Handling website timeout errors

22 Jan 2011 - 3:58pm
3 years ago
4 replies
1170 reads
Eric Perret
2008

I have been asked to work on a website that started experiencing issues when too many people are trying to log into the website at the same time (usually at the start of the business day).  Are there some examples or best practices to displaying a page/message to user indicating that the system is experiencing higher than expected usage and that the system timed out trying to log on the user?

Note that this is an internal website used by people who are familiar with the site and use it daily.

Comments

22 Jan 2011 - 10:05pm
Christian Snodgrass
2008

Best practice would be to improve the server/connection it's on so the message doesn't appear.
Apart from that though, you should simply state pretty much what you said "there is high traffic, please try again in a few seconds". You could make the page they are sent to the login page, pre-populated with the login information they just entered so they just have to hit the button again.
You could also try to have it automatically try to log them in as well by setting up some kind of refresh on the page.

On Sat, Jan 22, 2011 at 2:24 PM, Eric Perret <perree@gmail.com> wrote:


I have been asked to work on a website that started experiencing issues when too many people are trying to log into the website at the same time (usually at the start of the business day).  Are there some examples or best practices to displaying a page/message to user indicating that the system is experiencing higher than expected usage and that the system timed out trying to log on the user?

Note that this is an internal website used by people who are familiar with the site and use it daily.


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23 Jan 2011 - 4:26pm
Brenda Vander Linden
2010

If you decide to go with the automatic retry as Christian mentioned, I'd suggest building in a countdown timer so that people know just how soon it's going to retry.  Ideally you can optimize this time interval so that the retry is successful most of the time.  Without an automatic retry, you run the risk of people just hitting a refresh button over and over, exacerbating the problem of the server overload.  

You may want to provide a "Retry Now" button for those who feel they can't wait for the auto-retry.  However, providing it somewhat defeats the purpose of optimizing the retry time interval.

Additionally, I'd suggest an audio cue of some kind once they do get auto-logged in so they don't have to keep checking visually.

23 Jan 2011 - 11:05am
eliannaj
2010

In general the issue isn't with the website, but with the server or with some service that feeds the website. I would have the IT dept run a profiler on it and compare the usage behaviors between "prime time" and "low usage" times. Then, armed with the stats some plan can be put in place for a fix.
By adding a message, which is just a hard coded bit of text, you are avoiding solving the problem at the root cause.

elianna james
'I break websites'
eliannaj@yahoo.com
303-494-2285 (home)720-425-1001 (cell)

23 Jan 2011 - 12:05pm
Eric Perret
2008

A valid point, but this will be a tactical solution until the engineers figure out where the slow down is occurring. We wanted something generic that the users would understand without confusing them or compounding the problem.

Eric.

On Jan 23, 2011, at 12:05 PM, eliannaj wrote:

> In general the issue isn't with the website, but with the server or with some service that feeds the website. I would have the IT dept run a profiler on it and compare the usage behaviors between "prime time" and "low usage" times. Then, armed with the stats some plan can be put in place for a fix. > By adding a message, which is just a hard coded bit of text, you are avoiding solving the problem at the root cause. > > elianna james > 'I break websites' > eliannaj@yahoo.com > 303-494-2285 (home)720-425-1001 (cell) >

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