Fixing Firefox and Safari not Working on a Mac

Recently we experienced a problem on a Macbook Pro running Leopard. When trying to open web sites with Firefox or Safari they would not load. Perplexingly Skype still worked fine and Skype calls would work perfectly. When trying to diagnose the issue via Terminal the DNS was resolving properly and the laptop could ping websites fine. So that left us pretty confused as to what could cause the issue.

We did a bunch of Google searches to no real avail until we read of someone having a similar issue on Windows XP. They rebuilt the IP Stack and the problem went away. Small catch? There is no easy way to do this on a Mac. But it turns out if you delete the Network Preferences .plist file and do a reboot you will fix the problem. You will also lose all of your specific network settings but with this problem the alternative is to do a re-install, so it was quite an acceptable loss.

So what did we do?

  1. Open Terminal (Applications > Utilities > Terminal)
  2. Run these two commands:

    cd /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/

    sudo rm preferences.plist

  3. Reboot

And that was it! Upon rebooting the Mac restored all the network devices and we reconnected to the local network and Firefox and Safari worked fine 🙂

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