The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

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Benvolio
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The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Benvolio »

There doesn't seem to be a thread about problems with PCKF or KM so rather than make an isolated thread about one incident, let's have a thread we can use to keep such conversations in one place.

Since earlier this week there have been intermittent server problems on both forums. It seems to be very intermittent, with good service the majority of the time.

When the problem happens, the form is incredibly slow, and pages take multiple clicks and/or many minutes to open.

There also have on quite a number of occasions been error messages which are as follows (excuse mistakes as I typed this from a phone screengrab)

Code: Select all

SQL ERROR [ mysqli ]

User rigeordz_phpbb3 already has more than 'max_user_conections' active connections [1203]

An sql error occurred while fetching this page. Please contact an administrator if this problem persists.
The forum states there are currently 33 users online.

Turns out I'm not sure how to contact an admin if the forum's down(ish) so I'm posting whilst the going is good. (I know there's Keenwiki if things get truly dire.)
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Syllypryde
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Syllypryde »

Not sure about KM, but here at PCKF the moderators have listed their personal contact information just like most regular members do. You could record their information for emergency uses. If you need to contact them and either one or both forums are down you can contact them directly. I'm sure it wouldn't bother them to do this just as long as you only contact them this way for problems.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Nisaba »

Thanks for the alert. The problem is already known and the server host has also been informed.
out now (link) : Image
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Fleexy »

I'm the server operator. Sorry about this disruption! I finally caught it happening and I think I identified the problem. There were a constant stream of requests (particularly heavy search requests) from within a cloud provider in Hong Kong - probably a crawler, not malicious, but effectively overwhelming the server. I banned the IP and performance seems to have increased substantially.

If there are future problems, you can reach me on Discord (fleex255, or post in the PCKF Discord) or via email (my username at Keen Modding's domain).
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Quillax »

Yeah, I've been getting that error you posted, Benvolio, and the PCKF was loading very slowly for me yesterday.

Thanks for fixing the problem, Fleexy! I really appreciate your service! :) I thought that maybe PCKF was being flooded by numerous AI scraper bots, but that turns out to be not the case it seems. I'm surprised to learn that this was just one bot. I wonder why it was doing so many searches. Seems strange.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Malvineous »

I have the same issue from time to time on the KeenWiki. Often it turns out to be a group of archivists mirroring a whole site and if they don't rate limit their requests it can easily overload a server that is only sized for a small amount of traffic. Especially if they're not smart about it and they mirror every URL instead of just the main content ones, so they end up grabbing every single page revision, along with the page showing the difference between that and the previous revision, and so on. You can end up with thousands of requests for each page, and those usually aren't cached because people don't look through the page history very often, so it causes a lot of load on the database.

Web crawlers (and I presume AI crawlers) generally tend to be pretty well behaved and send requests at a fairly low rate - only a couple of requests a minute - so they haven't been an issue for me.
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Quillax
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Quillax »

I've been getting this error from time to time:

Code: Select all

SQL ERROR [ mysqli ]

Too many connections [1040]

An sql error occurred while fetching this page. Please contact an administrator if this problem persists.
In other words, I'm browsing PCKF just fine for a while, and then this error comes up when I click on a link. A refresh or two always seems to make it go away, however. Lately, the error came up more frequently, though.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Quillax »

I just got a 503 error.

As of this writing, the forum states that there are 378 guests online. I don't remember it being that high for a long time (if ever before), although I never paid too much attention to the guest count. At least the error I pointed out last post seems to be gone.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Dave216 »

It seems also that bots generate some replies on some threads. Some are more obvious than others, and some are just rephrasing posts by other members. 

Nice job, admins, for spotting them and removing them quickly.
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Quillax
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Quillax »

Yeah, in your Revival of Bliss thread, I once saw a post that was strikingly similar to mine. I reported it, and then Fleexy took care of it. The staff members sure make quick work out of the spambots!
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Soul Monster »

Quillax wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 9:04 I just got a 503 error.

As of this writing, the forum states that there are 378 guests online. I don't remember it being that high for a long time (if ever before), although I never paid too much attention to the guest count. At least the error I pointed out last post seems to be gone.
I've noticed that too over the last few days. It seems like the number of guests has become a lot higher since that server update. Hopefully it's not a big deal.
Dave216 wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 9:14 It seems also that bots generate some replies on some threads. Some are more obvious than others, and some are just rephrasing posts by other members.

Nice job, admins, for spotting them and removing them quickly.
I noticed that too when I first logged on. I reported one of those posts and it was gone within 2 hours. Gotta love our speedy admins!
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Roobar »

To Fleexy or whoever is managing the phpBB forum: I have a notifications problem. I've subscribed to a thread and got notifications of each new post. That's OK. However, I decided to unsubscribe from that thread and while it looks like I'm no longer subscribed, I still got notifications when someone posts something there. Can you look into this issue?
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Fleexy »

Thanks for the reports. It looks like the ByteDance crawler is way too aggressive, and also doesn't respect robots.txt, so now anything with its user agent gets served an instant 403.
Roobar wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 17:50 However, I decided to unsubscribe from that thread and while it looks like I'm no longer subscribed, I still got notifications when someone posts something there. Can you look into this issue?
I'm not sure if this is a phpBB bug or UI issue, but in any case I've cleared your subscription to the thread you turned off notifications for.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Roobar »

That's great! Thanks! :pogo

Edit:
Fleexy wrote: Sat Mar 30, 2024 14:46 Thanks for the reports. It looks like the ByteDance crawler is way too aggressive, and also doesn't respect robots.txt, so now anything with its user agent gets served an instant 403.
Roobar wrote: Fri Mar 29, 2024 17:50 However, I decided to unsubscribe from that thread and while it looks like I'm no longer subscribed, I still got notifications when someone posts something there. Can you look into this issue?
I'm not sure if this is a phpBB bug or UI issue, but in any case I've cleared your subscription to the thread you turned off notifications for.
Well, I still get notifications.
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Re: The PCKF/KM Technical Problems Thread

Post by Fleexy »

Ah, it looks like you both bookmarked and subscribed to the topic. Apparently phpBB sends notifications for bookmarked topics by default, which is somewhat surprising to me. You can either unbookmark the topic, or disable notifications from bookmarks by going to your User Control Panel → Board preferences → Edit notification options → uncheck "Someone replies to a topic you have bookmarked."
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