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Tell HN: Reddit was showing “Blocked” when accessed with Firefox
273 points by kzrdude 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 167 comments
Reddit returns a 403 page with content "Blocked" right now for many firefox users.

Apparently not with Chromium. Probably a blocking mishap ongoing (as of this posting) at reddit.

I love Reddit, but it has the worst popularity to UX ratio I've ever seen. They try very hard at making their web UI annoying so you switch to their mobile app.

old.reddit.com until they finally kill it off, then I'll just stop going.

i.reddit.com actually works quite well on mobile, but I think this has even more risk of being shut down at a moment's notice so try not to mention it too much.

there's also ns.reddit.com that appears to be the same as old.reddit.com

That's basically an invalid locale prefix. Since ns is an invalid locale code or has no translations, it uses the default english. Reddit also used np.reddit.com which stood for non-participation. Basically there was subreddit CSS that disabled the voting buttons and comment dialog.

I often wonder about the dumpster fire that is the web version of Reddit. Normally I assume incompetence over malice, but - they had a perfectly decent working link aggregator site over a decade ago, and more than sufficent resources and budget to maintain that site and make small improvements to the UX and design over time. So the only conclusion is that this is a planned, prolonged and deliberate act of self-sabotage and vandalism.

The mobile app is terrible too. Even many of the 3rd party apps are not very good, especially on iOS. There are some good ones for Android like Boost and Relay, which I wish I could get on iOS.

It is an embarrassingly bad mobile app and web UI for one of the most popular sites in the world that really grew up natively on the modern web.

I think they are trying to facebookifying (for the lack of better word) their interface. The trade off here is that user engagement lost due to bulky js is covered by the increase in user engagement due to flashy web features. user engagement is corporate double speak for user addiction.

Indeed. It sucks so much I built my own :)

Also build a time machine and go back to 2005 so that you get the network effect and someone will actually use your site.

They built a frontend, not a clone

The network effect in 2005 was 5 people including a link on their site.

Could you share a link?

Yes but it's not complete in any way. You can't login, you can't comment, post or save your subreddits.

You can only see subreddits and comments.

But it is my daily driver.

It's at https://reddit.pimenta.co

Do you think they are going to limit their api like Twitter?

You're good until they shut down their API I guess...

Are you the apollo guy?

That would be iamthatis. Both on Reddit and on here apparently https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=iamthatis

I believe thingiverse is worse


Good to know I'm not the only one. I thought I was IP banned or something. It works when accessed with Edge (chromium)

*EDIT:* Looks like it's back up.

Initially I thought my account was banned, so I tried incognito mode and it didn't work either, so I knew it was not an account ban.

Then I thought it was an IP ban so I tried on my phone and it worked, so I knew it was not an IP ban.

The only reasonable explanation from that point on was something bad was going on on reddit side.

Hah! These were my exact same steps as well. I was wondering which of my nonsense finally pushed them over the edge and IP banned me.

Resolved: "Blocked" error when accessing reddit.com on Firefox. https://www.reddit.com/r/help/comments/s4095g/resolved_block...

I can't help but have a sinking feeling that this as a result of the wider trend of using only Chromium-based browsers. If they were the ones affected by this issue, I feel like it would get solved almost immediately.

I use chrome and Reddit is incredibly buggy quite often. Normally old.reddit.com works, but it is shocking how badly made such a big site is.

It’s so bad half the time I think they have to be trolling their own users.

> I feel like it would get solved almost immediately.

Hell, probably wouldn't have even made it to production.

I was seeing problems in Chrome a couple hours ago. In the fancy editor it was taking seconds to echo, and the cursor would jump to the start of the text, and placeholder text was not being replaced with typed text. The older editor where you have to manually enter markdown worked fine.

I assumed they had done something that botched the JavaScript of the site. Maybe some update went badly today, and it manifests differently in Firefox and Chrome?

Anyway, whatever it was either they didn’t test well in Chrome either, or they don’t use the fancy editor themselves.

> Switching to the old manual markdown mode was fine.

Good to know. This new editor doesn't work at all for me in Firefox, just a frustrating chaos of random bugs.

Concur - pasting copied text is a random nightmare. The markdown editor works fine but the 'help' menu has disappeared. So it goes.

It was fixed within an hour or so. I didn't even realize, surfing on reddit and it was working. I was just mindlessly surfing like I normally do and then it clicked, "oh cool, Reddit is back up".

The wild west internet of our youths is dying, and these are the death throes.

Seems a bit of a dramatic take. I think Firefox has a few engineers on staff.

