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This happens only in Firefox - NOT in IE or in Safari (all 3 tested only on a Windows system).

Always, viewing a page shows most of the content, and then the browser prompts to download some sidebar php script. Or, when going from one page to the next. It only happens on php using sites.

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What exactly is your question? – Tronic Oct 25 '10 at 2:05
1. "Why" is it happening... 2. How can I fix it? – siliconpi Oct 25 '10 at 2:15

There are a few possibilities, but try downloading one of these files. Open it up in Notepad and search for <?php.

If you find any tags like that, then the server is not parsing PHP pages as it needs to, and probably passing the MIME type on to your browser. Since browsers cannot parse PHP client-side and it doesn't have a handler set up for that type, it considers it a generic download. If this is the case, there's nothing you can do. PHP is a server-side technology.

If no tags are present and it appears to be plain HTML, then it may be that the server is parsing the files but your browser is malfunctioning and not interpreting the types properly. It doesn't see it as a HTML page and so doesn't display it. There are two potential reasons for this: either the server is sending an incorrect MIME type or your browser is messed up.

Since you say it only occurs in one browser out of three, I'd recommend uninstalling that browser and installing the latest updated version as a test. If that doesn't help, you might have to look into a HTTP debugger to see what's being sent and figure out if it's a server-side issue or on your end.

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Arjan: What are you going for? The fact it only shows in Firefox doesn't mean it's not a server issue, IE could be more lenient (or more strict) when it comes to MIME types. Only a debugger and the headers will be able to tell you without doubt which end is malfunctioning. Until then, treating it as a possible issue with FF and reinstalling is probably the best bet. – ssube Oct 25 '10 at 4:38
you're too quick. ;-) I already removed my comment before you responded. Sorry for the confusion! – Arjan Oct 25 '10 at 4:40

Just depends really.

  1. Site you're visiting botched up how it tells the browser to handle the page. i.e. incorrectly setting the MIME type of pages it's sending out or the server experienced a hiccup.
  2. Your internet security settings are too aggressive
  3. Firefox has forgotten how it treats and handle webpages, or the setting was tweaked somehow.
  4. Cache problem with the browser.

To fix, you can try a number of options:

  1. Clear the cache and cookies from Firefox.
  2. Check Tools > Options > Applications to see if there's an entry in there for PHP pages, remove if so.
  3. Dial back your internet security software, firewall or spyware apps, they may interfere. Remove and re-learn for Firefox if need be.
  4. Reset your Download Actions:
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I've seen this happen from time to time. Sometimes reloading the page is enough, other times I've ended up just rebooting. I don't have a solution, but would be curious to know if there is one for the future.

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I was having this issue with vBulletin websites about a decade ago. It seems that one of the hops in my ISP at the time would crash on a specially-crafted page, typical of vBulletin replies. After changing ISPs for unrelated reasons the issue was resolved.

If your ISP is using the same networking equipment as my old ISP, then you might have the same issue. The telltale sign is that the response to be downloaded with have the filename something.php but it will be a 0-byte file with no Content-Type header.

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