Help me with Google

This post is more than 2 years old.

Over the past few days I've noticed something very odd. My pages, at times, will load the header, the right nav, but not the body. Sometimes for up to 30 seconds. In Firefox I see a status message saying that it is trying to hit the google ad server.

I emailed the AdSense tech support yesterday and got a pretty quick response. Their tech has said they can't see the issue - but obviously if they are in network I don't think they would.

I know other people are seeing this as well. Would you mind blogging if you do, along with your browser and connection speed. This is mostly to just help me prove to Google that it is a real issue.

I'd like to blame the new design, but I know I didn't see this for the past month or so.

p.s. Yes, I know I could just remove the ads and if I have to - I guess I will - but that would mean a serious loss of money for the site.

Raymond Camden's Picture

About Raymond Camden

Raymond is a senior developer evangelist for Adobe. He focuses on document services, JavaScript, and enterprise cat demos. If you like this article, please consider visiting my Amazon Wishlist or donating via PayPal to show your support. You can even buy me a coffee!

Lafayette, LA

Archived Comments

Comment 1 by Robert Owen posted on 9/22/2006 at 7:36 PM

I have plain ole 1.5meg ADSL.
Also, using fireFox's "FasterFox" Extension I get an average page load from this site at about 25-30 secs. And it shows the file waiting to load as Once that comes in the site completes.

In IE it just partially loads, then say "done" about 30 secs later it finishes.

Comment 2 by William posted on 9/22/2006 at 7:42 PM

I had the same issue when I recently added Amazon's add service to my site. The page would pause during loading to get their ads. It was even happening when I loaded the page from localhost.

I'm going to play with the idea of loading the ads deadlast on the page then using javascript to take the ad code and write it where I want in the page using div.innerHtml. Hopefully, that will allow all my content to load and then the user won't notice the ads are waiting to load at the bottom.

Comment 3 by Jim posted on 9/22/2006 at 7:51 PM

It's a bit slow here - ads pop in fine. Seems to be waiting on gravatar... and at times either one or more of the gravatars don't load.

Comment 4 by Robert Owen posted on 9/22/2006 at 7:57 PM

Something just changed... works well now?

Comment 5 by Daniel Mackey posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:15 PM

Hi Ray,

Checking here from Ireland on a 3 meg line and Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox. I get the same results as you. About 20 secs to load the right and body section. Header comes in instantly. I havent seen this on other sites using Google though (Such as Digg - Same type of ads)


Comment 6 by Chris posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:15 PM

Loading slow for me, has for a few days now.
I'm on a 3 Mb fiber connection.

Comment 7 by Daniel Mackey posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:16 PM

Strange, after the last comment posted and the page refreshed, the whole thing came in instantly. Something seems fixed :-)

Comment 8 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:18 PM

Robert, to be clear, it is NOT 100% of the time, even for me. I'd say it happens 70% of the time.

Btw - in case it wasn't clear - I am definitely sorry this is happening readers!

Comment 9 by Tom Cornilliac posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:35 PM

I'm on a fiber line here at my office and it's taking over a minute for this page to completely load in Firefox OS X. The status bar hangs on "Transferring data from" for a bit, once the Google Ad loads then the post and comments load and it hangs on "Transferring data from"for a bit then it reads "Waiting for" for a few seconds.

Comment 10 by Steven Erat posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:44 PM

I think that when content in a DIV container is being drawn to the screen, if the renderer hits a delay while waiting to resolve a resource such as google ads, then all further rendering will halt until the request for the resource has been returned.

I think TABLE doesn't suffer from this.

Comment 11 by Az posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:44 PM

I'm using Firefox with the Adblock extension that filters out all of the Google ads and I am still seeing delays loading the site and it started a few days ago. I have loaded the site a few times now and have seen it waiting on technorati once, googlesyndication a couple times and once it was google-analytics. I also see it happening about 70% of the time and it seems to happen in groups of slow for several hits and then okay for a few reloads. I'm on a dedicated 10MB circuit for our office location that feeds back into an OC3 private backbone network.