I think GP's point was Reddit breaking Chrome would cause a big uproar and result in the issue being fixed quickly, not that Chrome has more engineers.

Seems like it was fixed pretty quickly?

I wonder if this is related to Firefox’ woes with HTTP/3[0] that prevented it from loading all pages the other day.

Either way, events such as these are likely to cause an increase in migration from Firefox to Chrome.

[0]: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1749908

Doubt it. I've been accessing Reddit with Firefox v96 without issues for quite some time.

I don't think so, my Firefox was requesting with HTTP/2.

Anyone else have the immediate reaction/thought "oh God, IT has finally caught on and blocked reddit because of me"?

I'm at home, and I thought my ISP had decided reddit was unhealthy for me. But when I found I could ping reddit and still access it from the reddit app on my tablet computer I decided it was some mystery reddit error.

Yep, I was looking at pictures of cannabis flowers the moment it happened.

I panicked for a few minutes waiting for IT to knock on my office door...

Same here. Tried to fake the agent to Chrome 87 and was still blocked.

Edit: 14:23EST - it's back online for me.

Oooh, so it's not user-agent it's detecting, but something else?

It seems to be an http3 issue. Trying to find a way to replicate it in a Chromium browser. I am trying to understand whether it is a Firefox specific issue, or if it's Reddit not handling the fallback.

May not be a Firefox issue. Google uses h3 protocol and it works fine. Firefox is back online for Firefix. Everything request from reddit appears to be h2 from both FF and Chromium, I wish I checked earlier when it was still blocked.

Do HN next (for my productivity).

Different teams.

Just came here to see if I was the only one seeing that. HN never disappoints.

Reddit announced the cause of the outage.


> PetGorignac, Admin, 2 hr. ago

> Hi folks,

> I was the incident commander for this one and came by to drop a bit of information about what happened here.

> We were attempting to mitigate some problematic traffic that had been causing a low amount of site errors over the past few hours. In doing so, we identified some traffic characteristics that we believed correlated with the error rate and attempted to block it. It turns out this blocked Firefox traffic, which we noticed relatively quickly, leading us to revert the change.

> Apologies for the disruption!

> (Also kudos to the commentor who had a great RCA, but sadly the comment got deleted before I could respond)

That thread is from two months ago.

Interesting - was getting buggier and buggier as I used it today before the "blocked" started showing up. Super curious to see what caused the issue.

Their status page had rising error rates and a big voting backlog spike for some time before I hit the 403 issue personally.

I also get the "Blocked" in Firefox, and I get "ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED" with Chromium.

As for Chrome, I won't install it and will rather give up on Reddit.

I died when I first saw the message. I do marketing on Reddit for my upcoming SaaSs, but try to stay within the rules. So I thought they were trying to ban me!

I was wondering if I had been IP banned or something. I can confirm this only happens on Firefox for me and that Chromium is working.

For a while now, Firefox blocks requests to reddit.com when visiting other websites. I mean, if domain.com sends a request to reddit.com, it gets blocked through the Enhanced Tracking Protection thingie. I know this because I built a front-end for reddit and I have to turn Enhanced Tracking Protection off for the domain.

I guess this means I'll actually have to do some work today :(

Libreddit still works


Oh, I thought it was just me. What a strange error. I've never seen just the word blocked and nothing else. Even viewing the source shows nothing else. And it works fine in Chrome. So... I assume this is something Firefox did?

For me, http://teddit.net remained accessible. I had forgotten the address, but dug it out via HN because of the current issue. Great UI; see the ~300 comments on it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25310206

Same for me (Ukraine) on both Firefox on Windows and Android. Firefox Focus on Android works fine, though. As well as Chrome, Edge, etc.

It’s happening in India too, if it’s any consolation

Uhh not really having any problems with me on Firefox 96 on Ubuntu. Granted I didn't have an issue with the HTTP3 bug either.

Same boat. Didn't have an issue with HTTP3 two days ago, no reddit outage either. I wonder if my DNS resolver is helping somehow. I use Adguard.

It has already been fixed.

Hopefully this will be permanent.

There's a lot of useful information contained within Reddit, not just memes, celebrity worship, and porn. I'd like to see decentralized alternatives flourish.

No more Reddit procrastination for me I guess. I hope so too.

We can only hope.

In all seriousness, it feels like it was a long time coming. There were indications that web is moving towards one approved browser. It is just our luck that one browser is Chrome.

