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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fixed! Firefox can't find the server at

Ever since I upgrade to Firefox 3.0 on my Mac Mini (actually running 3.5.5) -- I have not been able to access the MSNBC website. And seemingly of all the sites I normally visit, this was the only one that I could not visit. Anytime I tried to go to the website, I would get the following error message:

Firefox can't find the server at

It did not matter if I typed in,,, or I still received the same error message:

Firefox can't find the server at

I had previously searched Google with no luck, but came across an interesting post that seemed to indicate some possibilities with the HTTP protocol version in the setting for my FireFox browser. However, both of mine were set to version 1.1.

So that was not my problem, which caused me to look a little deeper. After some research, I found that not only did the page render correctly in the Apple Safari browser, but others were reporting the same issue between Firefox, and Internet Explorer -- whether they were using Windows XP, Windows Vista, or even the new Windows 7.

And, I should say, that the first order of business regardless should be to check your proxy settings under the network settings. You can do this by going to Firefox --> Preferences on your Mac, then choose the advance tab, then click on settings and make sure that "no proxy" settings unless you are positive you do not need it.

If that does not solve your issue, then the solution I found in for this guide -- should get it working for you. It did fix the problem for me -- and I will include the HTTP protocol how to in this guide so that it should cover the problem for you end to end, no matter which is the cause of your issue.

Here we go:

1. Go to the browser URL entry and enter (without quotes) "about:config" and hit enter.

2. You will be prompted with a message suggesting that it might void your warranty with some additional warning disclaimers about how the advanced settings can be harmful to the stability, security, and performance for the Firefox application. You can choose to uncheck the checkbox if you like, then click on the button that says "I'll be careful, I promise".

Firefox can't find the server at accessing the about:config settings for the advanced Firefox configuration
3. Now in the filter box, enter the text "network.http" without the quotes to filter down all the settings so that you will not need to scroll.

4. Now that you have filtered the results, this where you will need to do the verification and possibly make some changes.

5. Please verify that both the network.http.version and the network.http.proxy.version are set to 1.1 and not 1.0. If you need to change both of these, double click on the line and you will get a dialog box asking you to enter the value "1.1". As you can see in the picture below, both of mine were set to 1.1 by default.

6. Now we are going to look at both the network.http.pipelining and the network.http.proxy.pipelining settings. In my case, both of were set to the default setting of false. For each of these I double-clicked on the configuration line and they were changed to true from false with a status of "user set" instead of default that remains bolded in the configuration screen. Look at the image below to see the exact settings that I have on my Firefox 3 browser.

Firefox can't find the server at fixed by changing FireFox configuration settings for http network version and pipelining
7. Once you complete the changes and verify your settings, exit the Firefox browser to complete the changes. Open up the browser and type in; which should successfully take you to the MSNBC page.

Congratulations, you now have a fully working browser where you can browse to the MSNBC website without getting the message:
Firefox can't find the server at

Did this fix work for you? If so, please post a comment to let me and others know -- including if you experienced this problem with another URL other than MSNBC. There are rumors that other URLs including can be subject to the configuration issue. Best of luck!


Anonymous said...

No joy.
It's the site, and a few others.
All my settings match yours.
It must be some other bug. *sigh*

Ken Hanscom said...

Ah, that's a big bummer.

By chance, have you tried deleting the "profile" for Firefox? There are some occurrences where that seems to be the problem.

Also, is it SSL site that is causing the issue? If so, you could look at changing the pipelining setting for SSL as well.


Anonymous said...

I tried Ken Hanscom's solution also to no avail. I then undid the changes and what happened may provide a clue. Firefox properly went to the right website for about 5 tries, and then went back to it's "can't find server message." So what ever is happening takes several minutes to occur before the "can't find server" message starts again. Does that mean anything to anyone? This message get's displayed in my case for any google search I do and then try to go to any of the web addresses hit. It happens with IE and Firefox, but not with Google Chrome. Chrome continues to function properly. Anyone have a fix for this? Tx. Bob C

Anonymous said...

The same happens with me using Safari and Every single time I go to it. But when I refresh it, it loads. This happens on both my Macs. It's not that big of a deal because I can just refresh, but it's curious. I hope you figure out your Firefox problem!

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem with "can't find server" messages and a very slow computer.
I tried everything except for simply turning off computer, modem, and router for a 1 minute. Walla...No more messages and the speed is back

Anonymous said...

My son installed a Netgear router on my computer over Christmas (he lives out of town). I finally took my HP laptop to another room but can't get on internet. I get msg saying "server not found. Firefox can't find the server at" I can get on internet when wired. I'm not at all good with computers so I have no idea what to do or where to begin to troubleshoot. Do you have a suggestion?