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Why won't my login work?

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Why won't my login work?
I get that question a lot.

I know. It's very frustrating when you think you're entering the correct login credentials (username and password) to a login screen but are denied access.

Sometimes, alas, you've done nothing wrong; it's the server's fault.

But sometimes it's an itty bitty user error that causes the problem.

Here are the 3 most common user errors resulting in login failure — and their solutions:

  1. Case Sensitivity

  2. Invisible Spaces

  3. Browser Memory

Case Sensitivity


Most logins are case-sensitive. An uppercase "A" is not equal to a lowercase "a". Make sure you're typing the credentials in the proper case.

Invisible Spaces


If you've used your computer's (usually) trusty Copy/Paste function, you may very well have allowed an invisible trailing (or sometimes leading) space character to enter the mix and mess things up.

Double-check usernames by putting your pointer's insertion point in the username box after entering your username. Look for a space in front of the username; if it's there, delete it. To find a space at the end of your username, get your pointer to the end of the entry. If it doesn't line up immediately to the right of the last visible character, delete the stray space(s).

Of course, password boxes, whose input is generally masked with asterisks, can't be trouble-shot in this way. You could count the asterisks, but that wouldn't tell you where any stray space characters are located. If you used Copy/Paste for your password, first paste it into a word-processing document and look for stray spaces as described above.

Browser Memory


This is very common.

If you have logged into the same domain recently — even if it was for a different area of the Web site, your browser may be remembering the last username and/or the last password you entered into the boxes. Don't trust those — especially that masked password. Re-enter the new credentials.

I hope this helps!

PS: On some servers, multiple unsuccessful login attempts within a short time period will automatically result in getting you (actually, anyone with your IP address) banned from the domain entirely. If this happens, contact your Web firm (providing your IP address), and the ban can be removed.
Jeff Cohan
Metro Atlanta-based nSiteful Web Builders is a full-service Web design & development firm. We have designed and built (and continue to maintain) Web sites and Web applications for businesses and organizations representing a variety of industries all over the country.

nSiteful specializes in dynamic, database-driven Web sites and Web applications for small and medium-size businesses and organizations for whom a robust, professional and compelling Web presence is instrumental to their sales, marketing, customer service and operational strategies.

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Metro Atlanta-based nSiteful Web Builders, Inc. is a full-service Web design & development firm. We design, build and maintain Web sites and Web applications for businesses and organizations in a variety of industries all over the country.
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