Here’s some more information on this topic. There are two distinct reasons why people may have difficulty accessing this discussion board. (And, by the way, I'm very aware that Terry, who started this thread, passed away shortly after posting that message. Still, I thought it would be useful to provide this additional information.)
1) Accessing board with an Outdated Bookmark/Link
This is the problem described in my previous post on March 31. It occurs when following an old bookmark or link whose URL uses the ostomy.org domain name and begins with an https (secure) prefix. Remember that, since Feb 27th of 2014, this board has been operating in the uoaa.org
domain, although our main website
still uses the ostomy.org domain. Unfortunately, since we launched the new version of our main website in August 2014, URLs in the ostomy.org domain that include an https prefix result in browser warnings. The exact warning depends on which browser you’re using, but here are some samples showing how the initial portion of the warning may appear in several browsers:
In Firefox: This Connection is Untrusted.
You have asked Firefox to connect securely to www.ostomy.org
, but we can't confirm that your connection is secure...
In Chrome: Your connection is not private.
Attackers might be trying to steal your information from www.ostomy.org
(for example, passwords, messages, or credit cards)...
In Safari: Safari can’t verify the identity of the website “www.ostomy.org”.
The certificate for this website is invalid. You might be connecting to a website that is pretending to be “www.ostomy.org
While these messages are scary, nearly all browsers provide an option to connect in spite of the warning. And if you allow the connection to go through, you’ll be redirected to our board where, in the end, you will
have a secure connection to our board in the uoaa.org domain.
Recently, I became aware of a reason why some users, especially, international users, might have continued to use an outdated link. The International Ostomy Association (IOA) website includes a link to our board on its page at www.ostomyinternational.org/discussionforum.htm
and, until about a month ago, that link still included an outdated URL. That link has been updated now. However, you may still inadvertently find yourself using an outdated bookmark or link that points to the old URL. As a possibility to be aware of, old URLs may be stored in your browser’s history,
so may show up when you start typing in the browser’s address bar. (You may need to clear the brower’s history to solve that problem.)
2) Blocking by our Security Software
As one way of protecting our board against hackers and spammers, we’ve installed security software that blocks various kinds of malicious access. This software protects the board against many harmful access attempts. But sometimes it makes a mistake and blocks someone inappropriately.
If you’re being blocked by this security software, it will (at first) show you a "403 Forbidden
" error message. This message includes a reason why you’re being blocked, although the reason may be pretty brief and cryptic. The security software shows you a 403 message only three times; then, it switches to a "503 Service Unavailable
" message (it does this to conserve computing resources and bandwidth of our server). When you see that 503 message, you might think our site is down but, in fact, you’re getting blocked.
If you think you’re getting blocked inappropriately, please contact me
, and I may be able to resolve the problem. As an example, Mara was in France recently and found herself blocked, so she contacted me. I found that our security software made an incorrect determination on the nature of the Internet service Mara was using. I was able to correct that problem, so Mara was able to connect.
There are, however, cases in which I am unable to restore access. If you’re using an Internet provider that’s known to be friendly to hackers and spammers, our security software is going to block you. The only solution in that case is to try connecting through a different Internet provider, perhaps by using a friend’s Internet connection or by going to a library or other facility. It’s true, unfortunately, that many of the Internet providers in some parts of the world are friendly to hackers and spammers. But it also ought to be possible in every country to find Internet providers that aren't friendly to hackers and spammers and will enable you to access our discussion board.