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From Fred Moyer <>
Subject Connection rate limiting with Apache2::ConnectionUtil pnotes
Date Wed, 13 May 2009 01:50:34 GMT

I ran into an issue today where I had a load surge in my application
server, so I looked around for a suitable throttling module and didn't
see anything simple.

So I put together this snippet (very rough) which uses the connection
pnotes data structure to track how many requests are made over a
connection, and return a 503 if the client requests too much.  I
thought about using something that shared the data across processes,
but was in a jam and needed to slow down some egregious user agents
which were making multiple rapid requests in succession.  I had to
turn on KeepAlives for this to work, but it has been working pretty

Thought I would share this (the code was written under some duress so
isn't all that pretty).  MIN_COUNT is the minimum number of requests
to trigger a violation, and MAX_RATE is the maximum allowed request
rate over one connection.

my $c = $r->connection;
if (my $attempts = $c->pnotes($c->remote_ip)) {

	my $count = $attempts->{count};
	my @times = @{$attempts->{times}};
	my $idx;

	if ($#times > 9) {

                # take the last 10 points
		$count = 10;
	} else {

	my $total_time = $times[$#times] - $times[$idx];

	push @{$attempts->{times}}, time();
	$c->pnotes($c->remote_ip => $attempts);

	if ($total_time != 0) {

		my $rate = ($count / $total_time);
		$r->log->debug("throttle check ip $ip, count $count, time
$total_time, rate $rate") if DEBUG;
		if (($count > MIN_COUNT) && ($rate > MAX_RATE)) {

			$r->log->error("rate violation ip $ip, total time $total_time,
count $count, rate $rate");

			# make 'em wait
			sleep 5;
			return Apache2::Const::HTTP_SERVICE_UNAVAILABLE;
} else {

          # start tracking this client
	  my %attempts = ( 'count' => 1, 'times' => [ time() ]);
	  $r->log->debug("setting new limit check for ip $ip, count 1, time "
. time()) if DEBUG;
  	  $c->pnotes($c->remote_ip => \%attempts);

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