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Got Problems?

Quick first things to try

  1. Make sure zoom/magnification is at 100% (first section below)
  2. Switch browsers just to eliminate the possibility it's something with your browser setup (also more below)

Cards messed up, layout issues, stuck cards

Most browsers support a magnification (zoom) feature which can cause strange layout problems. The game only supports being run at the default standard magnification (zoom) of 100%.

Hold the Ctrl key and hit 0 (zero) to return to the default 100% zoom

Many browsers support holding the Ctrl key and pressing plus or minus to increase or decrease the zoom or the "zero" key to reset to standard 100%. Or on Chrome, for example, there are three dots up top right which bring up a settings menu. Click on the three dots and you'll see Zoom, its current setting, and have the ability to bump it up or down or reset to default 100%. Firefox has this available from their settings menu by clicking on the three lines (frequently called a "hamburger") top right. If you use something other than Chrome or Firefox, simply Google for "kindle silk zoom" for instance to find how to check it and change it.

Developers' note: detecting magnification from Javascript seems pretty impossible these days and it's only gotten worse. If anyone knows a cool way to do it, let me know, because non-default magnification is one of the main issues with the game working right.

Missing/duplicate card(s)

One of the most common problems is that you'll find one or more of the cards in the deck has gone completely missing or there are duplicates. This is usually just your browser having a little wedgie. With Windows you can force a reload of the game by holding down the Ctrl key and pressing F5, or clicking the Reload/Refresh icon up by your browser's address bar (also while holding down the Ctrl key). This makes the browser re-fetch everything and this will likely restore the tangled card(s).

See below in the quick refresh trick section to learn more about refreshing/reloading the page for non-Windows machines, tablets, phones, etc.


There are two main kinds of slow. If you're seeing a delay after clicking Play before you get a new deal, or upon completing a game it takes a while for the server to respond, that's probably network delay. The Internet is still highly variable and depending on your current "route" to the server you might have different latencies. The server is running on fast hardware and to my knowledge pretty much always responds almost instantly (in human terms), so if you're having sluggishness like this, it's probably something between you and the server on the 'net that's responsible. traceroute (tracert on Windows) can help you learn more. Use your favorite search engine to learn how to use traceroute/tracert. (See the next section for more tips on troubleshooting network issues.)

The second kind of slow is when the game actually takes a while to draw cards or respond to mouse/keyboard input. This is probably pretty uncommon on modern computers. Make sure your browser is up-to-date and you don't have some kinda of virus or malware chewing up your computer's resources. Check to make sure Magnification/Zooom is at 100%. And as always trying switching browsers, e.g. if you're using Edge try Chrome or vice versa.

Network/connection issues

The Internet, while in general pretty reliable, can be a bit fickle. If you get the "problems communicating with the server" popup, or can't even hit the site, there are several things to consider.

You'll need to determine what's going on and where your connection is breaking down.

  1. General connection health
  2. From your computer/device to your router
  3. From your router to your ISP
  4. From your ISP to the Internet
  5. From the Internet to freecell.net
  6. freecell.net server is actually down

Connection health

Use Google to find Ookla Speed Test and run it from your browser or install it on your computer/tablet/phone, whatever you're using. It will give you the bandwidth of your connection in both directions, and will also give "ping time" which is the amount of time it takes for your computer to talk to their server.

To your router

You probably are using Wifi at home so you'll just need to make sure you see a solid Wifi connection. On a desktop Windows computer look for the network icon lower right and make sure it shows a solid number of bars. You can also install apps to measure RSSI (received signal strength indicator) and such.

To your ISP

Sometimes it seems you need to just power cycle your router. I'm afraid this isn't very scientific but it works. Unplug your router, wait 30 seconds, plug it back in, and then wait for 3-5 minutes while it reinitiates contact with your ISP.

To the Internet

If your connection is still showing "no Internet" or similar, try to figure out if your ISP is having an outage. You can often find out by going to the main site for your ISP (e.g. Cox.com) or referring to the Internet Down Detector.

To freecell.net

If that all seems good, next we look at the path to freecell.net. The details on how to perform the following checks change a lot depending on your computer and the version of your operating system, so I'll just refer you to Google to look for specifics. Search for "network traceroute" or "network ping". Those will show you if you're getting a solid path to freecell.net. Another thing to try to eliminate your local element is to use tools on the "open Internet" to check connectivity. Try some of the tools at Broadband Search, for instance using traceroute or ping from their site. That will tell you if freecell.net is reachable and communicating from the Internet in general.

freecell.net is actually down

Finally, if all the above is good, there might be a problem with the freecell.net server. If you can at least get to the site, look on the Discussion page for others reporting the issue and/or add your own report with details about anything above that you've tried. And if you can't even hit our Discussion page, try the Facebook group "freecell.net".

Which browser?

If the game doesn't seem to work right in your browser, please make sure you're using the latest version of either Internet Explorer, Chome, Firefox, or Safari. I'm just one guy so I can't attempt to support the other browsers and/or older versions. The game actually seems to continue to work in older versions of Internet Explorer but I make no promises. Downloading and installing a new browser is fast and easy. Just go to a search engine and type "download firefox" (for instance).

Yes, some advertisements can be annoying but we don't serve popups. In return for the occasional annoyance of this or that advertisement you are indirectly at least generating a little money for charity.

I don't pick the ads; I simply don't have the time to try to micromanage the ads we're served. We use a pretty legit ad company and they've been pretty good about monitoring their network to prevent rogue ads.

