Friday, March 4, 2011

AdSense and the "Request-URI Too Large" error message: sometimes a work-around is good enough.

This article is about an error message that I sometimes see when logging into AdSense - and a way of thinking about browser problems that you might have with Blogger.

What happens:

Every so often, when I'm logging in to AdSense, I get a screen like this

The error message is,
"Request-URI Too Large
The requested URL /accounts/SetSID... is too large to process."

And the window title is "414 Request-URI Too Large "

It doesn't happen every time, or even most times, and I cannot spot any trends (eg only when I first open the browser, only when I have seven tabs open, etc) - except perhaps that I've only seen it in Firefox.  But Firefox is the browser I mainly use, so it may be coincidence.

My problem, or Google's?

I've searched for the error message:  most of the results were for descriptions of cases when it happened every time someone tried to log in to a system.  It appears there was even a case, a while ago, when this happened for Gmail in some situations.   But this isn't my scenario, though, because it doesn't happen all the time.

There are suggestions that it may be related to browser cookies settings.   I'm sure that is true, sometimes.  But it's not 100% true for me:  I can get the message once, try again immediately and not get it the next time - and there's no way I changed my cookie settings in between.

What to do about it:

I've found a very simple solution:   open another tab, and go to AdSense again.    Every time (so far ;-) ) AdSense has loaded correctly on the 2nd try.

If this didn't work, the next things I'd try would be (in roughly this order):
  • Clearing the cache and re-starting my browser
  • Trying to get into AdSense from a different browser
  • Restarting my computer
  • Checking that I was using the most-recent releases version of the browser (NB  this is the supported, released version - not a Beta version that's being tested).

Why I'm posting this:

If you use Blogger or other Google products - or indeed any other internet-based publishing products - a lot, it's likely that you will run into situations like this.

Most probably, the underlying problem will be a bug in the software, or some subtle combination of security settings in your computer and/or browser software.

Tracking down what's happening can be difficult and time-consuming, and involve learning a lot about topics that you don't otherwise need to know.   And knowing what's causing the problem doesn't always help:   If  only a few people are having the same problem, so Google probably won't be keen to fix it, even if something in their software caused the issue.

The key message of this post is that when you have a problem with Blogger (etc) doing strange things, you should firstly look for a good-enough way to work around the problem.

If you can't find a work-around  (ie if nothing works, or if the time or effort required are too big for you to put up with), then you should look for a solution.   The first step is always to see if other people are having the same problem - to do this you could either do a google-search for the error message, or post a question somewhere like the Blogger Help Forum.

And IMHO, you should only start in-depth investigation PC and browser security sessions if all else fails - or if the time/effort required to get around the original issue is greater than the time and effort needed to search for a solution.

Related Articles: 

Chitika - another type of advertising for your blog

Setting up AdSense on your blog

Giving your blog subscribers a free e-book

Getting image-only AdSense ads for your blog

Putting a gadget above your blog's header

Adding the "find us on Facebook" plug-in to your blog

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