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Webpage loading quirk on geocaching.com?


xplorer7
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This has been a consistent minor annoyance for me since I started geocaching (3 1/2 years ago!). Frequently (maybe 20 - 25% of the time, but that's a subjective guess) when I click on a link, the page hangs indefinitely and does not load. Performance is fine if the page does load--after 5 or 10 seconds I just click the stop button and try again, because typically it's either loaded (or obviously loading) by then, or it will not load at all. Worst case, occasionally, I might have to repeat this ritual five or six times to load one page, which is quite annoying.

 

This has persisted for me over site upgrades, ISP provider changes, and I believe different computers/connections/locations, and this behavior is unique to geocaching.com, it does not happen to me in general at other websites, yet I do not remember ever having come across comments from others about this website behavior.

 

So my questions:

 

1) Does this happen to anyone else?

 

and most importantly,

 

2) Does anyone know of a solution?

 

Thanks

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1. Constantly. And sometimes the reload is so slow I can watch glaciers progress past my window while waiting ... :(

 

2. Close browser and come back later.

It's happening to me now, it took 15 minutes to log the one cache I found, and enable one I replaced today.

Very frustrating.

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Yes, this is INCREDIBLY annoying. I've posted about it before, but it never receives much response from people.

 

Interestingly for me anyway, this only seems to happen with firefox. If i get the 'hang' in firefox, then switch to Safari, the site works fine. This never seems to happen with Safari at all.

 

I'd be sooo happy if they were to fix this someday...

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I thought about this shortly after I posted: I wonder if it is related to the browser? I use firefox so routinely that I realized that I couldn't rule that out. I THOUGHT I've had this happen on the rare occasions I've used Internet Explorer, but honestly I'm not totally sure, and come to think of it I don't remember it ever happening within GSAK's built in browser.

 

If this doesn't happen in Internet Explorer with it's market share, it might explain why you never got much response before, but that could change at the rate firefox has been catching up recently. Sounds like a worthy experiment to use only other browsers on the site for awhile, but it would be a hassle deciding what to do about a default browser. Or maybe we'll get a feel for whether this is related to browser type from further posts...

 

I agree, a fix for this would be hands down number one on my list of desired changes to the website.

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This isn't a browser issue... it's a webserver issue. I've already verified that the times seem to fall over a distribution (ie. somewhat periodic) and are basically seen simultaneously from multiple destinations on separate coasts.

 

It's most definitely a combination of server and browser issue. I can create a video of the issue happening in firefox, then me switching to safari and the site working perfectly while it still lags in firefox. 100% reproducable.

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This isn't a browser issue... it's a webserver issue. I've already verified that the times seem to fall over a distribution (ie. somewhat periodic) and are basically seen simultaneously from multiple destinations on separate coasts.

 

It's most definitely a combination of server and browser issue. I can create a video of the issue happening in firefox, then me switching to safari and the site working perfectly while it still lags in firefox. 100% reproducable.

Groundspeak has multiple web servers for gc.com, and one or more of them is somewhat broken at any given time. Most likely you're getting a different server when you switch to Safari. Similar to what happens when you go to the maps and you get stuck loading caches, or the "zoom to address" does nothing at all.

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This isn't a browser issue... it's a webserver issue. I've already verified that the times seem to fall over a distribution (ie. somewhat periodic) and are basically seen simultaneously from multiple destinations on separate coasts.

 

It's most definitely a combination of server and browser issue. I can create a video of the issue happening in firefox, then me switching to safari and the site working perfectly while it still lags in firefox. 100% reproducable.

 

That does not prove it is a browser issue.

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PS:

 

Some time ago I tried setting Firefox's network.dns.disableIPv6 to true (via about:config), as I'd read something obscure somewhere that hinted that this change might fix things. For a while I though it did, but no. Maybe it made it better, it's hard to say, but it didn't fix anything.

 

Recently somebody in another thread here published the names, and more importantly the IP addresses, of the four servers GC.com uses. So if you get a server assigned by chance, you'd get a particular server about 25% of the time. There's that number again. Maybe one of the four servers doesn't like Firefox somehow.

 

What I haven't done (because it's a pain in the arse), but feel I need to, is tinker with my HOSTS file, hardwire GC.com to only one those servers, observe behavior for a week, then repeat three more times.

 

Has anybody else tried this?

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PS:

 

Some time ago I tried setting Firefox's network.dns.disableIPv6 to true (via about:config), as I'd read something obscure somewhere that hinted that this change might fix things. For a while I though it did, but no. Maybe it made it better, it's hard to say, but it didn't fix anything.

