I was checking mail in GMail, and when I went to my Sent folder, I got a loading message and then nothing. I went to check some other random website and got the message: Problem loading page with a more detailed message of:
The proxy server is refusing connections
Firefox is configured to use a proxy server that is refusing connections.
Check the proxy settings to make sure that they are correct.
Contact your network administrator to make sure the proxy server is working.
Odd. I don’t use a proxy server. So I try Safari. Things are working.
I shutdown Firefox. Re-open. Same thing.
A google search showed that a small number of people were having this problem, and they were being redirected to preference screens, virus checking their systems, etc.
That couldn’t be it — things were working just a moment before.
Cause & Fix
The cause of the problem was an accidental click on the Tor button in my browser’s status bar, which subtly switched me over to using Tor for web browsing. Only problem was, I hadn’t started the Tor virtual tunnels.
Firefox was correct – it was using a proxy server that wasn’t responding. I just hadn’t realized I’d activated it.
Simply clicking the “Tor Enabled” once put it back to “Tor Disabled” and suddenly Firefox was working again.
Guess I just happened to bump the mouse at just the right place on the screen. Opps.
Anyhow, it was a five minute mystery, and since I suspect others have fallen victim to their own demise and not been able to figure out why, or worse, giving Firefox a bum rap, I’d share the solution so others can get back to browsing.