Haunted by Phantom Files

I have deleted files from the file manager, but they still load when visiting my site. I’ve cleared all possible browser caches. I’ve even gone so far as to delete an entire directory on my website via (monsta). But the files still load in any browser on multiple machines.

The worst part is that I cannot replace one of the files that was corrupt, because even after deleting it, the server still sees it and incorrectly brings me to the 404 error page. I know that the server sees it because when I change just 1 letter in the file name, everything works correctly.

Also, there is nothing wrong with the file name. It is a HTML file all lowercase letters and worked perfectly until it got corrupted when trying to delete it.

Could you kindly share the problematic URLs? Therefore others might determine the problem better.

It’ll also be good if you attach some screenshots of your htdocs folder(s).

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Everything is working now.

And I can overwrite the problem child. Anyway, I didn’t touch a thing. Apparently, there is caching of deleted files on the server-side, or some severe delay in syncing across server nodes. In any case, this is a bug that should be fixed. When a user deletes a file, the common expectation is for it to be deleted in real time. Having to wait several hours for it to finish updating on the server isn’t fit for purpose while developing. As I mentioned earlier, I needed to replace an existing file, with one I deleted earlier, but the server gives precedence to the old, deleted files first. So, the user is to assume they are doing something wrong, only to realize hours later, that they’ve wasted a ton of time spinning their wheels.

Nope, there is no caching on IF servers. There could be other, intermediate servers that do have caching (Like your router, your ISPs devices, the device you are requesting the site from, the browser you are requesting from, a service like Cloudflare if you use it, etc).

4 Likes

I don’t use any of that stuff. No complicated set up here.
No router, desktops hardwired, no Cloudfare, no web tools, just code. Browsers set to dump everything and save nothing for privacy concerns. I know how to empty my cache and so does everyone else. There is a bug in your implementation, possibly only occurs when a server node goes down, otherwise operates under normal conditions. I’m assuming that you are backing up user data on at least 3 nodes as that is pretty standard. If all 3 nodes don’t share the same version of a file, due to perhaps some latent bug then issues like this would arise. I’ve seen other posts in this forum of people complaining about the same thing, and the problem mysteriously goes away over time. I’ve used other hosts in the past and never had a several hour delay with files updating. And I’ve used the same hardware/software configuration. I’m not new to web development.

How do you use the internet then? How do you have an IP address? You certainty do have a router. You also have an ISP, it’s also not possible to use the internet without one.

Are you sure about that? What browser do you use?

3 Likes

The free hosting servers are indeed on clustered storage. However, any changes made over FTP should be applied to your website files immediately. I do vaguely remember about some outage that happened before that resulted in an inconsistent view between FTP and the website files, but that was part of a larger outage many years ago. And as far as I know, your hosting volume is working fine.

The other 99.99% of the time someone says “I changed my code and it’s not being changed on my website”, it’s browser cache or some other cache outside of our control. So please understand the reason why we’re assuming it’s the same this time.

Are you able to reliably reproduce this? If you create a file now and delete it, are you still able to load it from your website?

If this is a bug, then I completely agree that it should be fixed. However, if I ask the server admins about this, they will just ask me for reproduction steps too, and I cannot verify the issue either.

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