Internal site has recently been redesigned, but IE8 does not seem to be loading the new css rules only when viewed via VPN. I really have no clue what to look for.

I can't reproduce the problem, but it's apparently affecting client for the last month.

I've suggested:

  • Reloading IE8
  • Checking Internet
  • Permissions
  • Flushing the cache

I'm not really certain what direction to search for the answer. Is it likely to be a server permissions issue? a VPN connection issue? a rare ie8 CSS bug?

  • 1
    It sounds like something is caching the CSS file between your client and the server (a proxy cache, for example). Have you tried appending a version number to your CSS file to force all caches to fetch the new file? e.g. <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="style.css?v=2" />
    – Nick
    Sep 1 '11 at 17:13
  • 1
    Long weekend here, so may not hear back from the client for a few days.
    – Dreamling
    Sep 1 '11 at 19:42
  • 1
    This did not seem to fix the issue. I'm having the client email me the rendered source and also double check permissions and privacy settings again.
    – Dreamling
    Sep 7 '11 at 16:47

I finally got to the bottom of this issue. Here's what I did.

If you can't reproduce an error, try to see what the client sees.

I had the client email me rendered page output and noticed strange variables inserted all over in and around the JavaScript and other file addresses.

A quick Google showed me those vars point to firewall issues.

Check location is not just (Site Name) but actual (Site URL).

I then asked her what the URL she was using, and the URL had the same strange variables in it too.

Ok, so the URL was setting the variable in the first place, for the firewall to accept.

I had her use the proper URL and the page seems to work correctly!

I'll have to dig into the firewall to make sure the site filters correctly, but I'm 100% certain that is the issue, and now I can actually find the solution.

It will likely end up being a combination of firewall settings and client education.

The biggest issue was not knowing which direction to search. You helped me rule out some other possible scenarios.

Thank you all for your views and ideas.

  • 1
    Well done for figuring it out, and thanks for coming back to post your solution.
    – Nick
    Sep 8 '11 at 6:25

I KNOW this is an old post but... this might help somebody. IE typically handles local .CSS at a lower priority than .CSS that is remotely hosted. This is on a computer. Computers are used to automate repetative processes, perhaps preventing the need to "educate" ALL users? To take FULL control of .CSS on IE if javascript is enabled, see: http://www.phpied.com/user-stylesheet-in-ie/


IE browser must load CSS the first thing in the browser. If there is any type of output that is coming into the page either because of PHP Script or HTML, it will not load the CSS. Can you look into the code and see if there can be a situation like this? Not really familiar with VPN though.

  • Hmm, it doesn't seem to be the case (though I will keep it in mind for other projects). It's strange, the site looks fine on site, in network using the same laptop.
    – Dreamling
    Sep 2 '11 at 15:14

I had this issue very recently and found an alternative solution - I purchased and deployed a SSL certificate through my web host. As soon as I did that (and flushed the cache, of course) the stylesheet was no longer broken.

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