Honestly, the number of complex web-applications that are degrading slowly in firefox is only getting longer. At my office: the HR benefits system is completely broken in FF, some of our training modules in the training system fail, Azure DevOps needs me to close the browser completely and re-open to clear some kind of JS or shadow state or something...

It's bad and getting worse and I don't know how much longer I can stick with FF.

On the other hand, I just got on-boarded to a doctor's office system that included a warning (delivered with the on-boarding link by SMS) that the website would "only work on a PC with Firefox or Safari".

I've run into a few older sites designed around IE quirks that have stopped working under MS Edge but run great in FF, actually. Sql Server 2012 Reports websites for example. Which makes sense - FF was designed to imitate some IE idiosyncracies that Chrome didn't care about, and Edge/Edgium uses Chrome renderer now.

This is because FF is enabling better privacy controls, and so many sites these days are designed to run in pants-down mode.

It's for the best, really.

you can't help but admire the intellectual elite of hacker news users that don't actually know anything about technology

linking to month old issues, thinking html encoding warnings are somehow related, thinking http3 is an issue when you have just to press f12 to see it's not used

Blocked on firefox but not on Safari. Also other computers in my house on the same IP are not blocked.

I was researching Russian-Ukranian relations abd posting in r/worldnews about the crisis there. Wondering if it's related, or if lots of users are experiencing this as a blanket issue.

Interestingly, doing a request from thunder client with firefox as the user agent returns 200 OK...

Interestingly, it works just fine in the console/text-based browsers links, elinks, and lynx.


Faking User-Agent header doesn't help.

This is interesting now. What are some other simple ways of identifying a browser?

There are JS objects you can look for, `window.chrome` for example is present on Chromium browsers but not Firefox.

Request patterns

Yes, I see "Blocked"

Seems to be working for me. Is it only blocked for users that are logged in?

Works for me too, both logged in, logged out, on old and new reddit. Maybe the change hasn't rolled out to all regions yet?

It's back up now. I was hitting it a few minutes ago. Some reddit engineer must've seen Hacker News or uses Firefox.

Nope, it didn't load in incognito mode for me either.

How exactly do they determine it's Firefox? I tried it from Postman using the same headers from Firefox and I get a 200, and fidgeting with the headers in Firefox doesn't change anything.

Maybe they're detecting some signature in the TLS negotiation?

Also replying has been broken for a long time. By default it uses "fancy pants" editor when you are typing reply, and this is totally broken. You have to switch to another mode to reply.

Also replying has been broken for a long time. By default it uses "fancy pants" editor when you are typing reply, and this is totally broken. You have to switch to another mode to reply.

Old reddit still works

Not for me. Getting same "Blocked" message, but only on FF.

Weird, it works for me on FF. 96.0

That's what I use, and it isn't working for me.

old.reddit.com is showing "Blocked" for me, FF 95.0.2.

Edit: Updated to 96.0, and Reddit is back again.

Not even old reddit works for me.

Here is some more info: https://twitter.com/FirefoxSupport/status/148159226614171648...

There is a thread on /r/firefox (Use Chrome or Edge to see it) https://www.reddit.com/r/firefox/comments/s2utvv/psa_solutio...

Although that's from yesterday, that's a separate issue, browsing wasn't working for any site.

In this case the Reddit servers are responding with a 403

> Firefox has witnessed outages recently

How does a browser experience "outages"? Uh... In my mind it is just a tool and any outage would have to be on the part of the server/website I am trying to browse.

It hit a bug that causes it to busyloop. It would do that even if you don't visit any site. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29918052

None of that is working for me, I think it's a different issue.

Seems fixed? I just checked with FF.

Also from a Reddit Admin: > We believe we've tracked down the issue that was impacting some of your bots. There may be some lingering 403 issues as we hash it all out over the next day or so

> https://www.reddit.com/r/redditdev/comments/r55zax/comment/h...

The post you're referencing is two months old.

My bad, you're right. I mistook "2m" as 2 minutes ago, not two months.

not for me

Looks like it is, yes. A couple hours ago I was getting an error here and there, but now it doesn't load anything at all.

Blocked only on all my machines. Reddit iOS app is fine, Safari on mac OS is fine as well.

I too was worried I was IP banned!

HTML only says <body><pre>Blocked</pre></body>

Whew. Thought someone was messing with my computer. Can confirm Firefox only.

Whew. Thought someone was messing with my compute. Can confirm Firefox only.

