and Data Not Received Errors: How to Fix Them

If you’re one of many people who have experienced intermittent outages of your WordPress site, this article is for you.

It might seem hopeless right now, but if you’ve experienced any one of these errors, there is a solution:

  • “Data not received” in the Google Chrome browser
  • “Connection error” in the FireFox and Internet Explorer browsers

You’ve checked your internet connection and everything works; you’re able to access other major website such as Google, and Twitter; you’ve double checked with your hosting company, and you haven’t exceeded your storage, memory, or bandwidth, but you’re still noticing these errors.

If this sounds all too familiar, here are the steps to determine what the issue is, followed by the necessary troubleshooting, and how to fix it.

Connection error
Stop connection errors and data not received messages in their tracks.

When Your Site is Down, it Says a Lot About You

Okay, you caught me! Your site’s outages won’t say anything about you, but they sure say a ton about the probable cause.

Here are a few things to consider before going ahead and troubleshooting the issue.

What Kind of Hosting are You Using?

If your site is housed using shared or VPS (Virtual Private Server) hosting, and you experience short bursts of intermittent outages, then the likely cause could be that the server you are on is overloaded. This can especially be an issue if your website is awesome and has more than a few plugins and pages. It might be time to consider upgrading or switching hosting companies.

In either case, it’s a good idea to call your iInternet service provider and ask them to white list your hosting IP address. While you’re on a roll, call your hosting company and ask them to do the same for your external IP address, given to you by your ISP. This isn’t likely the issue and, in my experience, you may be faced with both companies letting you know that they do not block any IP address; however, it will help you eliminate this as the possible cause of the error messages.

If you’re using dedicated hosting, then your issue is likely not with your server, given that you have not exceeded your allotted limits. It’s time to go ahead and start troubleshooting.

Let’s Start Troubleshooting

For Windows

Fire up the command prompt:

  1. Press the Windows key and “R” at the same time.
  2. Type “cmd” into the box, and click “OK”.

Here’s the list of steps you want to take after the command prompt has opened:

  1. Type “ipconfig /all” (without the quotation marks) and press enter.
  2. When that’s complete and the command line comes back up, type in “ping google.com”, then press enter.
  3. When completed, follow it up with your domain that has the issues by typing “ping example.com” (type in your domain in place of the example, of course), then press enter.
  4. Right click inside the window and click “Select all.”
  5. Press “Ctrl” and “C” to copy the information.
  6. Paste this in a word processor.
The Windows command prompt after the ipconfig /all prompt
This is what the Windows command prompt window will look like after running the “ipconfig /all” command. Keep in mind, yours will not look exactly the same, but very similar.

For Mac OS X

Fire up a new Terminal window. Here’s the list of steps you want to take after the command prompt has opened:

  1. Type “ifconfig -a” (without the quotation marks) and press return.
  2. When that’s complete and the command line comes back up, type in “ping google.com”, then press return.
  3. After about 15 seconds, stop the ping by pressing Ctrl and “C.”
  4. When completed, follow it up with your domain that has the issues by typing “ping example.com” (type in your domain in place of the example, of course), then press return.
  5. After about 15 seconds, stop the ping by pressing Ctrl and “C.”
  6. Select all the information by pressing , shift, and the up arrow.
  7. Copy everything by pressing  and “C.”
  8. Paste this into a word processor.
The ifconfig -a in terminal, on a mac OS
This is an example of what the “ifconfig -a” command generally renders in terminal on a mac OS. All that’s left is to ping google.com and your website.

You’re Almost Done! The Final Steps

Close the command prompt or terminal and head over to OpenDNS to change your settings to match the nameservers they provide. They ensure zero downtime, so if your website works perfectly using these new settings, then it’s much easier to isolate the problem.

Once at their setup page, you can follow their instructions to setup the new nameservers on your computer. Then follow the same troubleshooting steps we just went through. Send all this information first to your hosting company, and let them know you’re experiencing intermittent outages, and you’ve included some troubleshooting information for them to review. It’s likely that this isn’t a tier-one support issue, and you may need to relay this information to a senior technician.

If you have migrated your site lately, confirm the last date your site was moved with your hosting company. If it has been at least two days, then you can go ahead and send this information to them. Make sure to keep a note of this date for your records.

If they are unable to resolve this issue for you, then send this information to your ISP, and explain what you are experiencing. You may be experiencing a third party DNS issue if other people also have troubles accessing your site. In this case, the issue does not have to do with your ISP, but you can ask them to be your advocate to help resolve this issue for you. You probably won’t have to contact your ISP anyway, as your hosting company will be able to solve this problem for you in most cases.

You’ve probably noticed at this point that there’s not a whole lot you can do other then troubleshooting, and that’s because in most cases, the issue isn’t your computer or your internet connection, but rather a DNS propagation issue that needs to be looked at and resolved by your hosting company, or your ISP.

With these steps, you’ll be three quarters of the way to planning your next, much-needed vacation!

Image credit: jjflash53.