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Ask PG: Is HN experiencing server problems?
123 points by mck- on Nov 1, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments
Many Bad Gateway and Server errors today -- any reasons why?

It was, but things seem to be getting better. Our hacker Nick is on the case.

You can tell Nick to take his time. I'm having a very productive morning.

So many defects knocked out this week during the HN issues. I don't know whether to be glad or what.

set noprocrast

pg could vastly improve the tech world productivity if he would set a general noprocrast at certain hours.. from 10 to 12:30 and 14 to 16..

The individual noprocrast is not very useful at least for me, as I donĀ“t have the willpower to keep it on..

I just set it, but can someone tell me what it does? :)

See http://ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html

"In my profile, what is noprocrast?

It's a way to help you prevent yourself from spending too much time on News.YC. If you turn it on you'll only be allowed to visit the site for maxvisit minutes at a time, with gaps of minaway minutes in between. The defaults are 20 and 180, which would let you view the site for 20 minutes at a time, and then not allow you back in for 3 hours. You can override noprocrast if you want, in which case your visit clock starts over at zero."

yeah national average productivity jumped up by 50%

I wondered what the actual number was, related to HN's issues of course. Would be fun to know something like this.

Hell yeah, Wednesday with HN down was my most productive day this week.

Obviously you are not ;)

Cool. I thought maybe it caught something from healthcare.gov servers. It's that time of year you know.

By the way, when you say Nick, you don't mean nickb' (https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=nickb) do you?

I hope it's him, I wonder what happened to him.

Have you identified the cause?

Still investigating, but Nick just turned off the site for non logged-in users to take the load off the system while we try to figure out what's going on.

It is interesting that this is the exact opposite action Reddit takes when they are having server problems. I wonder what that says about each respective community.

From a technical side, it probably means that Reddit is showing static pages to visitors while HN is showing dynamic ones.

Reddit's previously stated that non-logged-in users cause substantially lower resource consumption per user - I imagine that's a more likely explanation.

Reddit uses an edge-cache for all logged-out content. They pass logged-in content.

A cached HTTP document in something like Varnish should take virtually no resources whatsoever.

HN is on Cloudflare but they might not be caching pages at the edge (they should).

Presumably there's only so much caching you can do it this case - the points change on articles every second. Not like everyone has to see the most up to date content but it would be a trade off (that many wouldn't like)

If you don't mind me asking, what percentage of page views are non logged-in users?

It's awesome pg responds so quickly... I'm wondering if he gets alerted (probably) or if he's on here a lot (probably). Maybe we could DDOS his alert system with threads about pg rated movies...

And an aside- does pg have the most karma of any HN user?

pg has 147,000+ karma https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=pg and the top of the leaderboard is tptacek with 159,000+ https://news.ycombinator.com/leaders

I am the secret force behind all of YC.

How much time do you spend on HN?

A casual analysis would be that I treat HN the way most of my coworkers treat IRC, which I try to avoid.

Let's say you were a founder at a company that is "always hiring" the kind of person you might find on HN? How much would be enough?

If we could stop hiring amazing people off HN, I could probably break the habit, but right now it's pretty hopeless for me.

"If we could stop hiring amazing people off HN, I could probably break the habit

Rather than trying to break the habit you could always hire a ghost commenter to carry on. With you occasionally checking in to throw off everyone's scent.

https://news.ycombinator.com/leaders ... Yet another HN URL that's mostly undisclosed. Sometimes I wonder how many there are.

Click "Lists" In the footer of the site; it's no secret.

It's incomplete though - https://news.ycombinator.com/classic is not listed, for example.

Is there a reason for keeping these hidden?

I've also wondered about downvoting... I never see a button for that, but it seems like some people are still able to. Is it just the 'flag'?

No, you need a minimum amount of karma for the downvote button to appear. I think its at ~500 now.

It used to be in the main header but was removed so as to stop encouraging people attempting to get a higher 'score'. (A group I was in. Getting into the top 100 was my goal one year, and I pulled it off by contributing lots.)

Is it related to the DDoS, or a separate issue?

It's not related so far as we can tell.

What do you do to mitigate DDoS attacks? Prolexic? Cloudflare? Other?

HN does make use of Cloudflare apparently, I got several not loading messages which made mention of Cloudflare.

To elaborate, I think they began using Cloudflare just the other day, as a solution to the DDoS. I was able to get through by the time I checked it in the morning from home, but after getting to work I still couldn't access it for hours while the DNS change propagated.

Apart from the outages, the favicon is missing since a few days.

Yeah things were really rocky for me for a couple of days. Down completely yesterday and periodic "bad gateway" messages earlier today. Seems to be working better now. Was refreshing like a crack addict :/

About 5-10 minutes ago, each time I'd refresh I was logged in as another user. On a side note, what's it mean when that user's header is cyan instead of orange?

Yeah, that was a caching directive gone wrong. I think I caught it almost immediately though.

you can set the color of your header from your profile page

There must be a threshold for that, I don't have that setting...

I think it appears once you have 500+ karma

Only 456 to go...

I think it's 250 (I have 307 and have had it for a while)

Experiencing problems as well - potentially gateway related

CF can cause a small DoS as it does some aggressive pre-fetching. So your server needs to handle short bursts really well. Not to mention whitelist CF's IP space both in the firewall and nginx rate limiting.

Page loads are still incredibly slow.

I'm getting full-on errors:

" Yeah, that didn't work. Try again, perhaps later?

Bad gateway

The web server reported a bad gateway error.

Ray ID: c6a435dd44307b5

Your IP address: *

Error reference number: 502

CloudFlare Location: Miami "

I think I've spotted the problem: you have an asterisk instead of an IP address. :|

Same error here in Seattle

Yeah, that didn't work. Try again, perhaps later?

Bad gateway

The web server reported a bad gateway error.

Ray ID: c6aad60831a051a Your IP address: <redacted> Error reference number: 502 CloudFlare Location: Seattle

I'm getting similar:

Ray ID: c6aa828c05b07d9 Your IP address: [redacted] Error reference number: 502 CloudFlare Location: Los Angeles

This might be unrelated, but I'm constantly being prompted for captcha even when I'm just viewing and not trying to respond. Can something be done about this?

We have captchas on HN?

Might be a cloudflare thing.

> class="cf-captcha-submit"

Yea, looks like its a custom CF page. I got the standard CF captcha screen when going to pastebin. Screenshot and HTML source below.

Screenshot: http://imgur.com/bylyqlM

HTML: http://pastebin.com/6HrfCWFY

It shows up with the HN theme (orange bar at top and beige background) but without other links/text like user info on the right or the footer. I first noticed it the other day when I started using a wired connection at work instead of WiFi.

So it's not even Recaptcha? Sounds interesting.

Yea, its recaptcha. I'll try to get a screenshot the next time it happens.

Yesterday, it was offline most of the day for me.

adv0r it is taking a long time to load because you are hell banned.

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