Wednesday, 17 February 2021

How to fix a website browser display problem

When using a web browser, you can sometimes find that the browser is not displaying a particular website 'correctly'.

I quite often find that Chrome will sometimes insist on displaying a website page on my PC as if it was a mobile device and insists on using the mobile  '' URL site address rather than the desktop site URL. It can also display a dark theme (which I personally don't find easy to read) or display the site using a different theme or layout than is displayed on other devices or browsers. 

If I am browsing on a mobile device, the Chrome hamburger menu icon will often give me the option for 'Desktop site', but when using a desktop PC/notebook, this option is not available even if the mobile version of the website is being displayed by the browser.

Here are some things that I try:

  • Try a different browser
  • Try the Incognito tab
  • Delete/edit cookies for site
  • Deep-dive using F12

My first attempt to fix this is to try a different browser such as Windows Edge or Opera.

Next I open the same site in Chrome's Incognito mode (right-click on a URL link and choose 'Open on Incognito tab', or click on the Chrome hamburger menu bars and choose 'New incognito window Ctrl+Shift+N') - if the symptoms disappear or change, it is likely that the problem is caused by the cookies for that website which are stored by the browser.

You can view the cookies used for that site by clicking on the chrome URL padlock symbol in the address bar and clicking on 'Cookies', you can then select the Cookies sub-folder and use 'Remove' to delete some or all cookies associated with that site. AFAIK cookies are not normally 'synced' between devices.

Highlight the 'Cookies' folder and click on 'Remove'

If you use a Chrome-based browser, then a more convenient way to view, edit or delete cookies is to use the handy Chrome Extension tool 'EditThisCookie'.

Install the extension using 'More tools - Extensions' in Chrome menu

Click on the EditThisCookie extension's icon and then click the trash can to delete all cookies related to the current site...

Two clicks and they are gone!

To tinker further, you can hit F12 in Chrome and select a different size screen.

F12 allows you to change the device screen size and see how the web page reacts.

The F12 edit screen in Chrome allows you to directly inspect and edit the html code that is loaded and view the result of any changes you make. A typical scammer's trick is to take remote control of your system, blank your screen, and then quickly edit the browser page using F12 so that your bank account appears to have more money in it than it should because they 'accidentally' paid in too much - and then ask you to pay some of it back to them! (Jim Browning YT video).

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