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Troubleshooting "Cannot connect to server" Errors in RealPlayer G2, 7, and 8

When using RealPlayer G2, 7, or 8, you may receive one of the following errors:

  • "Cannot connect to server"
  • "Unable to connect to server"
  • "Unable to establish connection to server"
  • "Check network transport settings or run auto-configure"
  • "The RealPlayer was not able to successfully connect to a server for playback"
  • "Cannot connect to server, the link you requested may be inaccurate or out of date"

These problems are often the result of a configuration problem in RealPlayer or a connection issue. Reconfiguring RealPlayer or troubleshooting your Internet connection can solve most instances of these problems.

Solutions
Do one or more of the following:

Solution 1
You may receive the error message "Cannot connect to server, the link you requested may be inaccurate or out of date" when you try to access content that has been removed from the Internet by the content provider. If you can access other media links (content) on a site, this is most likely the cause of the problem. Please report the problem to the site administrator.

Although we monitor the default content links within the current RealPlayer version, individual content providers can remove content at any time. If you notice missing content in Channels, Live Stations, Radio Tuner, or Take5, please report the problem to RealNetworks using the feedback form at the following location:

Solution 2
When trying to use the RealPlayer AutoUpdate feature (Help > Check for Update), you may receive an "Unable to establish connection to server" error message.

To correct this problem, try using the AutoUpdate feature at an alternate time during the day. This problem typically occurs during "peak hours" when network traffic is highest.

Solution 3
When you click a Link, a Channel or a Preset, you receive "Unable to connect to server" or "Check network transport settings or run auto-configure" errors.

To correct this problem, use the RealPlayer AutoConfigure feature before attempting to play content:

RealPlayer G2:

  1. Start RealPlayer G2.
  2. Click the Option menu and choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Transport tab.
  4. Click "Automatically select best transport".
  5. Click the Auto Configure button.
  6. Click the OK button in the following dialog window.

RealPlayer 7 & 8:

  1. Start RealPlayer 7 or 8.
  2. Click the View menu and choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Transport tab.
  4. Click "Automatically select best transport".
  5. Click the Auto Configure button.
  6. Click the OK button in the following dialog window.
Once AutoConfigure is complete, RealPlayer will use the most efficient network transport method for your Internet connection.

Solution 4
If you receive an error message about a network firewall when you try to play content with RealPlayer, or if you are unsure if a network firewall is preventing you from playing content, check with your Network Manager or Internet Service Provider (ISP).

For instructions on configuring RealPlayer to work with a network firewall, visit the following RealNetworks web page:

Note: If you are connecting to the Internet via AOL, MSN, EarthLink, Sympatico, MindSpring, Netcom, Sprynet, CompuServe, Prodigy Internet, or another common ISP, you should not need to configure RealPlayer for use with a firewall.

Solution 5
If you receive a "Cannot connect to server" error after you click a link on a web page, the delivery protocol for the content may be configured incorrectly.

As a workaround, try setting the RealPlayer transport method to HTTP Only:

RealPlayer G2:

  1. Start RealPlayer G2.
  2. Click the Option menu and choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Transport tab.
  4. Click "Use Specified Transports".
  5. Click the RTSP Settings button, then click "HTTP Only".
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click the PNA Settings button, then click "HTTP Only".
  8. Click OK, then click OK again.

RealPlayer 7 & 8:

  1. Start RealPlayer 7 or 8.
  2. Click the View menu and choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Transport tab.
  4. Click "Use Specified Transports".
  5. Click the RTSP Settings button, then click "HTTP Only".
  6. Click OK.
  7. Click the PNA Settings button, then click "HTTP Only".
  8. Click OK, then click OK again.

Solution 6
When you use RealPlayer while connected to America Online (AOL), you may receive one of the following errors:

  • "Unable to connect to the server"
  • "Cannot connect to server"

These errors typically happen for one of the following reasons:

  1. AOL has an "idle timer" feature that automatically disconnects you if you have not used your computer while connected to AOL for a predetermined amount of time. You will receive a "Cannot connect to server" error message if AOL has terminated your connection and you try to access the Internet with RealPlayer.

    If this occurs, you must reconnect to AOL. Once you have reconnected to AOL, you can access content with RealPlayer.

  2. When you install RealPlayer and use AOL 4.0 or 5.0 to connect to the Internet, RealPlayer may configure itself to use your web browser's HTTP proxy settings.

    As a workaround for this problem, reconfigure RealPlayer so it does not use the HTTP proxy settings.

    RealPlayer G2:

    1. Start RealPlayer G2.
    2. Click the Option menu and choose Preferences.
    3. Click the Proxy tab.
    4. Select the "No HTTP Proxy" check box in the HTTP Options section.
    5. Click OK.
    6. Restart RealPlayer.

    RealPlayer 7 & 8:

    1. Start RealPlayer 7 or 8.
    2. Click the View menu and choose Preferences.
    3. Click the Proxy tab.
    4. Click the "No HTTP Proxy" check box in the HTTP Options section.
    5. Click OK.
    6. Restart RealPlayer.

  3. Some AOL access levels prohibit RealPlayer from connecting to content for playback. If your screen name has restricted access levels (i.e., Parental Controls), you must remove access restrictions on the affected AOL screen name.

    To change the AOL Parental Control settings:

    1. Start AOL.
    2. Click the "My AOL" menu and choose "Screen Names".
    3. Click Edit Parental Controls Settings in the Parental Controls section of the AOL Screen Names dialog box.
    4. Select the Screen Name you want to change.
    5. Click the General Access (18+) button and click Accept New Category.
    6. Click OK.

    The Parental Controls feature allows parents to assign specific levels of access to each screen name, or edit existing settings on AOL. For more information on AOL parental controls, visit the following web site:

Solution 7
Using MindSpring as your Internet Service Provider with Windows 95 or Windows 98, you constantly receive the "Cannot connect to server" error.

The current MindSpring NTSI Winsock is incompatible with RealPlayer. To solve this problem, you must install Windows Dial Up Networking (DUN) and reinstall RealPlayer.

The MindSpring installer attempts to configure DUN on your system, however, you may need to configure DUN manually.

To configure DUN manually, refer to the instructions in the "How to setup Win95 Dialup Networking (DUN)" support document on the following MindSpring web page:

DUN replaces the MindSpring access panel.

When connecting to the Internet through MindSpring, you can access Netscape, MS Internet Explorer, Eudora, etc. through DUN. MindSpring provides extensive technical support and help pages though their site at the following location:

What to do if these solutions do not help

If you continue to have problems after trying these solutions, please contact RealNetworks Technical Support for further assistance. Please note in your email that you have tried all the relevant solutions on this page.