How to Troubleshoot a Computer Issue

There are many ways to troubleshoot website issues. If your browser is timing out or you are getting an error message of some sort when processing a transaction or action of some sort, you should go through the following steps to help resolve the issues.

First, you should try another browser to see if the issue can be replicated. For example, if you are using Firefox, try Chrome. You can also install Internet Explorer and Safari to get a full look at what impacts each browser has the outcome of the action you are taking.

Second, you can clear your cache and cookies. The actual process of doing so varies per browser, and there are specific help guides available (just do a search for “how to clear cache” + Firefox if you are looking), but the idea is that you will be removing anything stored on your hard drive that is associated with the websites you’ve visited and will visit. (You should note that clearing cookies will also log you out of sites you are logged into, so make sure you have your passwords handy!) If you are trying another browser, however, you do not need to do this step, as Chrome doesn’t use IE’s cache, and Safari doesn’t use Firefox’s cache, and vice versa. If the problem recurs, you are experiencing what is known as a server error, not a client error, and you should be able to communicate this to the webmaster so that they know what the issue is to fix it on their end.

Then you need to collect the data to show them what error is occurring, so they have all the information they need to fix the issue on the server side. You will need to inform them about the browser used, such as Chrome, the operating system you are using, such as Mac OS X Moutain Lion or Windows 8.1, and the URL of the page you are at. You should also copy and paste any error messages. Web page screenshots of these pages are also immensely helpful. Finally, you should also disclose whatever plugins you may be using, as they may be interfering with the operation of the page, but this may be asked as a last resort.

If the issue is client side, usually the first two steps will resolve the problem. If not, you may have a malware or other issue that you may need to resolve separately. (You can also ask a friend to try it on another computer entirely.)

Hopefully your issues will be totally solved after that. Good luck!