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Friday, March 28, 2014

Google Docs Thinks You are Offline? Work around their bug!

... and so suddenly, and without warning, Google Docs stopped responding for me. My spreadsheet (my invoice spreadsheet without which I can't get paid) would load and then immediately tell me "You are offline" (there's an icon for that).

After trying all the obvious things ...

  • Clear my cache
  • Try it in FireFox instead of Chrome
  • Restart my computer
  • Try a different Internet connection

... I started hunting around the web. The problem has been around since at least 2012. This guy had a way to fix it that didn't work for me.

However, it did teach me about the Chrome's built in DNS information page where I could see 0.docs.google.com ERR_NAME_NOT_RESOLVED.

First I tried turning the Internal DNS client off (not on) ... that didn't help.

Then I did a hack. First I pinged docs.google.com and got (due to the vagaries of DNS, you might get a different number).

Then I added a line to my /etc/hosts file: 0.docs.google.com

... which basically says: "don't use DNS, I've got your IP address right here".

Things seem to be working!

My guess is that this represents some kind of load balancing solution implemented by Google Docs ... and either the 0 server has failed, or its configuration got munged, or this is simply a bug in the Google Docs client-side software.