When you go to a website on the internet, you use a web browser to get there. The stateless protocol HTTP (“Hypertext Transfer Protocol”), which outlines the first exchange of messages between the web server and browser, is the foundation for this transfer, which is handled by default through TCP. According to the traditional client-server model, the browser submits an HTTP request, and the server responds with a status code.
While much of this communication goes unnoticed by the user, when it comes to HTTP error codes, the situation is usually different: if a problem happens during the exchange, the browser will often display a code in the 4xx or 5xx series, which stands for various client or server-side error sources. The HTTP 408 message, for example, indicates that the client request has expired. This article will explain how the timeout happens and how to resolve the issue.
The HTTP error code 408 is one of the messages that indicates a client-side problem, as are all members of the 4xx error family. However, digging deeper into the backdrop of this error message reveals that it isn’t always a browser issue: The “Request Timeout” information is associated to Error 408. This simply means that the request sent from the client to the web server took longer than the web server allowed. As a result, instead of receiving the real response, the browser receives the HTTP 408 message. Of course, this could be due to a problem with your internet connection, but it’s also possible that the timeout is due to a server overload or faulty settings.
Despite the fact that there are more than 50 different HTTP status codes, more than half of which are error messages, these messages are typically merely a rough indication for the next problem solution. This also applies to error code 408, which simply states that after establishing a TCP/IP connection, too much time has passed in a prescribed time span without data being transferred across the connection. However, there are a number of potential causes for this delay and the resulting error messages, including:
1 – Problems with bandwidth and disconnections: HTTP 408 errors are frequently caused by issues with your internet connection. The bandwidth, for example, could be so low that the HTTP request fails owing to the time interval. It’s also possible that the server’s internet connection was temporarily disrupted after the TCP/IP connection was formed, causing the request data to be incompletely transmitted.
2- Attempting to access inaccessible or erroneous URLs: Not all website URLs are accessible to visitors without encryption. A 408 timeout can happen if you try to access a page that you don’t have authorization for, or if you try to view an HTTPS page that doesn’t have SSL/TLS enabled. Furthermore, many URLs have restrictions on the HTTP request methods that can be used (GET, POST, HEAD, PUT, and so on), therefore the timeout could be caused by an erroneously applied method. However, normal error messages are displayed in both circumstances (“403: Forbidden” for unauthorized access attempts and “405: Method Not Allowed” for unavailable HTTP methods).
3- Incorrect web server settings: The website runner defines how long an HTTP request should be denied in the corresponding configuration file, regardless of the web server software utilized. The header and body of HTTP communications each have their own values. The 408 error on user pages could be caused by the server choosing a too short time interval for processing one or both package components.
4- Plugins, extensions, modules, and other add-ons: The usage of incorrect or outdated extensions is a problem that can affect both the client and the server. As a result, both the website visitor’s browser plugins and the operator’s CMS modules could be to blame for the HTTP timeout and subsequent HTTP 408 error.
When you encounter a “408: Request Timeout” warning while browsing a website, you are naturally looking for a simple fix. However, you may not always be able to resolve the issue on your own. If the mistake is solely on the client side, you should be able to fix the 408 error using one of the following methods.
The URL you supplied should be your initial stop before moving on to more in-depth troubleshooting. It’s possible that the URL you selected is no longer available. This occurs when you attempt to reach the targeted website using old bookmarks. If the website in issue has changed permissions or allowed request methods in the meantime, or has migrated to HTTPS, the saved URL is quite likely to no longer redirect to the website, but to HTTP-408 or similar error messages instead. To avoid this error source, make sure the URL you entered is correct and current.
Problems with an internet connection can be extremely stressful. Sometimes the connection stops working entirely, preventing access to the internet. While total failures will unavoidably occur, transient fluctuations and connection interruptions will almost always go unnoticed. As a result, the source of delayed loading times and loading error messages – such as the 408 error – should be easy to identify on the viewed page. As a result, it’s a good idea to test your own network connection by going to other websites or doing a DSL speed test, for example.
