Having Ning Problems?

Increasingly, the public is reporting having difficulty getting access to the ning. It seems to time-out, or the pages display oddly, as though some of the scripts or data were missing. Sometimes, for some individuals or from some regions, the ning is inaccessible for days. Others find it is time of day, as though the Earth wobble were creating electro-magnetic disruption on Internet traffic. The ning is headquarters on the West Coast, on the San Andreas, and the current bow stress on the North American Plate is likely part of the problem, at least during certain times of day. An example of the complaints:

COMPLAINT: I have been unable to access the ning URL for days!  It just kept timing out in the browser! I did a ping in tracert using cmd mode and it timed out midway somewhere on the web, not at my local area.  This means it was not being blocked locally. Access was apparently timing out for the entire West Coast as I scanned the site from various locations in the U.S.  Many areas on the West and Midwest did not resolve any images or any part of the pages. I used an anonproxy to get to the ning from the East Coast and I could access the Ning just fine. This is the second time this has happened over extended periods of time. Anyone else on the Ning complain of this issue?

This problem was tossed out to several ning members who are systems experts, to see if a solution might be at hand. Possible solutions were to use a proxy server or switch to a different IP address for the ning. The conclusion is that using a proxy does not seem to be the answer, because the ning does not operate with a static IP. 

IP RESEARCH:  I see that the ning network has at least one block of IP's rather than running all sites on one IP. Reading the ning’s support forum, it appears that they did have a bunch of server/routing issues within their network and a dedicated IP isn't likely to solve website availability issues. One tool we can use is traceroute. This is showing us that ning is running on the Savvis network, and that in general, the network is a little slow responding. In reviewing the DNS for ning, there is one fairly critical error reported – “nameserver  SOA serial number” Oops! It seems their nameservers don't agree on the SOA serial number! This probably means that changes made on one nameserver weren't made on another. This could lead to intermittant connectivity issues.  

TRACERT RESEARCH: This tracert show that currently there is a 25% packet loss on the server, yet server is reachable when not arriving via savvis. Next is a result that shows that the path slows quite a bit when the path goes through savvis.net. The tracert times out and never got to poleshift.ning.com. There are 17534 domains using the same IP as poleshift.ning.com

Clearly by being a mega site operating globally, the ning is subject to problems during these electromagnetically challenging times! 

CONCLUSION: Accessing Ning by a proxy is not an option. This is not a static site. The way such mega sites operate is to divide and conquer. They split their pages into small components, where different servers are then responsible for different parts. The IP you are tracing is not a server IP, just a load balancer or reverse proxy, which then decides which request goes to which server. There's no way to access servers directly, and even if there was a way, you'd need to know how to assemble responses from individual servers into what is a final page sent to the user's browser. Sorry, but I'm afraid we'd have to get used to it. I'm noticing that in the past 14 days, this seems to become the norm here in Europe. Servers not responding, although monitoring says all is fine; wifi and mobile networks going down a lot; applications misbehave for no apparent reason. All signs of the times.

If the ning is down, the public can potentially check http://status.ning.com or https://www.facebook.com/Ning for updates. Using hotspotshield also successfully bypasses a local ning server that is temporarily having problems. Ning problems do tend to clear up.

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