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August 31, 2006

Tiresome technical issues
Posted by Patrick at 12:08 AM *

We’re aware that individual archive pages for posts with many comments are cutting off long before their end. For instance, Open Thread 69 appears to cut off around message 175, even though there are actually over 440 comments there. Our hosting service has been contacted. Any insights from the rest of you would be welcome as well.

Update, August 31, 7:46 AM: fixed.

Comments on Tiresome technical issues:
#1 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 12:25 AM:

The response served up for a

curl 'http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/007781.html'

is 196,608 bytes in length --- which happens to be exactly 192 kilobytes. This is a suspiciously round number (more obviously so in hex --- 0x30000).

This proves nothing, but suggests that the moral equivalent of an Apache LimitRequestBody directive might be involved...

#2 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 12:33 AM:

I was having Open Thread 69 cut off at about #182 - Patrick, that's one of your comments. (The thread wasn't like that yesterday. I wonder what got reset.)

#3 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 01:02 AM:

Also noticed yesterday:

Linking via the new comments list in the sidebar went to a particular comment, possibly somewhere around the numbers reported (I didn't take notes, alas), although the whole page did download.

#4 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 01:23 AM:

I'm fairly sure this was working normally yesterday, the day before at worst. I'm aware that's not much help, but you can at least ask the hosting company if they have made any webserver configuration changes in that period of time.

#5 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 02:02 AM:

To clarify (and partially correct!) my earlier observation, the URL is that for Open Thread 69, and 'curl' is a program which can be used to save the HTTP response to a file. The fact that it returns a short file containing a round number of bytes suggests that something might be truncating the server's response at that round number of bytes --- but an Apache LimitRequestSize directive wouldn't do that; it limits the size of the request, not the response. (Duh). On the other hand, if the ISP is using squid to front-end their Apaches (or the equivalent), a squid reply_body_max_size setting would have this effect (if I'm reading the docs right!).

Sorry about the error, but too late to correct, I guess...

#6 ::: Lisa ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 06:45 AM:

It appears to be a timing issue; the server essentially runs out of time to complete the request.

I am suspicious, probably without reason, of the numbering of the posts.

#7 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 07:46 AM:

Mystery solved: we were using 999 MB of our 1000 MB quota of disk space. Our provider, having kindly figured this out for us, has increased our quota. I've just now run a full-site rebuild and everything looks fine. Let me know if it isn't.

Not for the first time, I strongly recommend Hosting Matters for your weblog hosting needs.

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