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Slow loads causing blank pages? Or something worse?

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:41 pm
by tbartold
Your phpBB board URL:
Template(s) used: subSilver; comicBook; Chronicles; Classic; SpacePilot3K; Classic (Large font); subSilver (Large font); Appalachia
Any and all MODs: We have loads of mods, but most were added last year, and none have been added since feb 11 of this year. The following list is in reverse chronological order (newest first)
keep unread flags 2.0.3c
phpBB 2.0.18 to phpBB 2.0.19 Code Changes 1.0.0
EasyMOD 0.3.0
phpBB 2.0.17 to phpBB 2.0.18 Code Changes 1.0.1
EasyMOD 0.2.1a
phpBB 2.0.16 to phpBB 2.0.17 Code Changes 1.0.0
phpBB 2.0.15 to phpBB 2.0.16 Code Changes 1.0.0
phpBB 2.0.14 to phpBB 2.0.15 Code Changes 1.0.0
phpBB 2.0.13 to phpBB 2.0.14 Code Changes 1.0.0
phpBB 2.0.11 to phpBB 2.0.13 Code Changes 1.0.0
phpBB 2.0.10 to phpBB 2.0.11 Code Changes 1.0.0
EasyMOD 0.1.13
Installation Guide for Visual Confirmation 1.1.2
Prune polls also 1.0.0
Easy MOD Add-on 1.2.0a
Add Fields for DigiChat MOD 0.1.0
Installation Guide for Visual Confirmation 1.0.0
DigiChat MOD 0.1.5
Super Moderators 2.1.1
Multiple variable logo images 1.0.0
alternate total posts calculation 1.0.0
printer-friendly topic view option mod 1.0.8
User Posts/Topics per page - Hot Threshold 1.2.0
Report post hack 1.0.6
Custom Title MOD 1.0.2
Anti-Spam MOD Posting and Signatures 1.1.2
(Dis)allow signatures and avatars 1.0.2
Faq Manager (vers. English) 0.8.8
phpbbspell 1.06
Prune users 1.4.3
Advanced Banned User Management 1.1.2
EasyMOD 0.0.11a
Do you use a port of phpBB: No
Version of phpBB: 2.0.19
Version of PHP: 4.4.2
Which database server and version: MySQL 4.1.19-standard
Host: PowerVPS
Did someone install this for you/who: No
Is this an upgrade/from what to what: See MODs
Is this a conversion/from what to what: Originally from UBB to 2.0.4, then did a clean install with 2.0.10 when that came out (but copied over the database).
Have you searched for your problem: Yes
If so, what terms did you try: Oddly enough the search engine returned a blank page when I tried "blank"
State the nature of your problem: One forum in particular (forum 2), which is a private forum so you'll need a special account to try this... Whn you click on it to enter it, it never loads. Some users have reported getting a blank page or sometimes the message "This Page Cannot Be Displayed" (I have seen neither myself. Using firefox on linux, I generally get a popup asking me where I want to view or save "viewforum.php". Which, when I elect to view it, is blank, and when I save it, I get a zero length file.Individual posts/topics can be viewed in the forum by selecting the last post, or doing searches into the forum (e.g. do a search for "sound off" for topics in the category "sound off").
Do you have a test account for us: I can set up an admin account, just let me know and I'll PM you with the info.

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:43 pm
by Timtam1234
First off, optimize all tables in phpMyAdmin.

Posted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 9:46 pm
by tbartold
Timtam1234 wrote: First off, optimize all tables in phpMyAdmin.

Already did that. No joy.

And I have since confirmed that it is only the admin and moderators that cannot get into that forum. It's a private forum in that you must be a member of a special group or a moderator to get in, and the normal users in that group can get in fine, it's just the moderators that can't enter the forum.

The moderators currently need to search to find the topics and posts in the forum, and then can view and post to the topics, but the forum page just won't load for them.

Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:46 am
by tbartold
Any ideas, anyone? This is a real problem. The MODs cannot access the forum, leaving it unmoderated. This really is a problem.

Posted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 7:51 pm
by Ramon Fincken
when did this happen exactly?
do you have some file backups ?

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:21 am
by tbartold
This apparently started happening magically just before noon on the 17th. All the MODs chimed in that afternoon, but the normal users never noticed anything wrong.

We have weekly backups (both program and database), but I'd hate to have to blow away seven days worth of posts (more each minute I wait, obviously). And then I really don't want to do that anyway with no idea what is wrong, or what the fix should be. What if blowing away a week's worth of posts made no difference?

