dctrud's Random Road

Occasional unimportant nonsense.

2022-10-31 - No Internet for Old Computers

Well, it lasted about a week hosting this web site and gemini capsule on the Sun Blade 100. Although only a handful of people visit here, the 500MHz UltraSparc IIe CPU was no match for bots, and floods of automated requests from Mastodon servers.

Both gemini and any sane website really need to be using TLS 1.2 or above, with good ciphers and large enough key size. Modern low power / low spec embedded systems of comparable general compute ability to the 21 year old UltraSparc tend to have acceleration of the encryption mathematics. This means you can host an https site on something really low spec, but it can remain fairly responsive. There's no such luck on the Sun Blade. It just has to slowly churn through the encryption/decryption code, and takes about 1-2 seconds to handle a request.

I didn't anticipate this being an issue, but I'd forgotten (again) about the prevalance of badly coded bots in the gemini space, plus the DDOS style web link fetching of Mastodon.

The gemini server was getting periodically strained by what I can only assume are some first time experiments in writing crawlers. More than a few examples seen of IP addresses repeatedly slurping as much as they can, with no rate limiting, and often needless duplication. On the web server side, linking from Mastodon, in a post or from my profile, leads to a sudden onslaught of requests as each server that federates with mine fetches the same link.

A few humans browsing at a time is fine for the Sun. 65+ Mastodon servers trying TLS connections all at once is not. I could do rate limiting and blocking, but blerghh... that quickly turns this from a bit of fun into somethin that's a lot like work.

The web site and gemini capsule are back to a small, but modern, VPS instance... and are plenty speedy now.

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