Error 503: What it Means for Lieberman
A little information from the World Wide Web consortium:
10.5.4 503 Service Unavailable The server is currently unable to handle the request due to a temporary overloading or maintenance of the server. The implication is that this is a temporary condition which will be alleviated after some delay. If known, the length of the delay MAY be indicated in a Retry-After header. If no Retry-After is given, the client SHOULD handle the response as it would for a 500 response.
That is also referred to as a 503 error in web/tech-guru talk. What this error tells you is that there are so many people trying to view the site at that time that it can not keep up. The server then sends out this error as a way of troubleshooting.
So why this sudden class in web servers? Well, as most of you may have guessed, this is a follow up to my earlier post about Lieberman and his "hacked site" claim. During Lieberman’s concession speech he mentioned his site, joe2006.com, and said to visit it once it becomes "unhacked". Well I decided to jump on and see what was happening with his site. Guess what happened. I got the infamous 503 error page on his site. I checked the IP and it was coming from his new GoDaddy hosting account. I hit refresh a couple of times and this is what came up:
(click to view larger image)
Joe is still claiming his hack on his new server.
The other thing to keep in mind is this. Joe has just changed hosting companies. You FDL regulars will certainly know how that goes and what we went through here when that happened. You get up to 48 hours where people can not access your site because when they enter your domain name (ie. joe2006.com), the servers that look that name up and change it into the computer talk of an IP address cache the information and many don’t update for up to 48 hours. This is called DNS propagation. (for those that want to learn more about DNS and propagation, check out this entry on Wikipedia .) We even had a few readers here that it took a couple of weeks for their DNS to catch up. Before that they were still getting sent to the old host.
So why bring that bit of history up? Well, Lieberman’s DNS records were just updated today. That means there are still plenty of people out there not even going to his new server at GoDaddy. That also means that he is getting overloaded with only a percentage of the actual traffic he can expect once everyone is fully propagated.
Now we get to sit and wonder if this will be the same story from now until November, or will Joe swallow his pride and say "oops I got screwed by being cheap". Nah – we will probably get a repeat of this ordeal again in the next three months.