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We host our own web server, and we're trying to see exactly what our clients are seeing for an error on the website. Reason being, being connected to the network, the domain resolves correctly, however, all of our clients are receiving a 404 error.

Any way to view the website as a computer on the outside? Or maybe a trusted website resource that proxies a connection to do so?


First off, apologies for not giving the site name as it is a private site that's not even crawled.

Got back from my lunch break, went home and attempted a connection to it, and it gave the 404 error as well. I may go ahead and create a new post on the actual issue.

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A 404 error means that the server hasn't found anything matching the Request-URI from the client. This isn't a DNS problem. – joeqwerty Oct 14 '11 at 19:23
I guess the question that should be asked is Mechaflash sure the users are seeing a 404? – alphadogg Oct 14 '11 at 19:31
BTW, if the webserver is sending a 404, those should be in your webserver's logs. – alphadogg Oct 14 '11 at 19:32
Thx to whoever downvoted without a comment... – Mechaflash Oct 14 '11 at 21:08
read logs, fix server settings – Lazy Badger Oct 14 '11 at 22:30
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are many ways to do this.

  • Pay for a cheap broadband connect, and view it from the broad-band connection.
  • Remote control your home computer and check out your site.
  • Setup a machine on some hosting service somewhere...
  • Pay for one of several hosted VPN services, with the VPN connected, make sure you routing is set so that your requests exit via the VPN.
  • Ask one of your clients to permit them to remote control their computer. Using something like goto assist, then you will see exactly what they see.
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1. Drive to Starbucks. 2. Turn on laptop. 3. Connect to Starbucks WiFi network. 4. Point browser at web site. – joeqwerty Oct 14 '11 at 19:25
Or McDonald's if you don't like crappy Starbucks coffee. – Ward Oct 14 '11 at 20:58
@joeqwerty you should have posted your comment as an answer, one of the best in my opinion. – condiosluzverde Oct 14 '11 at 23:07
@arrocharGeek, I agree it is a good solution, though I am not sure I agree it is the best. If you are running a serious service, it sure seems to me like you would have some kind of more permanent method setup to perform external testing. Running to the nearest open wifi doesn't sound like it would always be possible, or easy. – Zoredache Oct 14 '11 at 23:31
@Zoredache I understand your comment, please see the answer I proposed below (dotcom-monitor) and I have in the past maintained connectivity to a computer at home via either RealVNC and/or LogMeIn (not affiliated with either company) - then I remote to my home computer, and view the site from the "outside" that way. The combination of these will give you the best/most reliable coverage (IMHO). – condiosluzverde Oct 15 '11 at 0:15

Depends on your relations with the client:

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I would advocate for these suggestions as well. – condiosluzverde Oct 14 '11 at 19:30

Another suggestion:

Sign up for a free trial account at and setup a simple task to hit your website from their many geographically dispersed locations.

The tasks are easy to configure - just have an HTTP task check for a few keywords that you know exist on your homepage (or any page for that matter) - then have it email you when those keywords are not found.

DISCLAIMER: I am not in any way affiliated with - other than being a happy customer.

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This is a great suggestion for ongoing monitoring of the site but it isn't helpful in allowing the OP to see the problem for him/herself or troubleshooting the problem. – joeqwerty Oct 14 '11 at 19:29
@joeqwert true, but would confirm or deny the 404 (which as has been mentioned will be in the logs anyway)...just trying to help the guy get various ways to deal with the issue, it's an added suggestion (and pro-active for future issues). – condiosluzverde Oct 14 '11 at 23:04
Nothing wrong with your answer, it's a good one. I just think that it's more relevant to ongoing uptime monitoring than troubleshooting. You are right though that it will confirm or deny the 404. – joeqwerty Oct 16 '11 at 15:02

There are any number of ways that you could do this if you wanted to

1) Connect to a VPN and browse to the website

2) Connect via a proxy

3) Connect via an open wifi network you may have kicking around

4) Tether your phone to a computer or connect via a wireless internet stick

5) Connect to a remote computer via RDC / VNC / LogMeIn, etc

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