My IP address has been banned and I can't read forum posts
Q | I like reading the forums on the Money Saving Expert website, though I very rarely post. Recently, though, when I visited the website a message appeared telling me that my IP address had been banned. I have no idea what that means but it seems I can no longer read the forum messages. I can’t imagine what I’ve done wrong and, while I’d like to post a question to ask, I obviously can’t do that. Do you have any ideas?
A It is up to websites how they scrutinise posts and enforce their usage policies - and in some cases that may mean forum moderators deciding to ban particular users.
One way of doing this is to prevent offenders logging in using their existing credentials. However, this isn’t effective because it is simple for someone to create a new username and password, log in and continue whatever abuses led to the original ban. For this reason, some forums take the more extreme measure of banning connections from a particular IP address - this is a unique number issued by your internet service provider (ISP) to identify your computer (or router).
Blocking visitors this way is more effective but also something of a blunt tool: disconnect from your ISP for any length of time and you will likely be issued with a new IP address when you reconnect - and this may point to the cause of your problem. If you recently turned off your router overnight, for example, and switched it on again in the morning, it may have been issued a new IP by your ISP. Some ISPs do issue static IP addresses, which never change. However, they are in the minority and most issue dynamic addresses. But each ISP has only a limited ‘stock’ of IPs, so they get passed between customers - meaning you may have picked up an IP address from a different Money Saving Expert (MSE) forum user who got themselves banned.
There are numerous ways to deal with this situation. One option would be to email the MSE webmaster, explain the situation and ask for the ban on your IP address to be lifted, click here to find out your IP address. Alternatively, obtain a new IP address from your ISP: you can do this by switching off the router for a few hours, before reconnecting. However, some IP addresses can prove ‘sticky’. Even if the ISP issues them dynamically, it may take a few attempts until you get a new one.
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