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Alden Bates' Weblog

Feigning normality since 1973

Nudging the Proxy

Filed in: Website Management.

As I've mentioned before, I've been having trouble with Paradise's proxy server in that it tends to serve up old versions of documents from without consulting the server. I discovered today that you can prevent this by setting a header when the web server sends the page out. By setting the "Cache-Control" header to "proxy-revalidate", you instruct the proxy server to always recheck the server to see if there's a new version.

Setting this for the NZDWFC message board was trivial. Since it's a CGI script, I just had it write "Cache-Control: private, proxy-revalidate" as one of the headers. (The private argument specifies that the proxy server should not return a copy it cached for one user to a second user. This is essential if you do any sort of personalisation.)

However I wanted to set the header on the NZDWFC index page as well. Here's where it gets tricky. To set the "Cache-Control" header for the index document, I'd have to use the Header directive in my .htaccess file. Unfortunately when I attempted this, it broke the site. I suspect this may mean that the server is not compiled with mod_headers, which it would need to be in order for me to use the Header directive...

I've dropped a question in on the HostForWeb forums to find out if mod_headers is compiled in or not. If it turns out it is, I'm probably just doing something wrong. :) If not, I'll have to find another solution.

Posted October 12, 2004 8:09 PM

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