Why do my web pages keep timing out?

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One of the most common annoyances with Internet usage is Web pages timing out when the user is still using them. Another type of Web page timeout is when the page times out before it finishes loading, resulting in simply a blank or error page announcing the session was "timed out.

" The session timeout could be a result of the Internet connection, but could also be from settings on the computer, or security settings if a firewall or other service is in place. All Web browsers contain a safety protocol that will automatically timeout Web pages when they are left idle for a significant amount of time, to protect against certain types of computer attacks.

Try These First

Reset the computer if it has not been reset in a while. Sometimes the timeouts are a result of the Internet connection, which can be affected by updates and settings changes to a computer without the required restart afterward. If resetting the computer shows no improvement, consider the Web browser being used. Is it the most recent version of that browser? Additionally, some websites work better in some browsers but not others; for example, online school login sites like Argosy University's online "campus" tend to run better in Moxilla Firefox than Internet Explorer. If a firewall is in place, consult with the network manager to determine if the firewall is blocking that particular site or port.

Internet Explorer "KeepAlive" Settings

Determine first that the Internet Explorer version on the computer is the most recent. Go to "Help" in the top of the Web browser window and select "About Internet Explorer." Most users are running IE8 right now, with some trying out the IE9 beta.

To change the KeepAlive settings, click on "Start" in the bottom left corner of the screen; "Start" is also the Windows flag icon. Click on "Run..." from the Start Menu and type "regedit" and click "OK."

Select the folder that says "HKEY_CURRENT_USER," then click on "Edit" from the top of the window. From the Edit menu, mouse-over the word "New" and click "DWORD Value" for Windows 32-bit users (for 64-bit users, select QWORD).

Name the file "KeepAliveTimeout" and press "ENTER" or click "OK." Select the new file by clicking once, then choose "Edit" and "Modify" from the top of the window. Type in a value to represent the timeout value in milliseconds and click "OK."

Restart the Internet Explorer to use with the new timeout settings.

Try Another Browser or Redownload the Browaser

Some people have found simply redownloading the browser program helps eliminate the timeout errors they keep getting, while others simply go to a different browser. Users of Internet Explorer might find Firefox or Opera more user-friendly with fewer session timeouts, for example (see Resources). Firefox also has a "Session Keeper" add-on that users can download to keep Web pages open and running longer (see Resources).