[r-t] ringing.org ailing

Don Morrison dfm at ringing.org
Sat Aug 14 03:00:42 BST 2021

On Fri, Aug 13, 2021 at 6:50 PM Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org> wrote:
> I'm sorry, ringing.org keeps going down,

It’s back up again now, and I’m hopeful it’ll stay that way. But I’m
feeling around in the dark a bit, so may not have correctly diagnosed
the problem; or, even if I did, may not have applied a large enough
plaster to the wound. I’ll try to keep an eye on it.

If anyone is masochistic enough to want the details: it appears to me
that a South Korean search engine is completely ignoring the requests
in the robots.txt file, and whacking the site mercilessly, and the
wimpy little server† I use just can’t keep up. In particular, it
appears to be wanting it to draw a blueline of every method link cited
in the site, and said blueline drawing is fairly resource intensive.
As all these multitudinous requests are coming from a single IP
address, I’ve blocked it.

But maybe I’ve misdiagnosed the problem. Or maybe they'll start
whacking at it from a different address. We’ll see.

While this smacks of a denial of service attack (albeit just from a
single address), I don’t think it’s in any way malicious, just
somebody inadvertently being rude. Given this search engine has been
around for nearly 25 years and apparently never done this before, I’m
guessing someone made an ill-considered configuration change
somewhere. It’s kind of comical as it seems unlikely that there’s all
that much interest in change ringing in South Korea — certainly it’s
never been a factor in the statistics of real (as opposed to spider)
hits on the site in the past.

† Normally there is no need for a very powerful server for
ringing.org. Change ringing does not get a whole lot of attention from
most of the world, after all, so traffic is normally quite low. In
fact, I believe the majority of the traffic is spiders just sniffing
stuff out for search engines, albeit normally better behaved ones.

Don Morrison <dfm at ringing.org>
“Imagine, if you can.”
  – E M Forster, /The Machine Stops/
    (a century old novella about the age of COVID)

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