Today’s outage

Approximately 4 hours ago, Ozblogistan began to receive a very high level of traffic. During this period my performance tracking tools stopped working so it is difficult to tell how much traffic was received during the period.

A few minutes ago I kicked over our web server to reset all connections, which resolved this matter last time. This time too, apparently.

There are three possibilities:

  1. Misconfiguration of the web server software
  2. A badly behaved indexer program
  3. A denial of service attack

I am confident that the server is correctly configured, but I cannot eliminate the possibility that I am misinterpreting the available performance records. That kicking the server over “fixes” the problem might suggest this possibility.

If there was a badly behaved indexing program crawling all Ozblogistan sites, it should have turned up in my Cloudflare dashboard which, so far, it has not.

The odd man out in the Ozblogistan network is Catallaxy Files. The Cat is the only site currently not “behind” Cloudflare’s protective service. If we were receiving the loving ministrations of a badly behaved indexing program, then that program was exclusively crawling the Cat.

The unhappiest possibility is that this was a denial-of-service attack; again, directed against the Cat. Sometime in the next few days I expect that Catallaxy Files will be placed behind Cloudflare along with the other Ozblogistan sites and that this will prevent any such attacks from being successful.

Well, that’s it, folks. Please resume your usual blogging and commenting.

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12 Responses to Today’s outage

  1. Sancho says:

    Did the government do some governing today? It was probably just Catallaxians piling in to denounce Julia Gillard as the worst Prime Minister ever.

  2. Rafe says:

    How come the Cat is not behind the screen like everyone else?

  3. Rafe says:

    You can see I am desperate when I have to come over here for something to read:)

    • Tel says:

      You might enjoy an occasional scan of Robert Murphy’s blog, presuming you are OK with a bit of Southern Baptist Jesus Speak thrown in with your economics (Bob has great clarity in understanding the Austrian perspective, and he’s a lot nicer than most Atheists).

  4. Rafe;

    Basically because I don’t have access to the Catallaxy registrar details. It’s being worked on.

  5. Tel says:

    Do you think there’s a realistic market for blogging software that might be a cut above WordPress? I mean WP is unbeatable on price, and very easy to install but also a white-knuckle ride for sys admins. I’m sort of handwaving around the concept of something a bit more predictable and easier to look after for the long term.

    Dunno if there’s any money in it… I’d need to talk to an economist or something.

  6. I’ve handwaved around writing A Better Blog Program myself. Basically WordPress has irreducible problems to do with its architecture. The same problem plagues most blog systems because they all ape each other’s architectural patterns.

    But in terms of payoff to time invested, such a project is horrid. Every bastard has written their own blog engine. Rising above the crowd to make a serious buck is nigh impossible. Plus you give up the vast WordPress ecosystem, which users love.

    We’re stuck with this bucket of snot. Worse is Better.

    • That said, I just remembered that Squarespace have been positioning themselves as a WP alternative for some time. But it’s a hosted service.

      • john r walker says:

        James James Grimmelmann (a lawyer and IT type) uses :
        “The Laboratorium is powered by Movable Type, as supplemented by John Gruber’s wonderful Markdown and SmartyPants, plus several small plugin-assisted hacks of my own devising. The star icons on my reviews are derived from Mark James’s beautiful Silk icon set, which he has generously made available under a Creative Commons license. The live comment preview uses WMD.”

        Might be of use?

        • Movable Type is even older than WordPress. Funnily enough, there are things MT did better from the start. That you had to “rebuild” a site each time you made a change was terrible for bloggers, but it meant that sites could mostly be served as static HTML which is very fast.

          One of the reasons WordPress was popular is that, in the base configuration, it generates each page from scratch for each visitor. No need to “rebuild” the site. For the average blogger sick of waiting 5 or 10 minutes for MT to “rebuild” this was very attractive.

          The unfortunate consequenceof the WordPress architecture is apt to fall on its arse if anyone so much as frowns at it. It just doesn’t scale “out of the box”, so it’s a basic necessity to add lashings of caching and other performance tweaks just to make it server more than 10 visitors at a time.

          On the server I host Ozblogistan on, a base install of WordPress could probably cope with 30 simultaneous visitors. Directly in front of WordPress is a HTTP server called Nginx; on the same hardware it can could, in a static HTML scenario, easily serve thousands of visitors.

          That’s how hilariously bad WordPress is at scaling. Factors of tens to hundreds of times slower.

    • Tel says:

      Oh come now… How hard can it be?

      Surely you can’t be suggesting a failure in the free market here.

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