Looks like this was active all of 20-25 minutes, and now it's over. :)

spent a good part of my morning trying to figure out why Reddit was down but nobody on the internet mentioned that. Tried chrome and Reddit is fine, so something weird must be going on with FF

I just saw the same thing. Guess my productivity is going to skyrocket.

Same here, thought it must be me! Related to the earlier http3 issue?

That's what I guessed, but the http3 fix has no effect

Changing user-agent doesn't do anything either

Spoofing the user-agent to look like Chrome made reddit work for me when using Firefox.

Weird - perhaps the extension I was using didn't actually work

Seems like they've fixed whatever it was now anyhow

It seems the User-Agent workaround solved it for some people, but not for others. Definitely weird.

THANK YOU. I thought it was just me. And Chrome works fine! Bizarre.

Works on Safari, but is 'blocked' on Firefox... I was researching Ukrain-Russian relations, and posting in r/Worldnews at the time regarding the recent news. Wondering if it's related, or if lots of users are experiencing this.

Can it be related to the http3 downgrade firefox did yesterday?

Oh no, not reddit, the biggest cesspool of the internet!

I disabled DNS via HTTPS and it solved the issue.

They should do this more, I needed the break.

It seems to work fine for me.

How many is 'many'?

What browser? Firefox seems to be the only one affected right now

I get "ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED" with Chromium as well.

Firefox. On desktop.

Loads okay for me too.

Anyone tried changing the user agent?

Confirmed Firefox only on my devices

Guess I'll get some work done

good to see I'm not the only one. Chrome and Edge work fine. I hope this gets fixed.

Same problem. Its fine on chrome.

Works fine for me on Firefox...

Yes, me too. What is happening?

maybe it's a blessing in disguise.

78.14.0esr (32-bit) on rpi4 works

both of these on x86-64 do not:

- 96.0.1

- 95.0.2

oh it's working again as of 7.13pm GMT

It works on Iceweasel 38 :P

Getting a 403 on FF, yes.

Alphabet investment in Reddit confirmed.


Happens to me as well.

same exact thing here.

Phew.... Not just me.

old.reddit.com is accessible just fine under 88.

good to see this thread, hope this gets fixed.

It is for me

Same here

same here (Poland)

im seeing the same

not for nightly

Removed incorrect information, sorry folks!

No, it is definitely getting back a 403 from the server:

    HTTP/2 403 Forbidden
    retry-after: 0
    content-type: text/plain
    accept-ranges: bytes
    date: Fri, 14 Jan 2022 19:10:51 GMT
    via: 1.1 varnish
    cache-control: private, max-age=3600
    strict-transport-security: max-age=31536000; includeSubdomains
    x-content-type-options: nosniff
    x-frame-options: SAMEORIGIN
    x-xss-protection: 1; mode=block
    server: snooserv
    x-clacks-overhead: GNU Terry Pratchett
    content-length: 7
    X-Firefox-Spdy: h2

blocked here, all other browsers work fine

Waterfox is working. Must be something new that FF is doing.

... and suddenly FF is working again. Somebudy dun goofed.

Looks like FireFox is actually blocking Reddit rather than the other way around.

Edit: Firefox blocked the site from loading as it would have been unsafe to attempt due to the encoding problem. I wasn't implying anything else and even posted the browser's own error message. Relax.

Check your console:

    The character encoding of the plain text document was not declared. The document will render with garbled text in some browser configurations if the document contains characters from outside the US-ASCII range. The character encoding of the file needs to be declared in the transfer protocol or file needs to use a byte order mark as an encoding signature.

It's just a warning firefox is logging because the "Blocked" response is just `text/plain` and doesn't have a header specifying the character encoding.

Yes, the browser wasn't sure if its render engine would get stuck, but there was a big chance it would only end up dumping a bunch of garbled text on screen anyway (of a different sort than usual :) ). Therefore it decided to simply not load the file at all.

In other words, Firefox literally blocked the website from loading and that's precisely what I said.

No, Firefox did not block anything.

Firefox contacted the server, and the server sent back a 7–byte text/plain response containing “Blocked”. Since no encoding was specified, Firefox guesses and displays “Blocked” on the screen. Hopefully it was in an encoding you could read, but in case it shows up as mojibake or something Firefox also put a warning in the dev console. The warning isn’t for end users, it is for the developer of the site who is wondering why their site shows up as mojibake.

No, that just means that there is no encoding sent in the header (or HTML http-equiv tag).

Anyway, it's back up for me.

Yes no encoding so unsafe to render, therefore Firefox blocked it. Wasn't implying anything else.

If you saw the word "Blocked", then it did render it.

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