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Gmail and "Still working"

Scott Moonen [PersonRank 2]

Friday, July 25, 2008
11 years ago7,037 views

Until today I've never had Gmail performance issues. I regularly use the https: form of the Gmail URL, also without problems. Today I tried the "force https" option and started seeing the "Still working" message for long intervals after the first operation I had performed. E.g., I could do one of: send an email, refresh my inbox, archive some emails. But after that whatever I tried would produce the "Still working" message. I've made no other recent changes to my local or Gmail configuration.

So I turned of the "force https" option hoping that would help (although, I'd like to emphasize again that up until now I have manually used https without problems). But no improvement.

I talked with several friends and they've seen this in the past. Everyone's problems have always seemed to be unique to them individually; i.e., at times when they're experienced a problem, no one else they know has. This led them to believe that Google is mapping their usernames to particular server IP addresses using some sort of affinity mechanism, and you either got mapped to a healthy server or you got mapped to a bad server. And, indeed, at the time I am writing this, none of my friends are reporting problems (including those who have switched on the "force https" option).

I haven't taken much opportunity to investigate, but it does seem odd to me that the first operation will succeed but subsequent operations will time out. This seemed to indicate to me that 1) Firefox is using persistent http connections for its XmlHttpRequests, 2) Most of the Google servers have no problem with persistent HTTP1.1 requests, and 3) Some of the Google servers *do* have problems with persistent HTTP/1.1 requests, ignoring all but the first request. However, I tried setting the Firefox config setting network.http.keep-alive to false, and I still experienced the problem. So it seems to be something more complex on this particular Gmail server that is causing subsequent requests to timeout.

I'd like to do something more than just wait to have my affinity bumped to a different server, but at this point I don't think there's anything I can do client-side.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? Do you have any more insight into the problem? Is there anything more that I can do at this point than wait? Is Google responsive to reports of problems like this?

Scott Moonen [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

I also just now tried the simple fix of logging out of Gmail and logging back in. No improvement, so evidently my Gmail server affinity outlives my login session.

Then I deleted all my google.com and *.google.com cookies and logged back in. Again, no improvement.

Scott Moonen [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

Also, as you might expect, same behavior switching manually to the http: form of the URL.

Bob [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I set mine to https and logged off, then back on. I have no problems. I also don't notice any performance issues at all...it is just as fast with security turned on.

I am using FF 3.01 portable edition on WinXP. I also closed FF, reopened and tried Gmail again. It worked fine and is just as fast as usual.

Scott Moonen [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

Some more data points: I had this problem from two separate locations (working from coffee shop this morning, working from home this afternoon). Also, at the moment, I can't even open the "All Mail" view, period – not even as the first operation I do; it simply hangs. I am, however, able to open some of my labels, although subsequent operations hang.

Haochi [PersonRank 10]

11 years ago #

Try the HTML version (with https) mail.google.com/mail/h/
It hangs there for me as well even though I haven't choose the setting in Gmail.

Scott Moonen [PersonRank 2]

11 years ago #

Well, I was logged out for awhile this afternoon (thank you, Windows Update!). My server affinity must have expired or something like that, because things are better now. Never a problem with any other Google properties throughout the incident (Reader, Calendar, etc.)

mamato [PersonRank 0]

11 years ago #

I think the problem is with the "newer version" of gmail. try go back to "older version". worked for me.

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