Comment 12 by Chris S. posted on 9/22/2006 at 8:48 PM

I'm running Firefox, on a 10mbps line, 15 hops away from your server, and the only thing that seems to slow down loading today are gravatar and google analytics.

Comment 13 by Terry Schmitt posted on 9/22/2006 at 9:03 PM

Firefox 1.5 / DSL 3M via VPN.
Most of my visits are fast, but I just got this:

"Transferring data from"

I stopped the download after 45 seconds.


P.S. Interesting that my VPN connection through my company was blocking your captcha?? I dropped VPN and the captcha came right up.

Comment 14 by Terry Schmitt posted on 9/22/2006 at 9:09 PM

I think the problem is with the gravatars.
I just viewd the page visit using Tamper Data. All of the gravatar requests took 30seconds +.

Since there are a limited number of threads per page, that is delaying google ads as well.


Comment 15 by David Fekke posted on 9/22/2006 at 9:10 PM


Your site is slower. I tested in IE and Firefox.

I am going to propose this now, and see if anyone likes the idea. Someone should start an ad network for ColdFusion or programming sites. Adsense is dependant on Google to do a javascript response to your page as it loads. If the ads could be syndicated through the same server that is displaying the page, the response would be a lot faster, and Google would not be able to hoard all of the ad money.

Just a thought,

Comment 16 by Ketan posted on 9/22/2006 at 9:29 PM

I am using FF at work with a T1 connection. The site sporadically hangs for a few seconds then loads the content. But the content does appear, I don't get any error messages.

Comment 17 by Che posted on 9/22/2006 at 9:59 PM

I am using FF at work with a T1 connection as well. Until today, I have only occasionally noticed issues with gravatars loading.

Today, I refreshed your this page several times and I am noticing messages consistently from googlesyndication and from technorati every so often.

Comment 18 by Denis The SQL menace posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:10 PM

It's only the middle part that hangs, if you look at the right side (below search) you will see the Google Ads right away

Comment 19 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:19 PM

A few comments:

Gravatar - Yes, gravatar is sucky (one reason why I hope to replace it soon), but I see the myserious pause even on non-gravatar pages, like the other tabs above.

div: I can see how this could happen - however - I switched to an all CSS site a good two months ago. Why would it just come up now? I _could_ completely redesign again if I had to. Or even go to the standard install BlogCFC look. (No one comes here for the looks, right?) But I'd rather not if at all possible.

Comment 20 by Bryan Dolnik posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:26 PM

I'm seeing the same thing as everyone else, waiting on google. I noticed it today when I came to the site and your Jerico post was at top, I thought it was just my connection though since I've been having some problems with Google in general lately. However now I'm thinking maybe it's Google and not my connection. I'm on two load balanced T1's with two different providers, Sprint and Qwest. Using Firefox.

Comment 21 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:26 PM

So get this. I'm testing locally using the About Me page. This page has one google ad on the right. The page content is bare. When I load, it immidiately grabs the Kalatar open source CF ad page. But then I have the exact same pause. So if Google is slowing it down - I can't image why since the ad is rendered immidiately.

Comment 22 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:30 PM

Btw: I heard back from Google tech support. They are saying that since they can't replicate it, they think the issue is on my machine. I wrote back and asked them to _please_ look again at this url as there are obviously quite a few people having the issue.

I'm willing to admit that it may indeed be the layout here - but I just can't imagine why it would have started just this week.

Comment 23 by Scott P posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:37 PM

I'm seeing a couple of things:

technorati is not loading for me...

It just came up will I was typing this. Now your page is fast again.

Comment 24 by Bryan Dolnik posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:44 PM

This is an old post but might have some bearing... http://forums.digitalpoint....

It's the that I seem to be waiting on when loading the page.

Comment 25 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/22/2006 at 10:56 PM

Hey Ray,

Here two possible solutions:

1. You can try is to wrap a DIV around the Google Adsense Javascript code and set the style.display to "none" by default. This prevents the code from being loaded with the rest of the HTML. Then when the page is fully loaded you change style.display to "block" to start showing ads.

