ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED on Chrome: What It Is and 11 Ways to Fix It

ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED on Chrome: What It Is and 11 Ways to Fix It

ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED is an error message you might encounter when accessing a website using Google Chrome. Although frustrating, it usually indicates a client-side problem that you can easily fix.

This guide will explain what the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error is and 11 methods to troubleshoot it.

Error codeERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED
Error typeConnection
Error variationsThis site can’t be reached
This page is unavailable
Unable to connect
Hmmm…can’t reach this page
Error causesFaulty internet connection
Google synchronization error
Bad Google Chrome extensions
Antivirus, firewall, or VPN interference
Outdated browser or DNS cache

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error message appears on Google Chrome when the browser’s attempt to connect to a web page is refused.

On Mozilla Firefox, this error produces the “Unable to connect” message. Meanwhile, Microsoft Edge displays “Hmmm…can’t reach this page” when the issue occurs.

In most cases, ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED is a client-side error, which means that an issue on your machine has caused it. However, in rare cases, the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error in Chrome can be caused by the target web server.

If you’re seeing ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED on localhost though, the solution to your problem will be related to localhost as well.

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11 Methods to Fix ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

This section will explore 11 methods to fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error in Chrome.

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error page in Google Chrome.

The methods are mostly beginner-friendly, although some of them are advanced. We will walk you through each step, making the troubleshooting process as painless as possible. Let’s start.

1. Check Whether the Website Is Down

The ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error can sometimes be caused by issues with the website itself, such as server downtime. Before trying out the other methods, check if the site is accessible.

To check if a website is down, use free online tools such as Website Planet, Host Tracker, or Site24x7. All you have to do is input the website’s URL, and the tool will tell you the website status.

The webpage for Website Planet's Is Your Website Down Right Now? tool.

If the website is down for everyone, all you can do is wait for the website administrators to fix the issue. If not, the problem undoubtedly lies in your machine, and you can try the following methods.

2. Restart Your Network Adapter

You can often fix a faulty internet connection by simply restarting your router. Whenever you have connection issues, this method is always worth trying.

To restart your network adapter, locate your router and unplug the power. Wait 10-30 seconds before plugging the power back on. Once you’ve reconnected to the internet, try reaccessing the website.

3. Troubleshoot Internet Connection

Windows and macOS have built-in tools for troubleshooting connection issues. The troubleshooter can pinpoint the problem and offer possible fixes.

Follow these steps to start the connection troubleshooter on a Windows machine:

  1. Open Settings using the Start menu or pressing the Windows key + I.
  2. Navigate to the Network & internet menu.
  3. Press the Troubleshoot button.
The Troubleshoot button on Windows' Network & internet settings.
  1. Select the network adapter you want to diagnose and click Next.
A selection of network adapters to diagnose on Windows' troubleshooter.
  1. Wait until the system finishes analyzing the issues.
  2. If issues are found, apply the suggested fixes.
  3. Close the troubleshooter and reboot the system.

For Mac users, here’s how to start the internet troubleshooter:

  1. Disconnect or unplug all external devices except your monitor and keyboard.
  2. Turn off the system.
  3. Turn the system back on while pressing and holding D.
  4. Choose your preferred language.
  5. Wait until Apple Diagnostics has finished running.
  6. If the system identifies issues with your connection, it will suggest possible solutions.
  7. Apply the suggested solutions and reboot the system.

Try revisiting the problematic web page after running the troubleshooter on your system. If the issue persists, try the other methods.

4. Turn Off Synchronization to Google

Problems with Google’s synchronization may cause the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error in Chrome.

Here’s how to turn off synchronization on Google Chrome:

  1. Open the three dots menu located to the right of the address bar.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Go to Sync and Google Services -> Turn off.
The Turn off button on Google Chrome's Sync and Google services settings.

Check whether the error is solved. Don’t forget to turn on the synchronization again after browsing the website.

5. Check Google Chrome Extensions

Google Chrome extensions are great for extending Chrome’s functionality and improving the overall browsing experience.

However, many extensions are made by third-party developers and are not closely monitored by Google. Therefore, an outdated or problematic Google Chrome extension may be causing the error.

We suggest checking all the extensions installed on your Google Chrome browser. Make sure that they are all recently updated and uninstall any outdated ones.

This is also an excellent opportunity to disable Chrome extensions that are weighing down your browser. It’s vital to regularly audit installed extensions to prevent speed issues and security threats.

To remove a Google Chrome browser extension, follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Chrome’s three dots menu -> More tools -> Extensions.
  2. In the Extensions menu, find the extension you want to uninstall and click Remove.
The Remove button on Google Chrome's Extensions settings.

Finally, check whether you can access the website after uninstalling the extension.

6. Reinstall Chrome

Your current Google Chrome installation may have issues causing the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error. The easiest way to revert Chrome to its original settings is to uninstall and reinstall it again.

But before you do this, consider a quicker way to revert the Chrome browser to its original settings by resetting it.

