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From Konstantin Preißer <>
Subject RE: Request Timeout and empty post data issue
Date Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:28:20 GMT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter Rifel []
> Sent: Thursday, December 26, 2013 9:45 PM
> To:
> Subject: Request Timeout and empty post data issue
> Hello,
> I'm currently running Tomcat 7.0.42 on Ubuntu 12.04 with OpenJDK 1.7.0_25.
> I'm using Apache Tomcat Native library 1.1.27 with APR version 1.4.6.
> I'm noticing in my access logs that some of our POST requests don't have any
> POST data and all have response times of a few ms over 20000ms.  I'm trying
> to figure out whether this issue is client side or server side.  The response
> code and response size for these requests are normal.  Can anyone tell me
> under what circumstances this would happen?  I noticed that our connector's
> connectionTimeout is set to 20000ms, but it wouldn't make sense for that
> value to be a part of this issue because a connection timeout only occurs
> when the URI hasn't been received by tomcat in that amount of time, which
> is clearly not happening here (I was able to confirm this with telnet; a
> connection timeout will not write anything to the access logs).
> The "request" is making it to my servlet (logging confirms this) but for some
> reason tomcat doesn't see any request parameters and all of the response
> times in our access logs are just above 20 seconds.  Does this mean that my
> servlet is taking 20 seconds to process the request?  Is there some other
> timeout value somewhere that defaults to 20 seconds?  Is there a way for
> me to see exactly what is taking so long?  Its incredibly hard to debug this
> because we cant reproduce this bug on our own without any post data and
> <1% of our production traffic is having this issue.  To try and gather more info
> on this, I added a servlet filter that logs all of our POST request parameters to
> the access log and I can confirm that there are no parameters on these
> specific requests.
> The lack of post data makes me think its a client issue, but that doesn't
> explain why all of these requests take ~20 seconds to be processed.
> I'd appreciate any ideas on what could cause this.

Did you try to set the "connectionTimeout" to some other value to see if the requests still
take ~ 20s?

I just tested with Tomcat 7.0.47 and HTTP APR connector, and for me the "connectionTimeout"
value is also applied when reading the POST data: When the client does not send a byte in
this interval (20s), then this will trigger some timeout error.

E.g., if you send the following POST request without a body (2x CR LF after the last header):

POST /MyWebapp/PostServlet HTTP/1.1
Host: localhost
Connection: keep-alive
Content-Length: 999
Content-Type: application/x-www-form-urlencoded

Then after the connectionTimeout interval, an occurs at
(e.g. when you directly read the Request input stream), so that Tomcat doesn't wait forever
for further data when the client is already gone. Note that the exception did not occur when
I called  request.getParameter("xxx") - it just returned null.

It could be possible that a client sends a request with complete headers, but when sending
the POST body the client waits too long so that Tomcat applies the connectionTimeout before
the full request body is received. The request will then be logged as the request headers
where completely received.

Konstantin Preißer

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