Spencer P
Thoughts and Ideas Blog

Cloudflare, a CDN service, has been supporting multiple web projects in improving performance and security since 2010. But with it, Cloudflare has brought the Error 522 – connection timed our error. So how do you fix this?

In contrast to traditional content delivery networks, Cloudflare serves as both a static content buffer and a reverse proxy server that is in constant communication with the webserver. The cached content is not explicitly determined by the website operator, and no source code adaptation is required because all you have to do is tell the DNS servers to use the service.

The message ‘Error 522: Connection timed out’ indicates a well-known error that occurs frequently with the powerful content delivery network. Despite the fact that this bug is also known as a ‘Cloudflare error,’ the issue is not due to the web performance service.

What does ‘Error 522’ mean?

The 522 message, like so many other error pages on the internet, is an HTTP status message. The ‘5’ indicates a server error, while the ‘2’ after it implies that the server error has occurred because of Cloudflare. ‘Connection timed out’ is a code that appears when the TCP handshake between the web server and Cloudflare screws up.

Why does the Cloudflare error show up?

Contrary to popular belief, the 522 error is caused by a server-side problem rather than a Cloudflare malfunction. However, as with many other HTTP errors, identifying the source of the error is difficult. When establishing a TCP connection between the CDN service and the contacted web server, there are a number of scenarios that can result in a timeout. The following are the most common causes of the connection timed-out message:

  1. Offline websrver: The HTTP error 522 is frequently displayed because the contacted web server is unavailable. An exchange is obviously impossible because communication between the web server and Cloudflare takes place over the internet.
  2. Burdening the original server: Cloudflare does a huge amount of work for the project’s original web server. The CDN service must still contact the original server for such requests from browser users (especially dynamic content). If there are too many requests to be handled at the same time, as with a regular server without a CDN, this can cause an overload and a timeout when building TCP.
  3. The request is being blocked by a firewall: if the original server has its own firewall, this can also result in a Cloudflare error. Of course, the performance service’s IP addresses should be allowed by default, but addresses are sometimes accidentally or arbitrarily blocked. As a result, no connections can be made. Packets may be removed from the original host network as a result of incorrect settings.
  4. Invalid DNS settings: DNS servers function with the original server’s IP address. Any changes to this address must be communicated to the CDN and server so that they can continue to communicate. Because many web hosts assign new web addresses to managed websites on a regular basis and don’t forward them to Cloudflare, the DNS setup can occasionally use an incorrect address.
  5. Wrong routing: To guarantee that a website’s performance is properly optimized, Cloudflare must work further than network boundaries. IP routing, which governs the path taken by packets as they travel through the various networks involved, is a vital part of the content delivery process. A connection timed out message is frequently shown when there are discrepancies between the original server and Cloudflare.

How to fix the error 522

If you’re in charge of a web project that’s experiencing an error 522, you should start looking into the problem right away. However, before determining whether one of the causes listed in the preceding section is the source of the problem, make sure the original web server is up and running and accepting HTTP requests. Even if all settings are correct, connectivity between Cloudflare and the server is logically impossible if this is not the case. If this ‘quick’ check reveals that the CDN service is able to access the server resources as expected, a more thorough investigation is required to pinpoint the source of the problem.

The most favorable solutions for fixing the 522 errors are listed in the sections below.

1. Increase server capacity

Overloading the webserver is one of the most common causes of error 522. The volume of traffic at any given time is difficult to predict. Intermittent load peaks indicate that the server is unable to process HTTP requests. Therefore, you should use analysis software to monitor the traffic growth of your web project. Examine the data on a regular basis to identify bottlenecks and upgrade the hosting environment’s hardware setup. Flexible cloud hosting solutions, for example, allows you to scale resources with pinpoint accuracy. This allows you to react optimally to fluctuations caused by the time of day, weekday, or season.

2. Look into IP filtering

Check the appropriate firewall settings and other filtering software, such as iptables, to see if Cloudflare’s IP addresses are blocked by your webserver. The.htaccess file can also filter Internet addresses, and that is why you should check it for blocked IPs. On the official website, you can find a list of the CDN service provider’s addresses. To fix error 522, you must unlock one of these addresses in the named programs (or tools with similar functions). Because many applications automatically block IP addresses, you should be safe and whitelist Cloudflare addresses.

3. Modify DNS/IP settings

If your web host requires a regular change of web server address, it is your responsibility to notify Cloudflare of the new IP addresses. By default, providers only report these changes to their own DNS servers. It’s worth checking your domain’s IP settings if you get an error 522. Log into the appropriate administration panel for your web project. Take note of the web server’s current IPv4 and IPv6 addresses. Then go to Cloudflare’s configuration menu and find the domain that’s causing the problem. Select ‘DNS’ from the menu bar, and then type the recorded web addresses into the appropriate DNS records (Record Type AAAA: IPv6, Record Type A: IPv4).

4. Enable the ‘keepalive’ message setting

If the Cloudflare error is caused by incorrect HTTP header settings, it should be relatively simple to resolve. If ‘keepalive’ is disabled or there are too few possible requests defined, you can change this in the web server’s configuration file (e.g. in httpd.conf for Apache servers). However, you must have the necessary permissions, which isn’t always the case with shared hosting packages. In situations like these, your only option is to approach the provider. If the problem persists with the selected package’s ‘keepalive’ setting, you should consider switching hosting models or providers.

5. Contact Cloudflare Support

Contact Cloudflare support if the 522 error is caused by a traffic routing issue. Make a ticket outlining the issue and indicating which areas have already been checked for errors. To learn more about the current packet switching between your web server and the Cloudflare IPs, the CDN provider suggests using tools like MTR or traceroute. To help speed up the problem-solving process, you can insert the results to your ticket (in text or image format).

What can a browser user do if a connection has timed out?

HTTP error 522 is only a server-side problem, according to the list of possible causes. So, if you’re just browsing the internet and get a 522 message when you visit a site, it’s not because of a bad internet connection or a bad plugin. This, however, implies that you will be unable to solve the problem directly. It’s better to wait and check the site later if you want to keep frustration to a minimum (or avoid it entirely). Hopefully, by then, the communication issue between Cloudflare and the webserver should be resolved, and the site should work perfectly.

You can also alert the website’s responsible webmaster – especially if the website doesn’t really work after multiple attempts and the Cloudflare error persists. You might get useful background information or be notified when the website is available again. It’s also possible that the provider isn’t aware of the issue, so getting in touch with them is a good idea.

Error 522 FAQs

What does Cloudflare Error 522 mean?

The Error 522 means that the connection between CloudFlare’s systems and the origin web server has been disrupted, and the origin server has not responded for more than 60 seconds.

How does image optimization help fix Cloudflare error 522?

Cloudflare is able to serve images directly without needing to hit a web server every time an image is requested. So even if the web server is not available, images can still be served and the 522 error is avoided. Seving images from Cloudflare’s edge server reduces the load on the website server and ultimately speeds up website access.

What can I do if the above mentioned solutions don’t help?

If none of these troubleshooting strategies work, contact the Cloud Flare support system for additional help or your web hosting account provider.