Troubleshooting A Library Database Connection

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This article is out of date. For an updated version,
please visit the page Accessing Academic Databases.

Trying to connect to one of the library databases off-campus? Experiencing issues with the links or having pages not load? This post will review common troubleshooting tips to get you connected. Try the steps below to troubleshoot potential issues. If you still experience issues after following the steps below, please follow our additional help info at the bottom of this article.

1. Disconnect From a VPN Connection

You may be connected to a VPN service that interferes with certain networks. It is also possible that your VPN service also has its own DNS records that may interfere with the library database links. For troubleshooting we recommend disconnecting from any VPN connections. Steps on disconnecting from any VPN service can be found below.


  1. Open the settings app. Tap Network & internet > Advanced > VPN.
  2. If you see an entry, tap on the entry that says “Connected”.
    If you do not see any entries, you do not have a VPN connection! You can stop here.
  3. In the pop-up, click “Disconnect”. Done! You may want to reboot your phone for optimal results.


  1. From the Settings app, tap on “General”.
  2. From the listed options, tap on “VPN”.
  3. Toggle the active (if any) VPN connection to “Not Connected”. Done! You may want to reboot your phone for optimal results.

For other operating systems, please visit this help article on disconnecting:
Short URL:

2. Clear Your Computer’s Cache

Sometimes your personal device will store a record of a website to save time when revisiting the site. This record can sometimes get outdated, which causes issues. Due to a few recent changes in the database links, your personal device may have an outdated record. Steps to clear your Cache on most computers can be found below.

Windows Computer:

  1. Click the Windows start button and type “cmd” into the search. Click on the “Command Prompt” listing.
  2. In the new window, type in the following: ipconfig /flushdns and press enter.
  3. Done! Restart your PC for optimal results.

Android & Google Chrome Browser:

  1. Open Google Chrome
  2. In the URL bar on the top of the screen, type in “chrome://net-internals”.
  3. Tap on the “DNS” option in the left-side menu and click the “Clear host cache” button.
  4. Done! Restart Google Chrome for optimal results.

iOS and iPadOS:

  1. Open the Settings app on your device.
  2. Tap “General
  3. Tap “Reset
  4. Look for the option to “Reset Network Settings” and tap on the option.
  5. Done! Your device should automatically reboot. This will apply the changes.


  1. Open the Terminal application on your MacOS device. This can be found in your launchpad.
  2. In the Terminal window, type the following depending on your OS:
    1. High Sierra & Sierra:
      sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder;sudo killall mDNSResponderHelper;sudo dscacheutil -flushcache
    1. El Capitan:
      sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder
  3. Press “Enter”. You may be prompted for a password, which is your login password for the device.
  4. Done! Restart your MacOS device for optimal results.

With almost every major MacOS version the instructions to flush DNS Cache are different. For simplicity instructions for Sierra and El Capitan are shown above. See this article for help on all versions:

3. Install and Use the Firefox Web Browser

Some web browsers have difficulty connecting to the SHU database links. IT services has found that Firefox seems to resolve these links without issue. If you continue experiencing problems after the first two steps listed above, try downloading Firefox and accessing the links in that web browser. You can download the web browser from Mozilla’s official website here:

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