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Accessing HKUL E-resources: Troubleshooting: Access problems

Tips for solving common problems accessing HKUL E-resources

Most Common Access Issues

Most Common Access Issues

Access issues may relate to your network, browser settings, and access right of your library account. As it is complex and involves technical reasons, you may try multiple methods to solve the problem. The table below states common access issues and corresponding solution(s).

       Issue         Description Solution
HTTP Error

400 Bad request: server cannot process your request due to invalid syntax.

404 Not Found: server cannot locate the requested resource.

500 Internal Server Error: server encountered an unexpected condition that prevented it from fulfilling the request.

504 Gateway Timeout: server does not receive a timely response from the upstream server.

Try to:

EZProxy - Access denied

Authentication Issue: You may not have access right for this e-resource.

A sample of EZProxy access denied message

Check License Terms under the e-resources.
EZProxy error

The page has not been configured for access.A sample of EZProxy error message

Report this e-resource/link by Email-a-Librarian.
Broken Link

Your saved URL may not be a persistent link. Therefore, your browser cannot direct you to our subscribed e-resources.

http://[domain name of the database]

Save the persistent link.
Pop-up blocked The webpage does not show up after clicking a link several times. You may accidentally block the pop-up. Please allow pop-ups and restart your browser.
VPN connection

Sample 1 of off campus access via HKU VPN connection

Sample 2 of off campus access via HKU VPN connection

Follow the instruction and install HKUVPN before accessing the databases.


General Troubleshooting Tips

Clear Cookies & Cache

Sometimes, previous cache and cookies may cause the problem about updating webpage content, and eventually cause the access issue. To solve this problem, you can clear the cache and cookies on your browser first, and reopen the browser.

Steps to Clear Cookies & Cache in Browsers

Chrome: Windows / macOS | Android | IOS
Firefox: Windows | macOS
Edge: Windows / macOS
Safari: macOS | iOS

Browse in Private Mode

When you are using private mode, personal settings on the browser will be cleared. This can exclude the issues caused by added extensions, accepted cookies, or caches.

Note: Your browsing history will not be recorded when browsing in private window.

Steps to Open the Private Mode in Browsers

Chrome: Windows / masOS | Android | iOS
Firefox: Windows / masOS | Android | iOS
Edge: Windows / masOS | Android / iOS
Safari: macOS | iOS

Try Another Web Browser

Since e-resources are created on various platforms, databases may be more compatible with particular browsers. To use another browser, you can exclude the problems such as personalized settings, saved passwords, and incompatibility of databases in the browser. Meanwhile, regularly updating your browser keeps your computer secure, fixes bugs of the old browser version, and allows accessing new features on web pages.

Installation Guide of Suggested Browsers

Computer: Chrome | Firefox | Edge | Safari (For macOS only)
iOS: Chrome | Firefox | Edge | Safari
Android: Chrome | Firefox | Edge

Check the License Terms

Most of our e-resources can be accessed by current HKU staff and students with their HKU Portal account and PIN. For other users with remote access rights to selected e-resources, please check the list below: 

NOTE: Access to the selected e-resources may be changed by the vendors of HKUL without prior notice.

Before accessing the e-resources, you can click the "Show License" under View Online to check the license terms. License Terms indicate which user groups are authorized to use the e-resources.

A sample of check license term in an e-resource record page


License Terms in Find@HKUL

  • Concurrent Users: Number of users can access the database/e-resources at the same time
  • Authorized remote access: Which authorized users and groups can enjoy remote access to the database/e-resources
  • Walk in User Note: Which authorized users and groups can enjoy on-site access to the database/e-resources

HKU Virtual Private Network (HKUVPN)

HKUVPN is for HKU staff, students, honorary appointees and departmental account holders to access the HKU campus network outside university network. It supports a secure connection to access the IT systems and electronic resources in the same way as if you are within the campus network. 2-factor authentication (2FA) is required for accessing HKUVPN. If you have questions about installing HKUVPN, please contact ITS by email

Hard Refresh
This action evacuates the browser cache in a specific webpage, and forces it to reload in the latest version.

Windows macOS

Chrome, Firefox, or Edge:

  • Press “Ctrl” + “F5”,
  • “Shift” + “F5”,or
  • “Ctrl” + “Shift” + “R”

Chrome, and Firefox:

  • Press Shift + Command (⌘) + R


  • Command (⌘) + Option (⌥) + R

A infographic of shortcut keys for hard refresh on Windows and macOS system

Allow Pop-ups

When you select or download the article from the database, sometimes, it may direct you to another page, which your browser will identify as a pop-up. If you blocked and prevented the pop-ups formerly, the page may not show up. To solve this problem, you may need to allow pop-ups for the website and reopen your using browser.

Steps to Allow Pop-ups in Browsers

Chrome: Windows / macOS | Android | iOS
Firefox: Windows / macOS
Edge: Windows / macOS
Safari: macOS