Editorials: 502 bad gateway: the blind alley!
The 502 bad gateway thing which appears whenever opening a page is probably the toughest experience a web editor may have to face. The Brits would eventually call this a “cul-de-sac” as inherited from French. Meanwhile the ‘Froggies’ would name it a “voie sans issue”. As for the Americans, they come up with an expression even more evokative… The “blind alley” which perfectly summarizes the situation.
502 bad gateway: what is it?
Many are those of you who most likely have been directed to a 404 or eventually a 410 page while surfing on the blogosphere. Well, to make this short, a 404 page is where you’ll get whenever clicking on a link which doesn’t seem to find a correspondance on a website for a reason or another. Meanwhile, a 410 one will tell you that a link and most likely the post or page which corresponds to it has been deleted.
In order to avoid the 404, the web editor will have to act in such a way that the link you’ve been clicking on is leading to an existing publication. In other words, that it matches with the link emanating from the site itself. And if not, that you’ll therefore have to create a redirection… A 310, so that both you and the search engines can have access to the publication.
A 404 or a 410 are things one can pretty much deal with with the help of extensions or plugins. But facing a 502 bad gateway thing is a way different story…
502 bad gateway: how does it feel?
Just try to imagine doin’ a radio show, blending talks and music with no one in the position to hear you. Because there’s been a problem with the transmission somewhere. Quite frustrating, huh? Well, that’s just about the same whenever facing the 502 bad gateway experience. You, the editor, find yourself there, on your dashbord, giving instructions which are not working most of the time. And you just don’t know why you’re stuck in such a situation. Except from the fact that something just ain’t right somewhere.
It can be coming from your computer, it can be coming from your access provider. But it can also be coming from the server where the site is hosted. But how ever can you do a proper diagnostic when in front of such a situation? And even more when it’s the first time (*)…
Hopefully you have the ability to check how the connection is working from your computer to your access provider. Then to the server where your site is hosted. But frankly speaking, you already have to have a certain knowledge of things. Something which is most likely way above the average competence to understand the whole scope.
502 bad gateway: what to do?
You might have to understand how your computer is working. Although unless being the victim of some malware, you won’t really have to do anything on it. Second, comes your access provider in the position to test the line you’re using. Then, last but not least, comes the server where your site is hosted. And that’s quite a different story. Coz’ most of the time, you don’t own it and, as a result, don’t have any control. This meaning something’s got to be done by those in the position to control it. With the final result depending on the competences of your interlocutor, when not simply his/her availability…
This is exactly what we’ve been comin’ thru since almost day one, with regular losses of connection then more recently those 502 bad gateway warnings. The reason being that we were regularly routed – let’s say 9 out of 10 times – to a deficient server for some reason. In other words, we sort of were the victims of a bad loop somewhere. A situation somehow reminding of the memorable British TV 60’s series ‘The Prisoner’ featuring the late Patrick McGoohan. This therefore explaining how our publication schedule has been so sporadic over the last weeks. Then how we had to put Indamixworldwide out of activity for a couple of days in order to transfer our data base to an operational server…
After the 502 bad gateway has gone…
Well, on most cases, you would feel like released, with your data hosted on a different server. The way it is for us now. But what if ever the former one didn’t manage to back up your data for a certain time?
As if it wasn’t already enough, this is pretty much what happened to us, with our September publications gone from the website, although pretty much indexed by the search engines in the meantime.
A situation which got us in no other obligation but to try to retrieve them one way or another and republish them. Hopefully, and even though it takes extra time, a few tools are left at our disposal. Such as the Google cached pages if not archive.org
(*) pcsupport.about.com has a pretty much illustrative article about the subject here…
We would like to address our deepest thanks to Morad Nimar and Flavien Medja without whom we would probably keep on being stuck in the middle of nowhere.
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