Error contacting surver

Case number:671076-2004768
Opened by:sfuchs33
Opened on:Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 17:41
Last modified:Friday, February 23, 2018 - 18:50

As part of my Biochemistry course I'm having my students explore Foldit and many of them (as well as me) have been getting "Error contacting server" messages whenever we try to logon for the past week or so. Is there a particular reason we might be having trouble? and do you have any suggestions for how to get around this?

(Sun, 02/04/2018 - 17:41  |  7 comments)

Susume's picture
User offline. Last seen 8 hours 44 min ago. Offline
Joined: 10/02/2011

We had a new player in chat today who had completed the tutorials and some of the beginner puzzles and wanted to play science puzzles. They could not see any science puzzles in their puzzle list (probably because the game client that downloads from the web page is out of date) and when they restarted the client (which should trigger a client update) they also got the "error contacting server" error and were unable to finish the update. Loci tried installing from the web page and then updating and did not get the error (and got the complete update), so it is not universal, but it is apparently affecting multiple people.

Maybe it would be a good idea to put an up-to-date client on the web page for installation? That does not necessarily address the "error contacting server" issue though.

Joined: 12/27/2012
Groups: Beta Folders

The "error contacting server" problem sounds like a network issue, maybe a VPN, firewall, or proxy server problem.

If you're connected to a VPN, try disconnecting before starting Foldit.

On the firewall front, check with your network people to see whether is on some kind of blacklist. I haven't heard of that being an issue, but you never know, maybe ".it" is red flag for someone. Foldit is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), so addresses like are also in play.

For proxies, there's a "connect using proxy" checkbox on the logon screen, which lets you enter a proxy server address. Not sure how prevalent proxy servers are these days, but you might be able to find the magic URL in your browser settings or Internet Options.

I don't think this is related your problem, but see the wiki for a description of how to apply an update manually:

Joined: 12/27/2012
Groups: Beta Folders

For what's it's worth, looks like someone from Tufts made it in:

[21:07][OtPop2018] TuftsBio152-2018

That was the extent of the communication, but it's better than nothing.

That was on the #global IRC channel, 6 Feb 2018 at 21:07 CST. OtPop2018 isn't showing up as a registered user yet, but it takes a few days for that to happen. So perhaps someone figured something out?

jflat06's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 hours 15 min ago. Offline
Joined: 09/29/2010
Groups: Window Group

It's hard to speculate what may be going on without having a bit more information.

When did you initially download Foldit? When was the last time it successfully updated?

I also agree that there's the potential for networking issues if your traffic is being filtered somehow by your school.

Joined: 12/27/2012
Groups: Beta Folders

Based on messages in chat, some players are still getting these "error contacting server" messages when starting Foldit. No one from the "TuftsBio152 – 2018" group has been able to get in, which is what started this thread a couple of weeks ago.

If you're having these problems, please post the file log.txt here. It's located in the directory where Foldit is installed, for example c:\foldit\log.txt. There may also be a debug.txt in the same directory, please include that as well. Let us know what platform you're on (Windows, Mac, or Linux).

Since these problems seem to be network-related, let us know approximately where you are and who your internet service provider is. In the case of the Tufts group, it seems like something on the university's network doesn't like Foldit. Maybe other providers likewise "have issues" with the game for unknown reasons.

If anyone feels like doing some detective work, try checking the logs for your antivirus or firewall software. In the past, some antivirus software has flagged Foldit due to its Internet Relay Chat (IRC) components, which is basically a false positive. Antivirus problems normally keep the game from starting up at all, but some antivirus software can also monitor and block network traffic.

From my point of view as a player, the game has been running smoothly in 2018. The chat server occasionally drops, but nothing like the prolonged outages we had a few weeks back. I've had a couple of "error contacting server" messages, but the problems have only lasted a few minutes. It would be helpful to get reports of any more prolonged problems.

Joined: 12/27/2012
Groups: Beta Folders

One more idea: if you're working on the Intro Puzzles, just use the "Play Offline" button when the game starts.

The Intro Puzzles are self-contained. There are no scoreboards, and nothing gets uploaded or downloaded. Your progress on the intro puzzles is stored locally, in a file on your computer. (The file is digitally signed, so there's no cheating.)

The only limitation is that you don't get access to chat while playing offline. You can still connect using an external IRC client, but you won't be able to upload screenshots easily.

See for more on playing offline.

See for help with the intro puzzles if you don't have chat access.

Thanks to Bruno Kestemont for pointing out the intro puzzles don't need to be played online.

jflat06's picture
User offline. Last seen 3 hours 15 min ago. Offline
Joined: 09/29/2010
Groups: Window Group

I can understand Foldit's IRC traffic getting filtered, but it is a bit odd for the rest of it. All of the rest of the communications just go through http, so if you're able to use a browser with the website, the game should work too. It could be that some antivirus software is flagging the whole application.


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