On Friday, October 14th, a thread
discussing the recent increase in 500 errors appeared. Various causes and concerns were discussed, as were possible ways of alleviating the problem.
In an incredible case of poor timing, this same day saw one of our hacks, Waluigi, featured on various gaming news sites, and the increase in traffic made the errors worse than ever.
Also at this time, a user named SmashHackers, who between all of his alts has been banned from this board several times, launched an ill-conceived DDoS attack on us with a few of his friends. To make it perfectly clear: in the end, this attack had virtually no impact on us whatsoever.
But we didn't know that at the time. All we knew was that we were getting DDoSed, not the scale, so we took appropriate precautions, increasing security and keeping a close eye on the forum error logs.
Due to these precautions, we spotted an inordinate number (more than 200) of users, many of whom had no cause to DDoS us, sending dozens of strange requests to BrawlVault. At this point, we suspected the worst: a botnet. We're not going to say who we suspected as the source, because as it turns out, that wasn't the case.
At this point, I'd like to reiterate something picano has said multiple times since he created BrawlVault himself: its programming is not good.
As it turns out, BrawlVault was behind much of our recent trouble. The cause of the 500 errors is the incredible number of server queries made by the forum, BrawlVault in particular. Also, the more than 200 people who were making suspicious BrawlVault calls were victims not of a botnet but of mistakes in the BV RSS.
High traffic volume is directly related to the 500 errors, as we've always said, but not for reasons of bandwidth limitation; rather, since most people are here just for BrawlVault (check the number of online guests vs. registered users and you'll see the truth of that), the queries become too much for the server to handle and a 500 error occurs.
The two ways to solve this problem are to optimize the forum (especially the Vault) and to upgrade the server.
To that end, a single ad has been placed in every Forum Games topic, at the bottom of the page, and soon there will be one on BrawlVault as well. The proceeds from these ads will fund the aforementioned solutions.
Why those two places? The rationale for BrawlVault should be obvious. For Forum Games, we figured that since its users aren't contributing to the forum's purpose -- hacking Brawl -- and since the board gets so much traffic, they should contribute in other ways.