Any suggestions on what sort of non-destructive procedures I could try (like the optimization)? Should I try repair? Which table(s)? Should I try killing off the cache (does that hurt anything)? Disabling the cache? Changing gzip?

What is clearly non-destructive, that I could try first?

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 7:29 am
by Ramon Fincken
I'll get back to you later on this

optimize never hurts, I do it with a cron so I never forget it ;)
but keep the file backups ! just in case

if the blank pages are 'completely random' ... have you asked your host about it?

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 12:23 pm
by tbartold
We've determined that the blank pages are not random.

Only those who can moderate the forum get them. The blank pages are presented only to those who can moderate the forum (the admins or forums moderators).

They only appear on a single forum. It is only "viewforum.php" for f=2 that shows up blank. Normal users and no other forums are affected.

The browser you're using determines what it displays. I get the blank page using firefox on windows. I get the "download" of viewforum.php (as a zero length file) on linux. The "cannot display" message was delivered by IE on windows.

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:33 pm
by morestuff
good work, now you just need to determine what is different about that particular forum that makes this happen.

if viewforum.php works for all other forums, then it has to be something in that forum causing it.

Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2006 6:08 pm
by Ramon Fincken

can you zip;/rar your whole board ( minus the images and docs folders ) and mail it to me?

I've sent you my emailadress..

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:42 pm
by tbartold
Ramon - sorry I haven't sent anything yet, but I wanted to try moving the forums to a new server, and see what happens over there.

On the alternate server, I actually get a an error message, and it sort of explains things. We had auto-pruning enabled for the forum (we only have it enabled for a couple of forums), and that is what was causing the problem.

Code: Select all

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 8388608 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 7 bytes) in /home/user21/public_html/forums/includes/prune.php on line 57
Our prune.php is modified from the original, but the problem seems to be that our board has just gotten large enough so that pruning is just failing.

I turned off auto-prune, and now our moderators can get into the forum again, but I still can't prune it. I tried doing a manual prune from the admin control panel and I got a different error message:

Code: Select all

Fatal error: Maximum execution time of 30 seconds exceeded in /home/user21/public_html/forums/includes/prune.php on line 57
It's at the same line, it's just that it had a time limit rather than a memory limit for whatever reason.

Admittedly there is one change in our prune.php from the vanilla 2.0.19 version (MOD: Prune polls also 1.0.0):

Code: Select all

< 	$prune_all = ($prune_all) ? '' : 'AND t.topic_vote = 0 AND t.topic_type <> ' . POST_ANNOUNCE;
> 	$prune_all = ($prune_all) ? '' : 'AND t.topic_type <> ' . POST_ANNOUNCE;
But this just tels it that it's OK to prune old polls.

The code where it's actually failling is later:

Code: Select all

	if ( !($result = $db->sql_query($sql)) )
		message_die(GENERAL_ERROR, 'Could not obtain lists of topics to prune', '', __LINE__, __FILE__, $sql);

	$sql_topics = '';
	while( $row = $db->sql_fetchrow($result) )
		$sql_topics .= ( ( $sql_topics != '' ) ? ', ' : '' ) . $row['topic_id'];
Line 57 is the one inside the while loop.

So is it finding too many topics to prune? How can I fix that? Or is there some other problem?

Posted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:52 pm
by Ramon Fincken
make a backup first:

I don't know anything about this mod or if it even does the job..

but contacting your host about more execution time would come in handy..

Posted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 12:10 am
by tbartold
Ramon - thanks for the links!

However, it looks like the first one is not going to help (the significant code changes are after the line that fails - the earlier ones are just flaky semantics).

The second gives more control, but won't let me do a straight prune of the forum any different than I do now.

I just wonder if it has anything to do ith all those non-existant pruned topics that are still in the fourum. This is something I came across before, but never found a good answer to....

If you move topics out of a forum, and then prune them from the place they've moved to, the old fourum retains markers to the phantom topics. It's why we have a couple of empty pages at the end of the problem forum.

Is there a MOD that takes care of this problem (which I'm thinking is now at the root of ours), where it can look for topics that are moved, but no longer exist at the destination, and remove them first?

I don't know if that'd help, but it seems like it might. I know we can delete topics, and actually prne them from other forums, just not from this one largish forrum than has a bunch of phantom topics in it.

Posted: Sun Nov 26, 2006 3:23 am
by tbartold
OK so it's a bug in the prune.php code that's been there since 2.0.4. ... c&start=15

When I made the change (read - fixed the stupid bug), pruning now works again.

I wish the support crew at phpBB would fix the bug in the code themselves.

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2006 3:10 pm
by mrLenin
Thanks for info