This TechNote provides tips on how to troubleshoot general Contribute connection issues.

You can connect sometimes, but not always

If you connect even once, your settings are correct. When the same settings connect only part of the time, the reason is usually because the server goes offline or there is traffic on the network. Try connecting at a different time of day and contact the system administrator for the company hosting your site.

You cannot connect at all

Review your Contribute connection configuration under Edit > My Connections. Use the following questions to target your review.

  1. Is the web address entered correctly in the Connection wizard? URLs can be case sensitive.
  2. Is the name of your server entered correctly? Server addresses can be case sensitive.
  3. Are the login name and password entered correctly? These entries are case sensitive.
  4. This dialog box shows if Contribute cannot find the folder automatically. Are you sure of the folder name or path you entered in the FTP dialog box? Use the Browse or Choose button to find the web folder and click OK to let Contribute write the path.

  5. Make sure that site folder and filenames do not contain spaces or special characters. Special characters include ? * - & ^ % $ # or any non-alphanumeric character other than an underscore (file_name), which is acceptable.

    If you aren't sure of the folder settings, ask the server's administrator for assistance. Your administrator could call this folder the Host Directory.

Connection Errors

Follow these steps if you have tried all the suggestions above and are receiving connection errors or still cannot connect.

  1. Verify that your computer can access the network and that the server responds to network traffic
  • The instructions below assume that you use ping to check. Note: If the server doesn't respond, consult your system administrator.
  • To use ping to check your connection, open the command line terminal using the instructions below as appropriate for your platform. Then, type ping hostname (where hostname is the host address of the server). Press Enter or Return.

If the machine hostname responds to network traffic, the results are typically similar to the following:

Pinging hostname [] with 32 bytes of data:
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=255
Reply from bytes=32 time<10ms TTL=255

  • Open the Terminal on Mac OS X: From the desktop, go to Applications > Utilities, and open You see a command line prompt similar to the following: Welcome to Darwin! [localhost:~] dr_unix
  • Open the Command Prompt on Windows: Click Start in the Windows toolbar, then choose Run. Type cmd (Windows XP, 2000, or NT) or dosprmpt (Windows ME and 98) in the Run dialog box and click OK. Note: Contribute 3 is not supported on Windows ME.
  1. Try connecting to your server using another application or method

    To verify your connection settings, it's a good idea to try connecting to your server using another application or method outside Contribute.

    If you do not have the information or knowledge to follow the above directions, contact your site administrator for assistance.

    • FTP: To test an FTP connection, use the command line or a third-party FTP client. Several FTP clients are available for free or as shareware on the Internet. WS_FTP is a common FTP client for Windows.
    • WebDav: Use Goliath or DAV Explorer to test a WebDav connection outside Contribute.
    • LAN (Local Network): Try browsing to your site through the network. On Windows, you can map a network drive or using the Run command found in the Windows Startup menu. To use the Run command, go to Start > Run and type the path to your server directory. For example, \\yourservername\yourdirectory. On the Macintosh platform, you can use  connect to server.
  2. Use the Connection Information dialog box's Advanced settings

    Click the Advanced button next to the "How do you connect to your web server?" field in the Connection Information dialog box.

    • If you cannot see the folders on the server when you click the Browse button, try toggling the Passive Mode checkbox. (If it is deselected, select it. If it is selected it, deselect it.)
    • If you are behind a firewall, check the Use firewall/proxy settings when connecting checkbox. Then, click Firewall Settings or Proxy Settings to enter firewall information. Ask your local network administrator for assistance with these settings.
  3. Check the server permissions

    A server is a computer that users share. To prevent people from interfering with other users' files, different read, write, and execute permissions are given to every user or group of users for different files and folders. Different levels of permissions can be set for files or folders.

    Make sure that all Contribute site files and folders have read and write permissions set. One possible reason for permission denied is an insufficient set of permissions for your account. Contact the system administrator for the company hosting your site for more information.

Note: For detailed information on settings in the Connection wizard, see "Connecting to a website" in the Contribute Help menu.

