Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How to Log In Properly to the Web Site: 15 General Recommendations

"Your Password or Username is Invalid. Please Try Again."

“Sorry, the member name and password you entered do not match. Please try again.”

“Invalid ID or password.”

I bet, you have seen these and other similar error messages multiple times. You try again and again, and the stupid server does not want to recognize you. How frustrating and depressing! In some cases, the problem is real, and is caused by the mess in the service database, or by the server being completely down. There is nothing you can do in this cases, but patiently wait until it will be up again. But, sometimes, the problem is on our side and its resolution is within our troubleshooting capabilities. Several recommendations for the case investigation are presented below:

  1. Make sure that you are using the correct login information. If you have multiple online accounts, you might forget the correct one for this particular site. It is recommended to use password manager for logins preservation (as browser built-in, as third party like Roboform).
  2. Verify that your CAPS LOCK key is OFF as, in most cases, login information is case sensitive. In many keyboards, there is the monitoring led, showing the status of the CAPS LOCK key. Please, put attention that the it is disabled.
  3. Do not copy and paste your password or username into the text boxes again and again. Stop, and type it manually.
  4. Retype your login information, carefully proofreading all the data inputted. The most common mistakes are related to use of the dot key instead of comma key, or neighboring letters accidental substitution on the keyboard.
  5. Use your mouse cursor to move from one login field to another, instead of using the Tab key. This way, you can better control the proper information filling as per site requirements.
  6. Avoid hitting the Submit or Log In buttons more than once with your mouse. While using keyboard, hit Enter key just once as well.
  7. Wait patiently until your login is properly completed, before you do anything else on your computer. I know that the computer operator is usually multi-tasking. he will rush forward, with no particular patience to wait for the login completion. It is fine for you, when it is fine. But, in most cases, when you badly need to login, and you can’t, you will be ready to do whatever needed to get in and show any degree of the patience needed. So, after hitting the login request, do not touch anything on the keyboard, do not touch or move your mouse, do not switch to another screen, window, or program, and do not open any new applications.
  8. Do not connect any external hardware devices and do not insert DVD or Floppy, while in the process of logging in. Do not use your RAM for side operations.
  9. Nothing helps - close all browser windows, and restart the browser.
  10. Security settings of your browser might be too tight to enable your login. Set your browser security to its default settings and try again.
  11. Many web sites use cookies to identify registered users. If you have disabled cookies on your computer, you will not be able to login. So, change this setting in your browser.
  12. If cookies, for some reason, have not been properly accepted, you might have problem of being logged out of your account as soon as you move to a different page, or you might be completely unable to login. Delete your cookies: close all browser windows, find the "cookies" directory, and delete the cookie files inside. Or, use any of the special software to clean cookies safely.
  13. In some cases, you might need to clear your browser’s cache to refresh the content of the recently visited web pages.
  14. And the last generic recommendation: perform the “cold” computer reboot. Shut down your computer, wait for 5 minutes, and turn it back again.
  15. If the problem persists, for further investigation, you can try to login to your account using a different browser, or from another computer. At least, you will be clear if the problem is server or your personal account related, or it can be linked to your computer and settings. Remember also, that in some servers there is a limited amount of attempts you can make entering incorrect login. You will not be able to login, if the you try to input the correct login after that for safety reasons. Call to the company tech support and clear the issue.

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