2. One other things you can try is to have a DIV on the place you want to show the Google Adsense but leave the DIV empty. Then when the page is fully loaded you use innerHTML to full the DIV with the Google Adsense Javascript code to start showing the ads.

One of these solutions should fix your problem :-).

Kind Regards,

Erwin Verdonk

Comment 26 by Neil Bailey posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:32 PM


It didn't start just this week. I have been having this problem w/ your blog for... I dunno, at LEAST a couple of weeks, maybe as many as three.

The weird thing is that its not consistent. 90% of the time when I visit your blog, its fine.

Comment 27 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:35 PM

Neil, would you say you had this since the new design, and not before?

If so - bye bye all CSS displays. I swear - I know that "All CSS" is "better", but time and time again I find situations where it just breaks down.

Comment 28 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:40 PM

Ray, for what it is worth, it can NOT be your site! It must be either your stats or Google Adsense. Both can be fixed with Javascript as described in my previous post.


Comment 29 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:44 PM

Guys - I did some testing locally with the "hide the ads" test and using onLoad to reshow the ads. This SEEMS to work, but does a bit of 'content jerking' on load. But - thats better than waiting. I'm going to deploy this change when I get back from picking up my son. Again - I'd appreciate some help testing when I'm done.

Note - I definitely appreciate everyone's help, ESPECIALLY since this is just for my ads. I know most folks hate ads - but I'm happy no one has (yet) ripped me a new one for not just removing the ads.

Again - thanks.

I'll post when I have the change up.

Comment 30 by Scott Krebs posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:48 PM

I agree it's not this site. Your web server is responding normally to requests, my browser is waiting on google-analytics and gravatar. (in a datacenter with multiple fiber drops to multiple backbone providers so certainly not a connectivity issue on this end)

Comment 31 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:49 PM

Hi Ray,

Glad it appears to solve the issue. I got another question. Since when are you using gravatar? I notice in my HTTP debugger that gravatar often fails to load and thus slows down the rendering of your page since it has to timeout first.

This might as well cause the problem instead of stats or Google stuff.


Comment 32 by Tom Mollerus posted on 9/22/2006 at 11:58 PM

Ray, I've noticed intermittently since the start of your new design that it sometimes renders very slowly. Sometimes the pause occurs before the left column renders, and sometimes it's the gravatars that take too long to load. My guess is that there's something in your CSS layout that's the source of the issue. It may have to do with slow response times from Google or, but I personally think that the solution lies with your CSS. Have you tried testing two pages with identical content, identical ads, and identical gravatars, but one with tables and the other with CSS?

Comment 33 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:24 AM

Gravatar was added a few versions ago. I've been talking about replacing it. The idea is sound - the server behind it is sucky. I don't mean to rip on them - but they don't seem to have any plans to add to their infrastructure.

Ok - I am uploading my change in 60 seconds. If folks could test again, I'd appreciate it.

Comment 34 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:33 AM

Hi Ray!

The Google Ads appear nicely when you tell them to. However gravatar is acting up real bad and keeps loading the site for a couple of minutes before it gives up and runs the onLoad.

Maybe it is a good idea to let go of gravatar.


Comment 35 by Tom Mollerus posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:34 AM

After a few page reloads, this does seem to make the content render a whole lot faster. I'd call your change a success!

Comment 36 by Dave posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:38 AM

Ray, that's actually been a problem for quite some time. I assumed you were aware and already working on it. Well, glad that you are now! :)

Comment 37 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:42 AM

It's all time really. A friend and I have plans for it - we even have a domain. I just need to code it. As I said - I think Gravatar is a good idea in general - they simply are just not doing a good job. Now I'm sure it is hard to keep up with demand - but shoot - if you can't - you should just quit. (Which may be a bit harsh.)

Comment 38 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:48 AM

For now the fix seems to deal with the issue and your site appears to load pretty normal again.

