[UPDATE – I found and resolved the root cause for my problem, see below. But I’ll leave this workaround up in case it works for some people.]

I’m an avid Starbucks customer, mostly because of the days I need to work offsite for mental focus with a coffee and wifi.

Lately, I’ve been having trouble authenticating on their wifi for some reason. I can connect to the access point, but when I pop open a browser to load up their “Accept and Connect” page, the page doesn’t load, no matter what I do.

Maybe they’ve flagged my MAC address as a too-frequent user or something.

Anyway, I found a fix for the above symptoms so I thought I’d share. You’ll need a phone with data plan to tether for a few seconds.

  1. First, attempt to connect by opening a browser and loading a site that you don’t have cached (i.e. one you haven’t visited for a while.) This should trigger the redirect to the “accept and connect” page.
  2. This should show you the URL that the redirect is trying to load. The URL looks like this at my local Toronto Starbucks: http://starbucks.allstreamwifi.ca/D8C7C8CF48BD/Welcome
  3. If you’re having the same problem I was, the page never actually loads, even after over 10 minutes of waiting.
  4. Now, tether to your phone’s internet connection and disconnect from the Starbucks wifi and attempt to load the URL now. It should work.
    The Starbucks Accept and Connect page
    Leave that page open in your browser, but don’t click the Accept and Connect button just yet.
  5. Instead, reconnect to the Starbucks wifi and disconnect from your phone’s internet connection.
  6. Now click the Accept and Connect button.

A few seconds later, your Internet connection should come to life!

[UPDATE – Resolution]

My problem turned out to be DNS servers. At one point, my ISP had a DNS server problem so at that time I entered Google’s Public DNS servers into my network configuration so I could keep surfing the Web. For some reason, these DNS servers sync’ed to all my devices and were the reason for my inability to load the Starbucks “Accept & Connect” page. When I cleared the Google Public DNS servers from my settings, the issue was instantly resolved.

 

Please leave a comment to let me know if this worked for you, and what city you’re in.