Locked out of searching

Every time I use the search function on the forums (advanced or otherwise) I am able to use it once, then the next time I get this message:

“Sorry but you cannot use search at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.”

I have to shut down Safari, start it up again, and log back into the forums to get access to search again.

I was looking for an instructive answer from DT management.

Actually, it was necessary to put in a delay to keep the forum from interruptions due to crashes. The database is a bit fragile and several users hammering it at the same time with searches can bring it down. The IT folks (not DEVONtechnologies) we have to call to restore the forum get grumpy, because they have to temporarily shut down the databases of many other forums each time a reset is done.

One of these days, Eric has said, DEVONtechnologies may host and run its own forum database.

Thanks, Bill.

This is actually a bug in phpBB3 where people are catfighting in the phpBB forums about it. I have reduced the delays so it should be more usable and made other modifications a while ago and I’m watching the thing. Some queries seem to lock the mySQL server and after a while all slots are taken and the whole database server is jammed and needs to be restarted. We have enough memory, space, and resources. It’s ‘something’ in the forum software.

FWIW, another annoyance with the board. If we look for a term and we get a response that spans more than one page, it is impossible to click the icon to go to a page other than the first without getting the error message that says we’re locked out from searching. We’re not searching - we’re paging through search results.

That’s been increasingly frustrating to me lately, too. I ranted about it to Bill the other day, and when mentioning it to Eric yesterday he said he’d decrease the delay again.

Maybe you missed the end of Bill’s earlier post?

I see overlap with this topic and the issue tracking thread you started in the beta forum.

Are the lower delay values better now? It seems that using MySQL-based searching does not trigger the nasty bug.

There’s less delay but any amount when trying to browse multi-paged results is annoying.

Yeah, it’s a lot better. Thanks :slight_smile:

A few weeks ago I was looking for a script I had posted on here and was close to eating my own cranium with rage. Today I did it in just a couple minutes. Thanks, it made a lot of difference.

I’m sorry, but the search experience is still horrible. Can you at least take out the forum from your robots.txt, so we can search via google?


That can’t happen soon enough if it’ll finally and permanently fix the seriously crippling Sorry but you cannot use search at this time delays. This forum’s search experience has sadly remained the worst of any I use for much too long. :frowning:

Unfortunately there is no final fix. Some users managed to jam the whole MySQL server for all users on it (not just DEVONtechnologies) by flooding the system with searches. And while this is a known issue the phpBB people do not seem to be able to solve it.

As a test I have lowered the delay to 10 seconds. I don’t want to remove it altogether as I fear this could bring the server down again. Let’s try it with this number.

Yup, you’ve described the problem before. I was only hoping running your own forum database could provide a long-term solution. Thanks for dropping the delay value. What’s been most frustrating is getting the “sorry” delay screen when using Back after a search because it clears the search screen.

Even if we’d run our own MySQL server (at the moment we’re using a share) the problem would occur. phpBB3 seems to have a bug that strikes out of the blue. Then it locks a query and so, slowly and over time, jams the query queue of server to the point that the server cuts the connection. It’s a known bug but it seems to strike less often when you reduce the number of queries. We’re using a different approach now (there are two search mechanisms built into phpBB3) and it has not hit us since. Let’s watch this for a while, then maybe lower the re-search time again or remove it altogether.

Would it be possible to limit search only for guest-users? I suppose the search load of loged in users wouldn’t trouble the server too much.


I still don’t understand how other, much busier, phpBB3 forums are handling this problem well enough for me never to notice its impact. Yet here, I nearly always notice its impact. That’s why I wondered if running your own server would allow you more control over the problem, apparently like on other sites, so it doesn’t need to be an end-user issue.

Did these changes also affect the contents of the RSS feeds? The feeds used to contain the contents of the forum posts, now that content is missing.

No, we made no changes whatsoever to the RSS feeds. They are independent.

OK, let’s go for a test. I have set the “user search flood interval” to zero, for guests it’s 60 seconds.

The difference between other forums and ours may be that their ISP is less picky. The problem seems to be connected to certain mySQL and PHP set-ups but the phpBB3 team is completely unresponsive here, I am afraid. We — and quite a few others — are alone with this problem out in the wild.

(edited to remove all the typos — brrr)