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Site Reachability: blank page (seems to be European users with the issue)

All my sites are up and running and have had no issues for weeks (well, years). Everything running very fast and no issues.

But I’ve had three readers email to say they cannot reach my site, and just get a blank page. I am about 99% certain that this is a misconfigured ISP on their end—has happened before (update this is now all but a certainty for one user, another user has a flaky IP that drops connections).

UPDATE: so far, all reports are from European users, on in the UK and two in Italy.

My guess is a faulty internet server provider (ISP), which I have seen before. European ISPs often use caching proxy servers. Some are really awful, sending requests laden with garbage that looks just like hacking probes—that is one possible explanation for blank pages as my server blacklists such IPs.

UPDATE 2: it looks like at least some offending IPs are sending my server URLs that contain characters that hackers often use (e.g., to compromise SQL), namely the color (":") character. This is being sent in a bogus URL, for example:


I’ve seen this pattern before: last time I determined that it was either a buggy proxy server (invisible to end users, run by the ISP) and/or someone using a scraper or page caching plugin, one that sends malformed URLs created by buggy parsing of HTML code. So far, I’ve seen it only from European ISPs for some reason—probably they all use the same buggy software when this happens.

Another error is a bogus URL which puts a / before https; maybe some user typing it in:

/ referer ""

I can perhaps deal with some of this on the server end, but in general a crappy ISP generating bad URLs (first case above in all its variants) is just about impossible to distinguish from a bad actor looking to compromise the site.

UPDATE 3: one user reports that using the same browser on a different network (friend’s house next door) that all is well.

I’m having the ISP for my server traceroute back to IP addresses for users with failures, so I can identify the problematic ISP on the European end.

I put in some server side workarounds for stupidly simple errors. Not sure if this will help.

Getting your IP address

Your IPO address is almost never the IP address seen on the computer; it will often be a gateway or router IP address. That’s why the link below is important/useful.

I suppose if you’re reading this, then you’re not having the issue, but if you see this via one access method and a totally blank window through some other ISP, then please go to:

Send me the TEXT version of the IP address (NOT a screen shot). Then my provider can traceroute back to see why traffic might be going into a black hole.

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