Connection Timed Out

When content is being served from your iThemes Hosting websites, you might occasionally receive the following error message:

Connection timed out - please try again

This article explains the causes of the error, provides steps that you can take to improve the experience and tells you about the steps we have taken to mitigate the problem.

What the error message means:

The Connection timed out - please try again error message is displayed when a script exceeds the maximum timeout value of 30 seconds. If the load balancer that is serving the content does not receive data from the server processing the data, the load balancer closes the connection and the client immediately receives the error message. In most cases, the script continues to execute until it reaches completion, generates an error or times out on the server; however, the page does not load on the client as expected and the client instead receives the connection timeout error.

Why the error happens and how to correct it:

The connection timeout can be a difficult issue to troubleshoot, especially across all customer use cases. If you are seeing timeouts intermittently, we recommend that you audit your code; intermittent timeouts often indicate code that might need to be optimized or broken down into smaller pieces. Following are some specific causes and suggestions for troubleshooting:

  • Database Queries - A large or poorly optimized database can cause otherwise small queries to take a long time to return data. This issue can usually be alleviated by optimizing the database to reduce overhead from MyISAM.
  • Long Running Script - You can use the exec function to run the script in the background and write its status to a database or a file. You could then use AJAX to display a loading bar and check the script's status. After the script is completed, you can then remove the loading bar and proceed to a completion page. (This is just an example, but the concept is good for any situation.)
  • Plugin Conflicts - Plugin conflicts or plugins trying to do too much within the time frame. To rule this out you will want to try disabling all plugins.
  • Theme Issues - Sometimes the theme you've chosen to use is what could be causing these issues. In order to correct this, you can reset the theme to default.
  • Non-existant Files - This error can also occur when a site is trying to load files that don't exist (404 errors). This dramatically slows a site down and in rare cases can cause a timeout.
  • External Content - A site that is loading data from an external location can experience load issues that cause a timeout. For example, if a site relies on Google Analytics, Authorize.net or PayPal and the corresponding service goes down or begins responding slowly, the site experiences a performance issue that, in some cases, can cause the page not to load or to load intermittently. This issue could be caused by many different plug-ins that are popular in WordPress.
  • Invalid Cookies - In extremely rare cases, you might see this error message because an invalid cookie is being stored by your browser. Invalid cookies can cause you to see the error message on pages that initiate a session on your site (such as login or member pages or sometimes even your homepage). Although rare, you should clear your browser cache and try the page again to verify that this is not the case.
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