Opened 7 years ago

Closed 10 months ago

Last modified 8 months ago

#10864 closed enhancement (duplicate)

Please create a specific “Unable to connect” page

Reported by: lunar Owned by: tbb-team
Priority: Medium Milestone:
Component: Applications/Tor Browser Version:
Severity: Normal Keywords: tbb-usability-stoppoint-navigation, tbb-branding, tbb-helpdesk-frequent, tbb-torbutton
Cc: gk, brade, sajolida@…, arthuredelstein, mcs Actual Points:
Parent ID: Points:
Reviewer: Sponsor:


The support help desk is kept busy with messages like “I can't connect to aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.onion” when the problem is that the hidden service is simply down.
Our default answer is currently in the like of “Can you connect to the Tor Project's website through http://idnxcnkne4qt76tg.onion/ ? Then Tor is working and that hidden service is simply down. We have no control over it anyway.”

It would probably be good to try to improve the “Unable to connect” page to help
users understand what's happening when they can't reach a hidden service.

The current “Unable to connect” page says:

Unable to connect

Firefox can't establish a connection to the server at aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.onion.

  • The site could be temporarily unavailable or busy. Try again in a few moments.
  • If you are unable to load any pages, check your computer's network connection.
  • If your computer or network is protected by a firewall or proxy, make sure that TorBrowser is permitted to access the Web.

The first statement is misleading for hidden services. This is likely due to the different behaviour of hidden services: without Tor, Firefox issues DNS lookups first and by default will not display this page when a domain is unresolvable. It will only display it after the resolution, when trying to connect to the IP address. For hidden services, we can't make the difference, and we might want to make that clearer.

The last statement is confusing no matter what. At this stage, we know if the Tor Browser is able to reach the Tor network or not, so it might make sense to simply remove it.

This ticket is also related to #8000.

Child Tickets

Change History (14)

comment:1 Changed 7 years ago by lunar

Oh, I forgot to point out that “Firefox can't establish…” is confusing too. It should say “The Tor Browser“ or “Tor Browser” instead.

comment:2 Changed 7 years ago by gk

Cc: gk added

comment:3 Changed 7 years ago by gk

Keywords: tbb-usability added

comment:4 Changed 7 years ago by gk

Keywords: tbb-helpdesk-frequent added

comment:5 Changed 6 years ago by mikeperry

Keywords: tbb-branding added

comment:6 Changed 6 years ago by brade

Cc: brade added

comment:7 Changed 6 years ago by erinn

Component: TorBrowserButtonTor Browser
Keywords: tbb-torbutton added
Owner: changed from mikeperry to tbb-team

comment:8 Changed 6 years ago by mikeperry

Keywords: tbb-usability-stoppoint-navigation added; tbb-usability removed

comment:9 Changed 6 years ago by sajolida

Cc: sajolida@… added

The Tails would also be interested in customized error messages, the two use cases we have in mind so far are:

  • When starting Tor Browser when Tor is not ready yet, the error message is something like "unable to connect, the proxy server is refusing connection". Which could instead make it clear that Tor is not started yet. (The term "proxy" here is confusing because the user might think about a normal HTTP proxy, and not about Tor.) I understand that this screen is not supposed to appear in Tor Browser because Tor Launcher would catch this. But the code for that could be upstream with no harm, right?
  • When trying to access blocked network ressources. For example, we are considering disabling LAN traffic from Tor Browser, and moving that to the Unsafe Browser only. See I think that Tor Browser also blocks LAN as I see an "unable to connect" error message. Maybe that one could be made better for both Tor Browser and Tails?

How would we go about that? Write that in an extension? In Torbutton?

comment:10 Changed 6 years ago by arthuredelstein

Cc: arthuredelstein added

comment:11 Changed 6 years ago by mcs

Cc: mcs added

comment:12 Changed 3 years ago by teor

Severity: Normal

Set all open tickets without a severity to "Normal"

comment:13 Changed 10 months ago by gk

Resolution: duplicate
Status: newclosed

We are implementing that as part of S27 over in #19251. Resolving as duplicate.

sajolida: This ticket is specific about .onion service errors. Does your comment still reflect Tails' needs here? If so, could you open a new ticket for that? Thanks!

comment:14 Changed 8 months ago by sajolida

Thanks for keeping Tails in mind :)

Our needs are different indeed but specific to Tails I think. So I won't create a ticket for this on your bug tracker. We'll get back to you in case we need your help to implement our #8061(

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