unreasonable behaviour leads to edubuzz / Bloglines split

Sadly, it’s time for eduBuzz and Bloglines to have at least a trial separation, if not a permanent split.

Feed aggregators like Bloglines are a good thing, making it easy for people to keep an eye on lots of blogs. But if their attention brings the site down in the process, that’s not so good. That’s more like a Denial of Service attack, as Matt has observed.

Unfortunately we’ve reached the point where we have no choice but to block the Bloglines crawler. It’s imposing such an excessive load on the site, at such regular intervals, that the service to school users is being unacceptably degraded. Often it’s so been bad that the only way out has been to power cycle the server, and that has led to more time wasted repairing damaged database tables. Our record to date is 77 concurrent connections. A bit of research has shown that, with work, our server could be configured to throttle back these connections. But scrabbling up that learning curve isn’t the most productive use of our time.

For reasons best known to Bloglines, these connections arrive mob-handed. Maybe if they trickled away in the background things would be fine? We’ve tried contacting Bloglines, but, like others before us, have found they don’t respond to emails. James Farmer got a response from a helpful Bloglines engineer but unfortunately he’s moved on.

I’m disappointed to have to do this, as I have been using Bloglines since around 2000 and still think it’s a good product. If you’re disappointed too, why not let them know. They might listen to their own survey results…