 

Recently somebody in another thread here published the names, and more importantly the IP addresses, of the four servers GC.com uses. So if you get a server assigned by chance, you'd get a particular server about 25% of the time. There's that number again. Maybe one of the four servers doesn't like Firefox somehow.

 

What I haven't done (because it's a pain in the arse), but feel I need to, is tinker with my HOSTS file, hardwire GC.com to only one those servers, observe behavior for a week, then repeat three more times.

 

Has anybody else tried this?

 

No, but please do report back with your findings.

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These are very strange observations and the first I've heard of them. While we certainly do have server issues from time to time, there is no way this should be occurring 20-25% of the time. I'd also be surprised that this is a Firefox issue as most of our developers use Firefox as their primary browser.

 

Can anyone come up with something reproducible? Based on the comments here, I've tried:

 

1. Doing a nearest cache search and clicking "next" over and over.

2. Going to the latest photos page and and clicking "next" over and over.

 

Neither of these reproduced the results indicated here.

 

We also use a fair amount of 3rd party javascript, so perhaps the hanging is due to one of these script blocks?

 

Since I'm fairly certain this is not something we've seen internally, anything you can point us to as potential causes would be helpful.

 

:( Elias

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Elias,

 

A very common source of "page hangs" is when I load a cache from a search results list. The cache details page simply times out and never opens. A second attempt often works fine. The issue is not browser dependent for me. There is no discernible pattern for when it happens.

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Here's some ideas I have so far, pulling together information learned from this thread:

 

I am not alone. Several of the responses sound EXACTLY like what I experience, while others sound like similar variations. I think it would be safe to infer that this problem does not occur automatically by virtue of using firefox: you would know about that because with a 22% market share there would have been more complaints and it would probably have happened to the developers. On the other hand, it is common enough to have pulled some half dozen reports from a sub-forum that gets, what?, maybe hundreds, and at most probably not more than one or two thousand hits per day, and combining the reports there seems to be a partial, but not absolute correlation to using firefox (unless there are two issues instead of one).

 

It was suggested by one that there is a periodic time distribution as to when this occurs, but others, including yours truly, have not noticed a pattern (although it does get really bad during some sessions and not so bad during others). I'll have to start writing down when the problem is better and worse for me.

 

It's known to happen on Ubuntu and XP (I'll vouch for XP), so it seems OS independent, although it has not been explicitly confirmed on either a Mac (OS) or Safari (browser). I'm curious, Benh57, do you use a Mac, or do you use the Windows version of Safari?

 

So there are four web servers at gc.com? That is an interesting coincidence. I don't know whether it's significant or not, but it sounds like it's worth exploring. I'm not an expert in this area, but I assume a different web server may respond to each request, even from the same session, am I right? That's also consistent with the page loading with no problem after the second (or sometimes third or more) attempt. Also, is there, can there be, ANY difference in either handling the request or in the response for requests originating from different browsers, or because of other factors specific to the requester? In Ben's case, I think that he would hit each server the same 25% of the time regardless of whether he was using firefox or Safari.

 

As for reproducing the problem, it is only reproducible in the sense that it happens often enough so that it will most assuredly happen again, although I cannot reproduce it at will for any given page load, nor even guarantee that it will happen in a given session, so I am at a loss of how to instruct someone to reproduce this problem who has not had it happen. I do not remember having this problem in the forums, but I am a somewhat infrequent visitor here, so I am not certain. However, I DO have this occur sometimes when I click on a popup image link on a cache page. I would be surprised if a third party javascript ran when I did this. OK, just now, I disabled javascript and tried to load a cache page. As luck would have it, it hung. When I tried again, with javascript still disabled, the page loaded normally. 3rd party javascript does not appear to be the culprit.

 

Oh, and whatever it is, it's not due to something new or introduced recently, this has been happening to me for a long time.

 

Perhaps Viajero's suggestion of someone with the problem connecting specifically to one GC.com server at a time would confirm or rule out a relationship between the server and certain user configurations.

 

Also, since the problem has not occurred for any of the developers, would it be useful for an afflicted user to run ethereal or some other diagnostic tool? I don't know whether or not it would nail down the problem, but at least it might indicate whether he or she is getting a response come in at all, no?

 

I know that I'd be happy to try any experimenting (time permitting) that might help troubleshoot what is going on.

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This issue has been brought up previously on this very forum. See http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php?showtopic=220506

 

In that thread, it was suggested that when the problem with the maps happens (where you're stuck on "Requesting geocaches" forever, or the "zoom to address" does nothing), one do a View Source and make note of the name of the server (it's hidden in an HTML comment near the bottom I think). IIRC, a larger portion of the problems were coming from one particular server.

