Though there are quite a few different browsers available for Windows users, a vast number still prefer to use the baked-in default — Internet Explorer. However, along with that comes the occasional “Cannot Display Web Page” error, which we’re going to show you how to debug and fix, below! If this particular problem has ever proven an obstacle to your usual online activity, rest assured — it’s not particularly hard to resolve, and isn’t indicative of any major problems on your computer.
If you’re one of the holdouts that still prefers Microsoft Internet Explorer over choices like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or even Microsoft’s new Edge browser, we’ll show you how to overcome one of its most frequent problems. Every browser on the market is vulnerable to its own, unique set of problems. But while we’re configuring Internet Explorer, go ahead and find a suitable alternative to serve as a backup browser. It can come in handy when you’re trying to diagnose your primary choice!
Connectivity issues are both one of the most common obstacles to our productivity, as well as one of the most frustrating. They can occur for a variety of reasons, and because many users aren’t overly familiar with network protocols or the connections necessary to keep their internet service up and running, they’re difficult to resolve.
One of the reasons that this problem is angering for many users, is that it can happen even when your internet connection is apparently stable. All of your other services might be working — even other browsers — but Internet Explorer still isn’t able to connect to or display any websites.
However, before we dig too deeply into resolving this problem, make sure that you check your internet connection. If you’re not able to use any of your online services, then the problem might not be with Internet Explorer — you might have a larger problem that needs to be addressed, potentially with your router, modem, or the ISP responsible for your internet service. We’ve written about these types of resolutions on Error Codes Pro, which you can check out right here.
But if everything else is working apart from Internet Explorer, continue reading, to fix it.
“Internet Explorer Cannot Display Web Page”
Apart from the fact that this error can at times be confounding — why would Internet Explorer be unable to connect, if the rest of your web services are fine? — it’s also somewhat prevalent. Internet Explorer users encounter it a bit more frequently than they should, revealing how vulnerable this particular browser is to connectivity problems. Though we’ll never go so far as to tell you which browser to use, it’s very helpful to have a backup browser installed on your computer.
In fact, we recommend that you use that browser to make sure that it’s Internet Explorer, specifically, that’s having the problem. Open up your secondary browser, and navigate to some of the same sites that you might have visited in Microsoft’s browser. If you’re unable to reach them in another browser, there’s a good chance that Internet Explorer might not be the problem, and you need to change some of your computer’s basic network settings. Or, you might need to fiddle with your router and modem.
But if you are able to fully use other browsers, proceed to the next steps, so that we can get Internet Explorer working properly.
Resolving the Error
First, we’re going to give you instructions that will help you to “reset” Internet Explorer. Because add-ons and changes from the default settings can occasionally be at the root of this error message, it’s important to make sure that your installation of Internet Explorer is as if you’d just installed it.
Next, we’ll take a look at some possible changes to your network settings, and a few Windows diagnostic features that will help to resolve this problem. We won’t be advising you to make any changes to the Windows registry — the wrong change can cause serious, irreparable harm to your operating system’s installation. Besides, Windows has several repair functions that will also help you to restore any problem with the OS.
“The further I’ve gotten into the Internet, the more I’ve become convinced that we’ve explored only a tiny corner of what it can mean and what we can feel there.” – Marshall Herskovitz
Delete Browser History
Surprisingly, the easiest thing that you can do is often a resolution on its own. Because cached data in Internet Explorer can occasionally keep you from being able to connect to or display other websites, clearing your browsing history and cached data can resolve the “Cannot Display Web Page” error.
From within Internet Explorer,
- Select Tools from the menu bar, followed by Internet Options.
- From the General tab, find the Browsing History subheader, and select Delete…
- Next, ensure that the checkboxes for Cookies, Temporary Internet Files, and History are selected.
- Finally, click Delete, and close out the menus back to the browser.
Give Internet Explorer a try once you’ve cleared out this cached data, and see if that has resolved your issue. If it has, there’s a good reason — this is most frequently the fix for connectivity issues that are limited to Internet Explorer. If it hasn’t, continue following our troubleshooting steps below until we get the problem resolved.
Reset Internet Explorer
Within Windows’ internet connection settings, there’s a feature that allows you to reset Internet Explorer back to its default settings. Though this will leave your bookmarks intact, everything else will roll back, leaving you with a factory-fresh installation of the web browser. If deleting your browser history didn’t resolve this Internet Explorer connectivity error, there’s a good chance that this will.
Open the Run command by holding down Windows + R. Type in inetcpl.cpl and press Enter. In the Internet Properties window, click on the Advanced tab along the top. From there, look for the Reset… button, and click it. This will enable you to entirely reset Internet Explorer and hopefully resolve the “Cannot Display Web Page” issue.
If it doesn’t, we can continue with more steps, below. But if this fails to resolve it, it becomes more and more likely that the issue isn’t with the browser, but with your computer’s connection settings.
Run Windows Troubleshooter
It might seem as much of a no-brainer as restarting your computer, but if Internet Explorer is the only program that’s being affected by connectivity issues, it’s unlikely that this will solve the problem. However, it’s a simple feature that’s built into Windows, so it can’t hurt to see if Windows’ built-in diagnostic tools provide a resolution.
Right click on your network icon in the system tray, and select Troubleshoot Problems. This will start an automated process, through which Windows will examine your ability to connect to the internet, as well as your computer’s ability to interface with your chosen access point. Once it’s finished, check your connectivity through Internet Explorer once more, and see if it’s been fixed.
Reset Modem and Router
If the problem persists, it’s advised that you go so far as to reset your modem and router. Though resetting your hardware is rarely necessary to resolve issues with specific software, it’s not unheard of. Unplug each of these devices for 30 to 60 seconds. This will give them a chance to reset, and will also remove your connected devices from your Internet service.
Plug your modem back into its power source first, and allow it to fully boot up. Once you have green lights across your particular modem’s interface, plug your router into its power source as well. Once again, allow it to fully boot. After both devices are up and running, and your computer is reconnected to your internet service, give Internet Explorer another shot.
Use Windows System Restore
One of the last steps that you can take in your mission to restore Internet Explorer’s functionality is to roll your installation of Windows back to a specific restore point. This is a feature that’s built into Windows and is useful for restoring problems with operating system functions, registry errors, and the like. Because Internet Explorer is so intricately tied to your installation of Windows, it’s possible that this will help to fix your browser.
In the Windows Search bar, type in Create a Restore Point, and select it from the list. In the window that follows, click on System Restore… This will allow you to choose between the saved restore points on your machine. You’ll want to choose one from before Internet Explorer started giving you connectivity issues. Be warned, however, that most applications you’ve installed or changed since then will be reverted as well. However, your personal files — documents, photos, and more — will not be removed.
If you’ve followed these steps through, we hope that you’ve managed to resolve the issue, and restore productivity to Internet Explorer! If it’s still giving you trouble, then there’s a good chance that the issue has to do with the Windows registry, and will require something as drastic as a reset of the operating system — another feature that’s built into Windows.
That “Cannot Display Web Page” error can be a nuisance when you’re using Internet Explorer, but barring issues with your hardware or your ISP, we’re fairly confident that the above steps will resolve the problem. If you have any remaining questions, be sure to let us know in the comments below!
Ryan is a computer enthusiast who has a knack for fixing difficult and technical software problems. Whether you’re having issues with Windows, Safari, Chrome or even an HP printer, Ryan helps out by figuring out easy solutions to common error codes.