ifMUD sometimes fails to work

Sometimes I cannot connect to ifMUD from some computers, and other works fine. However, even when doing that, it then stops working from the other computer, too. This is even though other people say it works for them.

Do you have frequent problems with other kinds of persistent connections getting interrupted and dropped, like IM chat software, Skype, internet radio, streaming video, or lengthy direct downloads?

No. IRC connections are much more reliable, lengthy direct downloads don’t have a problem, I don’t use Skype or internet radio or streaming video, and the problem occurs even when connecting from another computer in another city, although sometimes I can connect from one computer but not from another, sometimes I can connect from that one but not this one, and sometimes both work or neither works.

I have very rarely attempted to connect to ifMUD myself, but what you describe certainly sounds like an intermittent problem at the server end, in which case a best-fit explanation could be that it has a dynamic IP, like with my server.

When a dynamic IP shifts, which can happen at any interval from every few minutes to every few weeks, typically a server’s DNS information will be incorrect for about five minutes. You’ll notice that if the dynamic IP shifts as rapidly as possible (usually during times of generally high internet congestion) it can turn out that the DNS information is never correct at all. This happened to my server a couple of times; I had to call the ISP and get them to slow my line’s base speed by 10% to cut down on the frequency of IP shifts. Now it only shifts every few hours at most.

When a server’s IP shifts, all current connections to that server will be instantly broken, no matter from which computer they originate, and no new computer will be able to connect for at least a few minutes. I don’t actually know whether ifMUD is on a dynamic IP, however.

As far as I know zzo38 is the only one who’s having these problems. Some people keep a constant connection to the MUD that holds typically for months before the server is rebooted for whatever reason.

The problem is most likely on the client software, especially if it’s the web client which is not the most reliable way to connect.

Ah. General client-side advice then: when you need to maintain a persistent connection to anything, turn off torrenting or any form of p2p swarm downloader, because when your router is handling too many simultaneous connections, occasionally a random connection is going to drop that wasn’t supposed to. Sometimes swarm dowloaders are running when you don’t expect them to: some games’ automatic update systems use p2p protocols, for example.

Also, don’t ever let your line’s upload speed get maxed out, because that will prevent acknowledgement packets from getting through in a timely fashion, and failure to acknowledge receipt of incoming info in a timely fashion can also lead to line drops.

I don’t know how to troubleshoot the web client.

I am not using the web client; I am using netcat. Also, like I said it isn’t only on my computer! Furthermore, I am using a wired connection, on this computer, and on the other computers I am attempting to connect from (which are in other cities). I am not running P2P, torrenting, swarm download, game automatic update, etc at the same time, either.

So having eliminated some common problems, Juhana is probably right: the client you have chosen is the only common element, or otherwise, I’m out of ideas, anyway. If you aren’t using the web client, you might try it (seems to be working for me right now) or a different native app, and compare with netcat.

Or, use any client actually made for mudding. Netcat isn’t really meant for that kind of thing.

When it fails to work, I cannot ping it, traceroute to it, access its webpage, or anything like that; the server becomes entirely unreachable with any client and port number. This is despite working from another computer!

Can you telnet to it by IP address? (173.255.227.103)

No! The DNS resolves (to that address), but when it is not working, I simply cannot connect to 173.255.227.103 at all, regardless of what client or whether or not DNS is used or whatever (proxies sometimes work, but not always).

Are both computers connected to the same ISP? Maybe the problem is with getting assigned disallowed IP #s on your end. Does ifMUD aggressively ban IPs similarly to the way it’s done on this forum? That could explain intermittent failure to connect, if zzo38’s computers are sometimes getting randomly assigned IP addresses from a range that happens to have been banned before due to having been used by some real or suspected troll.

EDIT: They also ban proxies here when used by a suspected troll; I don’t know what the policy is on ifMUD.

No.

The MUD is on Linode, which is unlikely to be anybody’s home ISP.

One can ban IPs from connecting to a MUD regardless of where or how it’s hosted. Of course, I’m just speculating as to possible reasons, but I don’t see how the hosting situation is relevant.

They are not permanently banned, it seems; it occasionally works. No, they are two different ISPs (only one of them is my computer), and I have once connected from a proxy (which also failed when I tried later). However, there is something in common: Both computers (and probably the proxy, too) being connected from run various servers accessible to the internet.

The MUD doesn’t block IPs for trolling (kicking or account-deleting has always served well enough in the past), but I’m told that a small number of IPs have been blocked for aggressive ssh bruteforce attacks. mail.freegeekvancouver.org is one of those.

O, OK, thanks then. I do use SSH at FreeGeek (to connect to other computers in their LAN), but I didn’t connect to ifMUD with SSH (but maybe someone else has done). Nevertheless I have not done from my own computer (zzo38computer.org). Is zzo38computer.org blocked for some reason? But why does it only sometimes fail to connect to (or even reach) the server? (It seems that by now, it almost always fails (it occasionally works for short periods of time), but at first it didn’t do that.) Is running some servers accessible to the internet, causing anything? I am using a router (my computer is wired to the router, but other computers in the same building are connected wirelessly); does this mean anything to you? My ISP technical support was able to connect, ping, traceroute, etc to ifMUD even when I couldn’t. I could connect from Free Geek the first time I tried! The second time it failed.

Maybe your multiple attempts to connect are triggering some oversensitive firewall rules that think they are seeing a ‘bruteforce attack’? After all, repeated connection attempts within a short period of time are a hallmark of such attacks, whether over SSH or otherwise.

FYI I don’t think this could make any difference. I run an internet-facing server and I can connect. I’m sure many who frequent ifMUD do as well.