Follow these steps to reset Chrome:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Navigate to the three dots menu -> Settings -> Advanced.
  3. Click Restore settings to their original defaults.
  4. Select Reset settings.

If the error still appears, proceed to reinstall the Chrome browser. Here’s how to do it on Windows:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Download the latest version of Google Chrome to your computer.
  3. Open Settings -> Apps -> Apps & features.
  4. Find Google Chrome in the App list, expand the three dots menu, and click uninstall.
The Uninstall button for Google Chrome on Windows.
  1. After Chrome is successfully uninstalled, run the previously downloaded Chrome installer.

7. Disable Antivirus and Firewall

The purpose of antivirus and firewall programs is to protect your computer from security threats like viruses and malware. These programs regularly scan your files and network traffic for malicious activity and block them from infecting your computer.

However, antivirus and firewall programs are not perfect. Sometimes, they can block safe websites, preventing users from accessing them. Instead of opening the website normally, the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error may appear on your browser instead.

Temporarily disabling the antivirus and firewall might fix this error. That said, make sure that the website you’re trying to access is safe before you try this method.

Here’s how to disable the antivirus software and firewall on Windows if you’re using the default Windows Defender Firewall:

  1. Access Windows Security by going to Settings -> Privacy & security.
  2. Click Virus & threat protection.
  3. Under Virus & threat protection settings, select Manage settings.
  4. Switch off Real-time protection.
The Real-time protection switch on Windows.
  1. Go to Firewall & network protection.
  2. Open each network profile – domain network, private network, and public network and disable Microsoft Defender Firewall.
The Microsoft Defender Firewall switch on Windows.

If you’re using a macOS machine, follow these steps to turn off the built-in firewall temporarily:

  1. Click the Apple logo at the top left corner.
  2. Select System Preferences -> Security and Privacy.
  3. Select the Firewall tab to expand its settings.
  4. Click the lock icon and enter your username and password.
  5. Once it’s unlocked, select Turn off Firewall.
  6. Click the lock icon again to prevent further changes to the firewall settings.

If you use third-party antivirus and firewall software, the steps to disable it will be specific to the software. We recommend studying the software’s documentation to learn how to do it correctly.

Keep in mind that you should only disable your antivirus and firewall software temporarily. You risk getting viruses or malware if you keep them off. After trying this method, quickly restore the antivirus and firewall software to its original state.

8. Deactivate VPN

For many people, having a VPN is essential for ensuring their online privacy. A VPN lets users mask their actual IP address, making them appear to be browsing the internet from another location.

However, some VPNs might interfere with the connection and trigger the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error in Chrome. Deactivating the VPN temporarily may fix the issue.

Most VPN services make activating and deactivating VPN easy. For example, here’s how to deactivate NordVPN:

  1. Open the NordVPN client.
  2. Make sure you’re connected to a server and select Disconnect.
  3. Select how long you want to pause the VPN connection for.

Don’t forget to reconnect to the VPN once you’re done trying this method.

9. Clear Cache

The browser cache is where Chrome stores cookies, login data, and other information to speed up the website loading process and personalize the user experience.

It’s possible that your browser currently stores an outdated cache of the problematic website, triggering the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error. Clearing the browser cache will force your browser to fully reload the website’s data, updating the cache to its latest version.

Another way to quickly open a web page without using the existing cache is to open the website in incognito mode or use a different browser. If the error message still appears, go ahead and clear your browser cache in Chrome:

  1. Navigate to the three dots menu -> More tools -> Clear browsing data.
  2. In the Time range drop-down menu, select All time.
  3. Make sure that all the browsing data, including browsing history, cookies and other site data, and cached images and files are selected. Then, click Clear data.
The Clear browsing data settings in Google Chrome.

Try reaccessing the problematic website. If the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error message persists, proceed to the following method.

10. Flush DNS Cache

The browser cache is not the only place where website data is kept locally on the client’s computer. Every computer also stores a Domain Name System (DNS) resolver cache stored in the operating system rather than the browser.

Flushing the DNS cache will force your computer to redownload the latest DNS information of the website, which might fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error.

For Windows users, follow these steps to flush the DNS cache:

  1. Open the start menu and search for Command Prompt.
  2. Right-click it and select Run as administrator.
  3. Type in this command and press Enter:

netsh winsock reset catalog

  1. Next, type in the following DNS flush command and press Enter again:

ipconfig /flushdns

If you use macOS, here’s how to clear the DNS cache:

  1. Click the Spotlight Search button, search for Terminal, and open it.
  2. Type in the following command in Terminal and press Enter:

sudo dscacheutil -flushcache; sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder

  1. Enter your password when prompted to begin the DNS cache flush.

Once the DNS resolver cache is cleared, try to reaccess the problematic website and see if the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error message persists.

11. Configure Proxy Server Settings

Aside from VPNs, people also use proxy servers to protect their privacy online. A proxy server lets you browse under a different IP address and filter communication and cache data.

However, a proxy server can also cause connection issues like ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED.

There can be a variety of causes, such as incorrect proxy configuration, caching errors, or the web server blocking the proxy and the IP address attached to it. It’s also possible that the proxy you’re using has gone offline.

