WSO troubles remain a mystery

The Williams Students Online (WSO) Web site has been experiencing difficulties characterized by a slow connection or the message, “The proxy server could not handle the request.”

The Web site serves as a forum for discussions and announcements for the Williams community but recently has been difficult to access.
Steve Rubin ’11, the treasurer of WSO and also one of the two “roots” (meaning he has full access to control the computers), said the problem could potentially be attributed to Mongrel, the program that serves the WSO pages.

“For some reason it is using a lot more of the processor than it should be,” he said. “There’s a problem somewhere that causes it to use too many resources. When it uses too many resources, the site crashes.”

While Rubin notes that “right now [WSO] is not perfect by any means,” the staff does have a temporary solution. “We’re serving the site from a different computer, and we’ve been seeing better performance,” he said. But the main issue is that they “still have to find the real problem.”

Rubin posted an apology note on WSO last week, letting students know that the staff was “still trying to figure out exactly what is going wrong.”

To solve the issues, the WSO staff is working closely with Ben Wood ’08, a former staff member for WSO. While they still do not know exactly how the problem is going to be fixed, they had already been planning on moving from Mongrel to a different system.
“Mongrel is a little outdated,” Rubin said. “We will probably be switching to Phusion Passenger.”

There is no specific date set for the switch, but it will probably be sooner than previously thought now that the WSO staff is experiencing so many issues.

“We’re aware of how much the campus is hurting because WSO is down,” Rubin said. “It’s a bummer, and we’re working on it.”