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Old 27th April 2010, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default Pages don't complete downloading

Lately on the forum, the pages continue "loading" forever, getting stuck at google-analytics.com or s5.dastatic.com or one of any number of other adserve sites. What gives? Is it my browser or are there a bunch of streaming ads now being served?

I am on a satellite connection and lately the advertizing delays remind me of TV. It doesn't seem free anymore. If I donate can you stop the ads?

Or I could look into adblockers and add another kludgey app to my computer I guess.

Michael
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Old 28th April 2010, 09:18 PM   #2
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Hey Michael. I'm not seeing that here in my browsers. And no, there are not a lot of big banner ads, so I don't think that's the problem.

Maybe time to clear your cache or history?

Can you try another browser?
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Old 28th April 2010, 09:53 PM   #3
iko is offline iko  Canada
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I've had the same problems too, but on a regular adsl connection. And sometimes, even at the university, on a fast connection. Didn't care enough to troubleshoot it though.
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Old 29th April 2010, 11:59 AM   #4
Jason is offline Jason  Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Koster View Post
Lately on the forum, the pages continue "loading" forever, getting stuck at google-analytics.com or s5.dastatic.com or one of any number of other adserve sites. What gives? Is it my browser or are there a bunch of streaming ads now being served?

I am on a satellite connection and lately the advertizing delays remind me of TV. It doesn't seem free anymore. If I donate can you stop the ads?

Or I could look into adblockers and add another kludgey app to my computer I guess.

Michael
Hi Michael,

A very similar problem was reported a month or two ago, and I put it down to perhaps a dodgy DNS provider. The s12345.dastatic.com is intended to speed things up, not slow them down. Here is a hack I just thought of for you to try if you're computer savvy enough to pull it off:

Edit your windows hosts file (or download Hostsman) and add:

Code:
209.59.179.2 s1.dastatic.com
209.59.179.2 s2.dastatic.com
209.59.179.2 s3.dastatic.com
209.59.179.2 s4.dastatic.com
209.59.179.2 s5.dastatic.com
This will do two things to possibly help.

Firstly, it will turn your computer into a mini DNS server for these domains and directly look up the IP address. If this solves the problem, we know it's a DNS issue.

Now, if that doesn't solve the problem, try this:
Code:
209.59.179.1 s1.dastatic.com
209.59.179.1 s2.dastatic.com
209.59.179.1 s3.dastatic.com
209.59.179.1 s4.dastatic.com
209.59.179.1 s5.dastatic.com
That will redirect all requests for static graphics away from our (speedy) nginx server, and to our regular apache server. If this solves the problem, we know it's a nginx server issue.

If google-analytics.com is causing you heartache, well, I shouldn't tell you this because it will stop our stats, but try this:

Code:
127.0.0.1 google-analytics.com
That will redirect all requests to your local computer, instantly failing them (hopefully), but at least not having them "hang".

Please note that I am not a DNS guru by any means (it's one of my weakest points), so YMMV implementing this advice.

Three points this raises though:

Firstly, I am really proud of having this server fly. We're paying big bucks for it, and it is barely idling. So there's no excuse for these kinds of problems unless they're coming from your ISP!

Secondly, I'm going to move our DNS to a super professional DNS service.

Thirdly, I'm going to move all static content to a CDN (worldwide content delivery network) so all graphics are loaded from a server inside your own country (very fast), or very near to your country.

Thanks for reporting the bug, and I hope my advice helps. I'll be very interested to hear if you narrow it to DNS or nginx.

Lastly, yes, if you donate, you can turn off all the ads.

Last edited by Jason; 29th April 2010 at 12:43 PM. Reason: Oops had the IP address and Host reversed - fixed :)
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Old 2nd May 2010, 04:34 PM   #5
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Hi Jason,

Thanks for the advice. I can certainly try static DNS setting, though the browser message usually indicates "connecting" and waiting" more often than "looking up". I'll also try to short out google analytics as you suggest to see if that's an issue.

The stuck loading behavior stopped the next day... I think it was probably some 3rd party content that firefox or some plugin didn't like, that got replaced over time.

I believe my issue has as much to do with the nearly one second round trip delay inherent in my satellite connection, coupled with modern web architecture which causes my browser to indirectly perform hundreds of HTTP GETs from dozens of URLs to load each page.

Some of these GETs seem to be from the application stack such as S3 or google apps or whatever web platform is being used, and others are for adserving and tracking. Right now I think the application stack might be responsible for more of the interaction than tracking and adserving, since your ads are relatively sparse and benign.

I certainly am all for supporting the site, so will make another donation soon in any case.

Thanks!

Michael

PS To all web architects out there:
The web 3.0 platform should do server-side aggregation of forms and content! Stop making the user's browser do all the work... Especially work on behalf of the commerce engine ;-)

If we all had fast cable modems it wouldn't matter but let's be realistic
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