The “ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED” message is an all-too-common error message you will come upon sometimes in Google Chrome. There are tons of errors out there online (like the “your connection is not private error” or a 404 error) that can frustrate users and provide a poor user experience. In this article, we will walk you through nine troubleshooting steps for how to resolve the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error in Chrome.
Table of Contents
The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED Error
When you visit a website in Google Chrome and encounter the “This site can’t be reached” ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED page, it means that your attempt to connect was refused. This page also appears in other browsers like Mozilla Firefox (Unable to connect) and Microsoft Edge (Hmmm… can’t reach this page).
Sometimes, the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is caused by a server-side problem, rather than your individual attempt to connect. Usually, it’s nothing serious. It can be the result of something like incorrect firewall or server settings. However, it can also be a sign that something more serious has gone wrong, like a malware attack or unexpected downtime. Sometimes, an unreliable internet connection is to blame.
How to Fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED Error in Chrome
If you encounter the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, you know something has gone wrong. However, you don’t know why. This means you need to find the cause of the problem and resolve it. Here are nine ways to go about fixing this error.
1. Check the Status of the Website
The first step is to check the status of the website you are trying to access. This error is sometimes the result of the website’s server, not your own internet connection. The best way to check this if this is the cause is to visit another web page. If you get the error again, the issue is most likely your own connection. However, if the second page loads correctly, the first site is probably at fault.
Or, you can use the Down for Everyone or Just Me website to check. Just enter the address of the page where you received the error, and click on “Or just me?” The site will tell you whether the site is down or not. If the page is down, all you can do is wait for it to be fixed. If it’s not, it’s time to keep troubleshooting.
2. Restart Your Router
The second step is to restart your router, a tried-and-true tactic for fixing plenty of internet-related problems. It only takes a few minutes to restart your home or office router. Just make sure to restart your router properly. Simply disconnect the power supply to your router, wait about 30 seconds, then plug it back in. Once your router is hooked up again, try to access the site that gave you the error. If you’re still receiving the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error, continue troubleshooting.
3. Clear Your Browser Cache
Like other internet browsers, Chrome stores information in its cache on your computer or other device. This information includes your browsing history, saved login data, and cookies, which are recorded to load pages more quickly the next time you visit. Though this data is useful, it can also cause issues once the information becomes outdated. Sometimes, a cached version of a web page no longer matches the current, live version of the site. You can solve this problem by clearing your cache.
Before you take this step, check to make sure it’s a cache issue by opening your browser in incognito mode or trying a different browser. If you still see the error, then proceed with clearing your cache.
4. Access and Adjust Your Proxy Settings
Many people are increasingly using individual solutions to protect their sensitive and personal data online, like a proxy server. A proxy allows you to go online with a different IP address and acts as an intermediary between your web browser and the websites you visit. This keeps your IP address private and helps filter cache data and server communications.
Just like caching, a proxy server is useful, but it can also be the cause of the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED message. For instance, a web server might reject the IP address attached to your proxy server, and reject the connection outright. Or, the proxy might be offline or configured incorrectly. So, if you receive this error, check out your proxy settings.
How to Access Your Proxy Settings
Luckily, Chrome has its own proxy section. This saves you time searching for the right tools in your browser. To start, access the Settings menu in Chrome. This opens the complete menu of options. Click Advanced, then under the System section, select Open proxy settings. If you are a Windows user, click on LAN Settings and uncheck Use proxy server for LAN. If you’re on a Mac, you will be in the right menu already. Just uncheck all selectable proxy protocols, and see if the error message has been fixed.
5. Temporarily Disable Firewall and Antivirus Software
Though firewall and antivirus software are helpful for protecting users and their devices, they also can lead to connection issues. Sometimes firewalls block pages they don’t really need to or reject completely safe content. To check if this is the case, just disable your firewall and antivirus programs. However, only take this step if you are positive the site you’re visiting is safe. It is also best to only disable this software temporarily, so turn it back on after you check to see if the error is resolved. If not, you can become vulnerable to attacks.
If you repeatedly receive the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error due to this problem, you might want to reconsider the firewall and antivirus software you’re using.
6. Clear Your DNS Cache
Though you may know that your browser creates a cache, what you might not know is that your operating system does as well. The next step in the troubleshooting process is to clear your DNS cache. Your DNS cache saves all of the temporary entries for pages you’ve accessed with your browser. These entries store key information related to the domain names and addresses of the pages you visit.
This speeds up the loading process and saves you time overall, but might cause some short-term issues. For example, if a stored entry doesn’t match the current version of the website it refers to, you might see the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error.
Here’s how to clear your DNS cache, depending on your operating system:
How to Clear DNS Cache in Windows
Launch the start menu by pressing the Windows key, then search for “CMD.” This returns the command prompt. Run the following command: ipconfig /flushdns. You will receive a confirmation that your DNS resolver cache has been flushed.
How to Clear DNS Cache on a Mac
To clear your DNS cache on a Mac, click “Go” in the toolbar and then “Utilities.” Open the Terminal, and run the following command: sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder && echo macOS DNS Cache Reset. (You will need to be an admin to do this.) Then, try accessing the site again.
7. Change Your DNS Address
Sometimes, the DNS address can become overloaded or go offline, which results in the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED message. Usually, your DNS server address is obtained automatically from your internet provider. However, you can change your DNS address if necessary. This process varies depending on your operating system.
How to Change DNS Address on a Mac
First, open up System Preferences, then select Network. Next, click Advanced. Then, select the DNS option at the top of the screen. Click on the + button to add a new DNS server. Or, to edit an existing DNS server, double-click on the DNS IP address you want to change. You can try changing temporarily to a public DNS server, like Google or Cloudflare. Then try to access the site again, and see if it works.
8. Disable Chrome Extensions
Yes, installing Chrome extensions can give you a more well-rounded internet browsing experience. However, many extensions are not developed by Chrome’s developers and are actually created by third parties. This means that they might not work as intended or might go out-of-date over time. An incorrect or outdated extension can cause issues like the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED message. Make sure to regularly check the extensions attached to your Chrome browser.
To audit your extensions, open the Extensions menu in Chrome. Then, assess each of your extensions one at a time. If you don’t need a particular extension, you can remove it. Then, for the extensions you want to keep, check that they are updated. Ideally, they should all be updated every three months. If any are extremely out-of-date, you might want to replace them with a newer alternative.
If a new and updated extension is causing problems, disable all of your attached extensions. Then, if the error resolves, you will know an extension is at fault. Then, reactive each at a time, until you’ve identified the extension causing the problem.
9. Reinstall the Chrome Browser
Sadly, Chrome is not entirely bug-free. It’s possible your installation of Chrome has some issues, particularly if it hasn’t been updated in a long time. Sometimes, the only solution is to completely uninstall and reinstall Google Chrome. Simply remove the browser from your device, then download the most recent version of Chrome by visiting their website.
What to Do If None of These Steps Resolve the Error
Hopefully by now, you have resolved the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error. If not, there might be something wrong with the website itself. In that case, you will just need to be patient and hope the site comes back before too long!
- What is the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error?
- How do I fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error?
- What causes the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error?
- How do I clear DNS cache?
- How do I reinstall Google Chrome?