The Connection Failure dialog box appears when connected to a network

Occasionally, the Connection Failure dialog box appears even though you are connected to an active network connection. This issue sometimes occurs when Contribute is installed on a computer with other applications that regularly access the network.

Click OK to close the Connection Failure dialog box. If the Connection Failure dialog box continues to appear, verify that your computer is connected to the network. If you are using a dial-up connection, check that you have successfully established a dial-up connection.

If Contribute is disconnected but doesn't display the Connection Failure dialog box, Contribute attempts to connect to the first of your website connections. If it fails, and there are more websites to which to connect, Contribute displays a Connection Failure dialog box. The dialog asks whether you want to continue trying to connect to the remaining sites.

If you click Yes, Contribute displays the same dialog box for each website (provided you click Yes each time). If you click No, Contribute disables the remaining sites. Again, Contribute automatically connects to the first of your sites. If you only have one website connection defined, the Connection Failure dialog box isn't displayed. If you are disconnected from the network. and want to work offline, but Contribute doesn't display the Connection Failure dialog box or Working Offline page, choose File > Work Offline.

The Dial-up dialog box is displayed when connected to the network

By default, the Internet Explorer browser is configured to automatically dial a network connection if a connection is not present. In some instances, Contribute attempts to dial a network connection when it's launched. To prevent this issue from occurring, you can update the Internet Explorer connection settings to never dial up a network connection. Follow the steps below to disable dial-up networking in Internet Explorer

  1. If it is not already running, launch Internet Explorer.
  2. Choose Tools > Internet Options. The Internet Options dialog box is displayed.
  3. Click the Connections tab.
  4. Under Dial-up settings, select either "Never dial a connection" or "Dial whenever a network connection is not present."
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click OK..

Contribute reports that the user is not in a valid permission group

This issue can occur if the administrator deletes the permission group the user belonged to. If you created your own connection, you can launch the Connection wizard. Then, create a connection and select a valid permission group in which to belong. If you used a connection key, you can request a new connection key from your administrator containing correct connection information.

Unable to view the My Connections dialog box

If you cannot view the My Connections dialog box or edit your connections, Contribute could be in offline mode. Verify that you are connected by choosing File > Work Offline and deselect the Work Offline option if necessary.

Can't move to the next panel in the Connection wizard

If you are unable to navigate to the next screen of the Connection wizard, the connection information could have been incorrectly entered. Verify that you have correctly entered the website URL and network path. If both of these items are correct, verify that the website is online using your computers web browser.

Connection wizard can't locate the remote folder

When you enter FTP connection information into Contribute, the Connection wizard verifies that the FTP folder is the same folder that contains your websites files. If these folder paths don't match, Contribute is unable to write to the page displayed by your browser. For this reason, your FTP folder must have proper read/write access.

To ensure that the website and FTP folder are the same, Contribute uploads a temporary file using the FTP host information you provide. The Connection wizard uses the sites URL to "guess" the FTP path. Contribute then attempts to read the temporary file via HTTP using the site URL you provided. If Contribute succeeds in locating the temporary file and the paths match, the Connection wizard creates the connection.

If the paths don't match, the Connection wizard prompts you for the correct FTP path. To ensure that you are entering the correct FTP path, use the Connection wizard's Browse or Choose button to locate and select the FTP folder. If you cannot see the folders on the server when you click the Browse button, try toggling Passive Mode checkbox. This option is in the previous screen, so it's necessary to click the Back button to open the Advanced Options dialog. If Passive FTP is deselected, select it. If it is selected, deselect it.

If the path to the folder is correct, ensure that the folder has the proper read/write permissions for the user. If you are creating an anonymous FTP account, it's necessary to configure the server to support delete, rename, and overwrite privileges for the anonymous user.

Contribute freezes when sending a connection key

If you use a web-based mail program (such as Hotmail or Yahoo!), or a mail client that Contribute can't recognize, the Export Connection wizard freezes if you try to automatically attach and send the connection key via email. To prevent this issue, save the connection key to your local computer and manually attach it to an email message that you create using your email client.

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