“Internet Explorer was not able to open this Internet site. The requested site is either unavailable or cannot be found. Please try again later.”

Seen this before? I have, and I recall it being a bug on IE6. I may have even worked around it in the distant past (and forgotten what I did) but recently I’ve had this error message again.

However, this time I was alarmed to find that IE7 was suffering this error when trying to download a file from a webpage. Previously I understood that I had this problem when trying to download on IE6 over https – still a problem but at least it is only affecting a much smaller % of users.

Few places seem to document a definite solution, only suggesting what ‘sort’ of thing may be causing it. There may be other reasons, but in my case (and I suspect the majority of cases) it is an error caused by IE6/7 (perhaps other versions too?) incorrectly interpreting a header sent when a php session is started. The reason a php session may be started when trying to download a file is of course if you’re pulling the file dynamically out of a database. This problem also only seems to happen over https.

The Solution

Anyway, after a bit of digging I found a solution. Add the following code to your php script before the session is started:


This did the trick for me solving problems on IE6 and IE7. I’ll leave this note for future reference and anyone else with the same problem!

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