If you are getting pop-ups using this site or other apparently dubious advertisements, you likely have an infestation of ad-ware. See the section on that below.

Card faces

We used to support bright cards and a number of other card faces. Now the only options are Normal and Wide which adapt the cards to the size of your browser window, or Old Cards which uses the old low color cards from 1997 which some folks find to be crisper. You can frequently achieve the effect of "bright cards" by going into your display settings on your device or computer and turning up the brightness of the display. This might help you with other sites as well. But sorry, cats and fairies and motorcycles faces are a thing of the past.

The quick refresh trick

As noted above under the "missing card(s)" section, a quick reliable way to fix a variety of odd problems is to simply force your browser to reload everything. While on the game page and on a Windows machine, hold down the Ctrl key and hit F5, or else click on the Reload/Refresh icon up by your browser's address bar (also while holding down the Ctrl key). The makes the browser re-fetch everything and will often restore sanity to you and your computer.

Clearing cache is different on non-Windows machines and on tablets and phones. Maybe go read on the 'net about your particular device. You want to scrub content but hopefully not cookies. The cookies are what keep you logged in to the many sites you visit so you probably don't want to lose those.

I'd try to give more complete instructions here but there are so many devices now and it's always changing so I'd recommend you just use your favorite search engine lookin for the keywords "ipad cache clear" or similar.

Viruses, mal-ware, and ad-ware

We never deliver viruses or other nasty stuff and our ad provider seems to be pretty solid. Chances are if you're getting popups or weird stuff, that's on your end and you've gotten some type of infection.

By way of a little general info, never believe the popups saying your computer is infected or the phone calls that say they've detected bad activity on your Internet connection. Those are always scams. Never respond saying you want to cancel emails and ditto for text messages (press ##### to stop receiving text messages). That just confirms they have a valid address or number.

Viruses and ad-ware were frankly more of a problem in years past as most folks now do have their computers adequately protected. If you don't, however, we'd strongly recommend it. If odd things are happening, you've got browser toolbars you didn't ask for, ads are popping up while using this site (we never serve pop-ups), or things are just running slow in general, try installing either a commercial anti-virus program or else one of the fine free ones.

Chrome is the dominant browser these days so it gets pretty targeted. Chrome extensions can be a pain. My kids apparently click "yes" and install Chrome extensions that hijack search and do other nefarious stuff. Luckily those extensions are pretty easy to deinstall. Do a Google search "disable chrome extension."

If you think you've already been infected with serious malware, it can be very tricky to remove and can tend to re-infect. Take your computer to a legit business like BestBuy or GeekSquad. But keep in mind for what they'll charge to clean your computer you could probably about buy a new one.

Finally, viruses, ad-ware and mal-ware are constantly changing. Use Google to search for the specifics of your problem.

Can't login

If you can't login to the game this probably means your browser is rejecting cookies from this site. We use cookies to maintain state as you use the site, a very common practice, and also use them to remember who you are so you don't have to login every time, also a very common practice.

But if you can't successfully login or are asked every time you come to the site to login, it's probably because we can't save that cookie. Some 3rd party "scrubber" software removes cookies as soon as you close your browser. Often folks seem to have installed such software without really realizing it so you might need to do a little looking to figure out what is providing the unwanted "help".

You can also try adjusting your browser's preferences. Go to Tools --> Internet Options and then click the Security tab. Add freecell.net to your Trusted Sites list.

One other thing: if you access the game page directly without going through the regular "login" procedure, the cookie won't get set and you'll be told you're not logged in. We used to let you login within the game itself but now we're requiring you to go through the web site so that a cookie gets properly set. So when in doubt, start at the main home page at freecell.net and click on the "play" link on the left (or on the Play Now picture).

If that still doesn't get it, trying using your favorite search engine to find info about how to explicitly enable cookies for your browser. I won't attempt to keep up-to-date instructions here when they're so easy to come across on the 'net, again using that good ol' favorite search engine.

Sometimes as a last resort (or even a first resort) try switching browsers. Whatever has gotten tangled up on your main browser with regard to cookie configuration will likely not happen with an alternate browser. If you're using Internet Explorer, try Chrome or Firefox. Again, a search engine will help you find the downloads.

How to report a bug

If you can't resolve your issue you should report your problem on the Discussion Page. This will accomplish two things: it will let the site owner know of the problem and it will also share the problem with the Freecell-playing public here so that they can chime in about their own experiences.

When reporting a bug it's useful to provide (in as much detail as possible) the following information:

  • Which browser you're using, e.g. Internet Explorer aka IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc.
  • What version of the browser you're using. Getting the browser version has changed over time so simply use a search engine and look for something like 'find firefox version.' This might look something like Internet Explorer Version 11.0.9600.17280IC.
  • What operating system you're on, e.g. Windows, Mac iOS, Linux, etc.
  • What version of the operating system, e.g. Windows 8.1 or Mac OSX 10.7.5.
  • What device you're playing on, e.g. desktop PC, laptop, iPad, Windows tablet, iPhone, Android phone, etc.
  • Exact sequence of steps that caused the problem and what happened that was different from expected, e.g. "I went to the login.html page and entered my information and clicked the Login button. I didn't get any indication of error but it just put me back at that same page when I expected to start playing the game." Frequently people post things such as "I can't get in" which is obviously not terribly useful to us to help resolve the problem.
This sounds lengthy but it doesn't have to be. Here's an example of a very brief bug report which at least has some minimal useful info in it. While still lacking in the desired level of detail it's way better than most.

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