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civicrm.org is currently down (no big deal in itself) but it has highlighted the fact that my site is trying to contact it and timing out.

This is causing a huge slowdown when logging in (and at other times) but what concerns me is why it is trying to contact civicrm.org at all?

The error I'm getting is that extensions could not be downloaded, but I'm not trying to download an extension. I suspect this is the stock error message you get if the site tries to contact civicrm.org for any reason and fails.

Unable to download extension from https://civicrm.org/extdir/ver=4.7.14|cms=Drupal/single. Error Message: Failed to connect to civicrm.org port 443: Connection timed out

It seems the site is calling home for some reason. I have a vague memory of clicking something like "allow site to send stats to civicrm.org" but how would I find that setting again to disable it?

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I think that error message is coming from your civicrm install attempting to check for extension updates. It does this as part of its routine status checks.

There is a fixme in the code to handle failures like this more gracefully - it really should be logging the error and not bugging you about it.

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