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Why does activity circle spin in reverse and FIrefox does not connect with a web site?

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The circle that indicates Firefox is loading a web site many times spins in reverse. When it does this, no web site is connected. If one lets it spin in reverse for some time it may eventually spin the correct way and connect to the web site. Why does this happen and how does one fix this problem?

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Spinning counter clockwise means that Firefox is trying to connect to the web server.
If a connection is established and the loading starts then you see a clockwise running throbber.