Dealing With Surly and Downright Rude Websites!

My favorite of all the HTTP return codes is 403, which reads like this:

The server understood the request, but is refusing to fulfill it. Authorization will not help and the request should NOT be repeated.

The server understood the request but is refusing to fulfill it? That's it, no explanation given? If that’s not an example of surly, rude behavior I don’t know what is.

Or, at a lower level, there is the famous “connection refused” message that tells you nothing at all, except perhaps that the owner of the website wants nothing to do with you. That’s the cyber equivalent of a slap in the face the way I see it!

From my experience, connections most often get refused when there just aren’t enough of them to go around, and that is often because of an arbitrary and artificial limitation on the load balancer. For the nginx load balancer, for example, the default is 1024 – a lovely, round number with a venerable history for sure, but WAY too low for a majority of websites.

Remember, these connections have a life of their own that leaves them hanging around, sometimes for up to 3 minutes. So you don’t have to have 1024 simultaneous connections to hit the limit, which makes it even more of a ridiculous number.

Operations folks typically see a number like that and think it was defined that way for a good reason. Because of that, they are reluctant to change it the same way a plumber is reluctant to turn a faucet all the way up and leave it. But failure to do so will result in a cyber face-slapping for your users, who may assume the problem is at their end and start haranguing their ISP. Hopefully their ISP will keep them on the phone long enough for you to get the problem fixed!

So only YOU can prevent the rude and surly treatment of your users by making sure the “connection faucet” is turned up all the way and left there!

EOR (End of Rant)

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