Comment 39 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:53 AM

Thanks all. Again - I know in terms of the blog as a whole this was kind of an unimportant issue - but I do appreciate it.

So - me thinks I owe some kind of CF related post now, eh? ;)

Comment 40 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:55 AM

Oh, and I've turned off the gravatars.

Comment 41 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:56 AM

Feels like a roller coaster! ;-)

Comment 42 by Scott P posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:58 AM

What was the fix?

Comment 43 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 12:59 AM

You can view source to see it. I used style="display:none" and added id="ad1" (or id="ad2"). Then my onload calls a func to change the display prop to block. I also turned off Gravatars.

Comment 44 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/23/2006 at 1:08 AM

In IE there is a Javascript error when onLoad is being executed. Probably because the variables and ids have the same name. I think you can solve this by either choose different names or use var when declaring variables.


Comment 45 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/23/2006 at 1:11 AM

Thanks. Fixed. My JS is a bit rusty.

Comment 46 by Matthew posted on 9/23/2006 at 3:23 AM

var your variables?? What a novel idea. :)

just had to do it.

Comment 47 by chris passmore posted on 9/23/2006 at 8:25 AM

Saw it yesterday (sept 21) at work. Thought there was just a problem with your server. Tried coming back three times during a 5 min window. Don't know what kind of line they have but I've had dl speeds of 900+ k per second from versiontracker.

Comment 48 by Brendan posted on 9/23/2006 at 9:41 AM

Loading slow for me as well. Cable connection, firefox 1.5

Comment 49 by Jo posted on 9/25/2006 at 12:05 AM

Still see the problem if I reload a page a few times I can get it happen going from a fast page load to 20-30 seconds. DSL (3mbps).

Comment 50 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/25/2006 at 9:19 PM

I've seen it slow a few times myself, but it seems to be a lot more rare now.

I'm convinced this is a combination of CSS+JS.

Anyway, I just got another email from Google and they haven't given up. They are looking into it which makes me believe that we all convinced them this was a real problem.

Thanks again everyone.

Comment 51 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:09 AM

Even though you are already convinced that it has something to do with CSS+JS, I can assure you that is can not be either of them.

The origin of the problem are the external scripts that are being used on your site. Blogbeat is often very slow in its response as well is Urchin from Google analystics. Without these trackers and no external scripts your site will load like a rocket, of that I'm 100% positive.

See what you want to do with this advice. Its just a shame when you get rid of a design/layout that is perfectly fine.

Think about it...

Comment 52 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:11 AM

To be fair, I didn't mean _just_ the layout, I meant the combination of them. I certainly never saw this in the past. Although it IS possible it is a coincendence.

Comment 53 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:17 AM

Why dont you get rid of all your trackers and external scripts (also Google adsense) and use it this week and maybe the next? See how it goes :-).

Comment 54 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:27 AM

I got rid of technorati today. As for adsense - hey - how else am I going to afford school for my kids? ;)

Comment 55 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:42 AM

True, we cant steel from kids! Alright leave the Google Adsense. At least get rid of Blogbeat and Google Analytics, for now.

Most of the time when your site is loading slow I see one of these two loading in the statusbar of FireFox.

Did you also have both of them with the previous site?

Comment 56 by Raymond Camden posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:43 AM

Yep, I did. BlogBeat provides much nicer anayltics then google. "Nicer" as in it is a heck of a lot quicker to see what is going on.

Comment 57 by Erwin Verdonk posted on 9/26/2006 at 12:53 AM

In might be a coincident then that it slows down your site now. Maybe one of them got server issues lately.

Still in your position I would remove all external scripts except Google Adsense to see how it runs. More than trying to guide you in solving this issue I cant do. I dont want to push you in any direction.

Comment 58 by John Mason posted on 9/26/2006 at 10:38 PM

If in CSS you are calling an image for a backgorund, etc. that doesn't exist. This slow load time can occur on Firefox and Safari. I would carefully look through your CSS for anything amiss.