So, if you’re using a proxy, it’s worth checking whether its settings are correctly configured.

Here’s how to check proxy settings on a Windows system:

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Navigate to Network and Internet -> Internet Options -> Connections -> LAN Settings.
  3. Make sure to uncheck both Automatically detect settings and Use a proxy server for your LAN (These settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections).
The Local Area Network (LAN) Settings on Windows.
  1. Click OK.

If you use macOS, here’s how to access proxy settings and adjust them:

  1. Click the Apple logo -> System preferences.
  2. Open proxy settings in Network -> Advanced -> Proxies.
  3. Uncheck all selectable proxy protocols.
The Proxies settings in macOS.
  1. Click OK.

Once your proxy is disabled, try reloading the web page. If the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED persists, there’s one final method you can try.

12. Change DNS Server

An overloaded or inactive DNS server can be the culprit of ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED.

By default, every internet user uses their internet service provider’s (ISP) DNS server address. You’re free to change the DNS address if you need to.

To find out if your current DNS server is causing the problem, try changing your default DNS address to one of the following:

  • Google Public DNS: 8.8.8.8 or 8.8.4.4
  • Cloudflare DNS: 1.1.1.1 or 1.0.0.1
  • OpenDNS Home: 208.67.222.222 or 208.67.220.220
  • AdGuard DNS: 94.140.14.14 or 94.140.15.15
  • Quad9: 9.9.9.9 or 149.112.112.112

Here’s how to change your DNS settings on Windows:

  1. Open the Start menu -> Settings -> Network & internet.
  2. Select the internet connection you want to assign the new DNS to. In this tutorial, we’ll select Wi-Fi.
  3. Open Hardware properties.
  4. Next to DNS server assignment, click Edit.
  5. If it’s set to Automatic, change it to Manual.
  6. Choose the internet protocol version (IPv) that your ISP requires. Most ISPs use IPv4 by default, but some require IPv6 addresses.
  7. In this example, we’ll switch to Google Public DNS. Enable IPv4 and enter Google Public DNS’s Preferred DNS server and Alternate DNS server.
The Edit DNS Settings on Windows.
  1. Some DNSs are encrypted, which is better for security. To make sure encryption is enabled, choose Encrypted preferred, unencrypted allowed for each DNS address.
  2. Click Save.

Here’s how to change the DNS servers on macOS:

  1. Click the Apple logo -> System Preferences.
  2. Open Network.
  3. In the left sidebar, select the network you want to assign the new DNS to.
  4. After the network is selected, click Advanced.
  5. In the new window, open the DNS tab.
  6. Remove the existing DNS servers.
  7. Click + to add the new DNS server addresses.
  8. Enter your preferred public DNS address. In this example, we’ll use Google Public DNS.
The DNS settings on macOS.
  1. Click OK.

Unfortunately, custom public DNSs can run into problems as well. If you happen to use a custom DNS server already, try reverting to your ISP’s original DNS as this can sometimes fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error.

Conclusion

ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED is one of the connection errors that may appear in Chrome. It is usually a client-side issue with a number of possible causes, including an unreliable internet connection, Chrome extension issues, antivirus and firewall interference, and incorrect internet settings.

In this guide, we went over 11 methods to solve the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error:

  1. Check if the website is down or not. Use website status tools like Website Planet to make sure that the issue isn’t with the website’s server.
  2. Restart your network adapter. Turn off your router and turn it back on again after 10-30 seconds.
  3. Troubleshoot internet connection. Use the built-in internet troubleshooters provided by your operating system.
  4. Turn off synchronization to Google. In the Chrome browser settings, temporarily turn off Google synchronization which sometimes may cause the error.
  5. Check Google Chrome extensions. Try disabling outdated or problematic Chrome extensions.
  6. Reinstall Chrome. Reset Chrome to its default settings. If the error persists, try reinstalling it.
  7. Disable antivirus and firewall. Some antivirus and firewall software may wrongfully diagnose safe websites as dangerous. Temporarily disabling the software may solve the error.
  8. Deactivate VPN. VPNs may interfere with your connection – try temporarily disabling it.
  9. Clear cache. An outdated browser cache can cause connection errors. Navigate to Chrome’s settings to clear the browser cache.
  10. Flush DNS cache. An outdated or incompatible DNS cache can mess with connections as well. Use the command prompt or Terminal to flush the DNS cache.
  11. Configure proxy server settings. Issues with the proxy you use can cause the error. Try disabling it and see if the error persists.
  12. Change DNS server address. Try using another publicly available DNS or revert your custom DNS to your ISP’s original address.

We hope that one of the methods has helped you fix the ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED error. However, if the error message persists and it’s your website that experiences the error, we recommend contacting your hosting provider for help. We also suggest using secure web hosting to minimize any errors.

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Hasna Avni

Hasna is a Content Writer at Hostinger. With passion and knowledge in tech and digital marketing, she hopes to help people solve their problems and succeed. When not writing, she enjoys live music and overanalyzing movies.