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With GC.com I have this problem randomly but normaly when requesting a chace page, I normaly use the map and select the link in the pop up info buble, some days every thing is fine other days it just seems to hang and hang and time out or if I am luckey it will load the cache page but seems to take forever.

 

On the fourms this happens randomly normaly resulting in a time out or too many connections error after quite some time. In the fourms it is more frequent but only last from a few minutes to 3 or 4 hours and only seems to be when I click on a link the takes me to another page within the fourms.

 

These issues are consistent with bothe IE7 and IE8 as wellas Vista SP1 and Win 7.

 

Edit: It dosn't seem to happen so often reently on the fourms as it did up to a few weeks ago.

Edited by Hampshire_Hog
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With GC.com I have this problem randomly but normaly when requesting a chace page, I normaly use the map and select the link in the pop up info buble, some days every thing is fine other days it just seems to hang and hang and time out or if I am luckey it will load the cache page but seems to take forever.

 

On the fourms this happens randomly normaly resulting in a time out or too many connections error after quite some time. In the fourms it is more frequent but only last from a few minutes to 3 or 4 hours and only seems to be when I click on a link the takes me to another page within the fourms.

 

These issues are consistent with bothe IE7 and IE8 as wellas Vista SP1 and Win 7.

 

Edit: It dosn't seem to happen so often reently on the fourms as it did up to a few weeks ago.

Don't mix in google maps issues or forums issues with this sitewide 'geocaching.com hangs' issue. Though, i do see similar issues with forums.geocaching.com.

 

I use both PC and mac, but i most often see the 'hanging in firefox' issues on my Mac OS X laptop.

 

Often, the page load on geocaching.com will completely time out and just fail after a while.

 

Let's try it right now.. just attempted to visit http://www.geocaching.com/my/ -- 5:53 PM... ...loading... ok, giving up @ 5:58 pm. It isn't gonna happen.

Safari.. clicking to my profile.. loads right away.

Now back to firefox... let's abort the stuck load, and reload. Now it loads right away.

 

Almost seems like a load balancer issue. Just saw similar issue with the forums at the same time. Though they are on different servers, are they behind the same load balancer?

 

Glad to see this issue getting at least a little bit of attention. It's been happening for well over a year.

 

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=190901&hl= (my thread from last April)

http://forums.Groundspeak.com/GC/index.php...=202647&hl= (my post last post from Aug)

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Elias, this has been happening for me for several months, but definitely not 20-25% of the time (if translating 20-25% to 1 error for every 4 or 5 caches).

 

It's hard to put a percentage number to it because when it can happen for a long period of time. Like today, I've been unable to log anything since starting to try 90 minutes ago, but when it works, it will work great for 300-500 caches (a couple months worth of caching for me) without any problems.

 

It usually happens more on the weekends for me. I've attached a screenshot below showing what happened after I control-clicked on a field note, trying to get it to open in a new tab in Firefox. Sometimes switching to another browser fixes the problem, but tonight I get the same error with Internet Explorer too.

 

Edited to add that things are working great now in all browsers, which is what usually happens. Whatever the issue is, simply waiting a little while fixes it.

 

blankscreen.jpg

Edited by Skippermark
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With GC.com I have this problem randomly but normaly when requesting a chace page, I normaly use the map and select the link in the pop up info buble, some days every thing is fine other days it just seems to hang and hang and time out or if I am luckey it will load the cache page but seems to take forever.

 

On the fourms this happens randomly normaly resulting in a time out or too many connections error after quite some time. In the fourms it is more frequent but only last from a few minutes to 3 or 4 hours and only seems to be when I click on a link the takes me to another page within the fourms.

 

These issues are consistent with bothe IE7 and IE8 as wellas Vista SP1 and Win 7.

 

Edit: It dosn't seem to happen so often reently on the fourms as it did up to a few weeks ago.

Don't mix in google maps issues or forums issues with this sitewide 'geocaching.com hangs' issue. Though, i do see similar issues with forums.geocaching.com.

You're half right. The forums are on independent servers and databases, so any issues here are not related to the geocaching.com issues we're discussing. The maps issue, OTOH, has to be related. The maps pull data from the same servers as the rest of the site. See the post I linked to above

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I wasn't trying to mix in google map issues asit is the GC.com cache info page that will not load in a sepreate window, it's just the link on the map and that works fine.

 

Also I mentiond GC.com and the fourms as I wasn't shure which issue we were refereing to and I do see now reading back that it is just he GC.com one. Oh well there was me hopping we could kill two birds with one cache-rock.

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