If you are experiencing technical difficulties with your internet connection, you should reset your router. If the problem with the connection persists, you should contact your internet service provider.
Web browser features can be enhanced with simply a few clicks using plugins, addons, or extensions. However, practical extensions do not always work as intended – in the worst-case scenario, they exacerbate the browsing experience and result in error messages such as HTTP-408, often due to the fact that the extensions are outdated and/or no longer compatible with the current browser version, as they are no longer actively developed. Deactivate all included extensions momentarily to see if the timeout error is caused by one or more of them. After the issue has been repaired, you can turn on the plugins one by one to see which one caused the HTTP error message.
The “408: Request Timeout” error is not always fixable with the aforementioned options – for example, if it is caused by persistent network connection issues. It is recommended that you wait and try again later in this instance. If the HTTP exchange still fails, the fault is almost certainly due to a problem with the web server. If the relevant website has provided contact information, you can find out if they are aware of the situation and when the page will be back to normal.
While the HTTP timeout problem is primarily bothersome for visitors since the target page cannot be opened, it can have a considerably larger impact on website managers. If a large number of users see the error notice over time, it has a detrimental impact not only on traffic but also on the website’s reputation. Furthermore, if HTTP 408 problems occur more frequently or if a remedy takes too long, search engines may penalize you. If you are in charge of a website, you should respond quickly as you find the problem.
The most common server-side HTTP error code reasons (such as “408: Request Timeout”) are incorrect settings. Check the relevant file first, whether it’s on Apache (httpd.conf; apache2.conf), NGINX (nginx.conf), or another web server. The directives “KeepAliveTimeout” and “RequestReadTimeout” in the Apache web server settings, for example, demand special attention. Both give an incoming HTTP request time interval, which may be too short (15 or even 30 seconds is recommended). The directives “keepalive timeout,” “client body timeout,” and “client header timeout” are used if your website is hosted on an NGINX server. To ultimately resolve the HTTP 408 problem, remember to save the modifications to the appropriate configuration file before starting the web server.
As previously stated, HTTP error 408 only occurs on one page or individual pages on a website because those pages’ action rights and permitted HTTP methods are configured incorrectly. If you have a timeout issue, you should investigate which URL(s) are creating the HTTP error. Simply check at your web server’s error log file, where all HTTP problems are automatically archived, to save having to browse each page manually. Once the issue sites have been discovered, you may look for particular causes of the timeout and, if necessary, make adjustments to the access rights and methods.
If you use a web hosting service to host your website, you can usually access the web server error logs as well. To do so, go to the customer account’s server statistics area, which should include downloadable server logs. If you can’t discover it on your own, the FAQ section or the provider’s service staff should be able to assist you.
As a foundation for websites, content management systems are in high demand. The high degree of flexibility provided by modules, templates, and plugins, which give extra functionalities, layouts, and designs, is a major benefit of these systems. The 408 request timeout can be caused by these extensions, just as it can be caused by their client-side counterparts. There are always representatives who claim a great added value for their own product among the multitude of additional modules and plugins, but in the end, they don’t work as they should or stop being developed at a given point. This is especially true for third-party extensions, which may experience issues with each new CMS version. Disabling plugins is an easy approach (and modules if necessary).
Even if all modules and plugins are working properly, extensions might create errors like as the HTTP-408 error: using too many extensions in your CMS will slow down your website’s performance. To avoid these circumstances, make sure you turn off any superfluous or no longer required additional functionalities and design components in advance.
The web server requires more resources to process the more HTTP requests it receives. Error warnings like “408: Request Timeout” are typical when the available CPU capacity is insufficient to handle the incoming traffic. If your budget allows, you should think about upgrading your CPU and RAM.
We trust that this article will prove useful. Until next time, happy performing!