Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Friday, August 1, 2008

SiteMeter causing blogs and websites to crash in Microsoft's Internet Explorer

Readers who attempted to access The NPI Advocate during the last few hours in Internet Explorer (the browser of choice or habit for a majority of you, according to our server logs) probably were confronted with an abrupt and cryptic error message that looked like this:
Internet Explorer cannot open the Internet site
Operation aborted
That error message was caused by embedded code from SiteMeter, a tool for monitoring and analyzing website traffic.

We have removed the problematic code, so The Advocate should now load without crashing inside of Internet Explorer.

The Core and the Portal do not have SiteMeter code embedded, so those parts of our network have not been affected by this problem.

We believe this problem began occurring shortly before 6 PM Pacific Time. As of yet, there appears to be no fix.

Regardless of what happens next, we won't be adding the SiteMeter code back in. It's redundant since we get better information from our own server logs. Plus, we've been trying to reduce excess JavaScript and cookies that collect unnecessary information about you for third parties (along with its counter, SiteMeter serves a cookie from Specific Media, an ad targeting firm).

Also see: One Project Closer, Wizbang, BitsBlog

UPDATE, Saturday morning: More information on the cause of the problem from The Reference Frame. It's a bug in Microsoft's Internet Explorer that SiteMeter developers didn't test for when they updated their scripts.

Certainly Microsoft deserves blame for the defects in its browser - and problems like this are a good reason to switch to Firefox, which NPI strongly recommends - but the SiteMeter guys are responsible for pushing out a problematic update to their scripts that caused websites to stop loading for the millions of people who use IE. And they still haven't acknowledged the problem as of this morning update.

Also, welcome Wired visitors!

UPDATE II, Saturday 12:20 PM: SiteMeter finally responded to this a few minutes ago on their blog, although they don't seem to have grasped the extent of the problem. As they say, the error message could be caused by SiteMeter code falling outside of the HTML body tag, but SiteMeter code properly placed by webmasters inside of the body tag was also causing the error.


Blogger Felipe said...

Ouch! That's why I developed my own web analyitcs app: and Google Analytics is NOT real-time (I have no idea how they can get away with that), so if you use Google Analytics and your site is mentioned on a high traffic blog, you won't know until a day or so later...

August 2, 2008 11:39 AM  
Blogger Lumo said...

Seven additional solutions to get rid of the Operation Aborted crashes without removing the Sitemeter script.

August 2, 2008 12:13 PM  
Blogger MUSIDA said...

Finally I know what causes error on my site few days ago. After install sitemeter my web theme was broken and our visitor only saw a bad side of my site...

October 31, 2008 10:32 AM  

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