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/undefined requests

anyone else getting a lot of these?

     
4:39 am on Jun 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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All of a sudden I'm getting a large number of requests for a page called /undefined which of course does not exist. The requests come from different IPs, but the user agent is always an IE9 and the referrer is always a page of mine. Does anyone know what this is about?
6:06 am on June 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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my first guess would be that some javascript is making an http request and, due to a bug, instead of requesting an absolute url it is requesting "undefined" which looks like a relative (to the root directory) url.
(especially if any javascript is not served by a server under your control)

do you have any javascript on the "referrer page(s)"?

do all IE9 visits to the referrer page(s) trigger the /undefined request?
6:05 am on June 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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It looks like I'm seeing it on certain versions of Chrome as well as IE8 and IE9. I use the Facebook Like iframe and Piwik javascript (Piwki is served from the same system). Do you think Piwik is responsible for this?
7:01 am on June 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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it's not likely to be the iframe since it wouldn't show your url as a referrer.
12:36 am on June 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I am. I have an Ajax-based search box, which I thought may have been the culprit, but I hadn't edited the code in months.
6:46 am on June 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Are you using Google's jsapi? On a site where I load jQuery though Google's jsapi I have been seeing requests to /undefined with no referer for about two weeks now, without having changed any of the code.
7:37 am on June 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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welcome to WebmasterWorld, tomashastings!

are you seeing the same user agents for these requests as Tonearm?


brokaddr, any other javascript such as analytics?
8:40 am on June 21, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Quite a few different user-agents actually! Here's a list of unique ones that requested /undefined or /some/path/on/my/site/undefined : [hastings.nl...]

I use analytics, jsapi (jquery) and nivoslider on my site (which is [helisports.nl...] by the way), but the requests to /undefined started to appear only recently.
2:51 am on July 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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tomashastings, did you ever figure out what's causing these for you?

On my end, I can't seem to isolate the happenings.
ISPs from random hits: Comcast, prominent Indonesia ISP and a Portugese ISP. (These don't appear to be from servers, but users.)

I'm wondering if these are potentially zombified computers running a poorly-coded bot of sorts?
4:32 am on July 15, 2012 (gmt 0)

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fwiw, I've got Piwik and haven't seen this one. I don't think it's significant that they give one of your own pages as referer. It's a standard robot technique* to lull your server's suspicions: "They're already on the site so they must already have been vetted".


* Or hotlinker. It seems to be how pinterest breezes past the ordinary barriers.
10:52 am on July 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I chose a random user logged with "undefined" hits, to monitor their activity.

Interesting points:
1st visit:
Time Spent on Site: 0hrs 46mins 27 seconds
Number of Clicks: 279
Exit Page: /undefined

2nd visit:
Time Spent on Site: 0hrs 2mins 40 seconds
Number of Clicks: 40
Exit Page: /undefined

Correlation between clicks:
About 75% of the clicks were to related topics, not random as seen in typical bot activity.

To see if this were a javascript/Ajax issue, I disabled javascript for my website's domain on my own browser and browsed as a visitor would. Last page viewed was as expected (html; not "undefined")
4:21 pm on July 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Oh, wait. It's one thing to request a nonexistent page; it's an entirely different thing if your analytics program says they were actually on a nonexistent page.*

But that's a heck of a lot of clicks for the amount of time given. A person might hop around 2 or 3 pages, spending 5-10 seconds on each before leaving the site-- but 279 pages at that rate? Nuh-uh. That's a slow robot. Did they pick up associated files such as images and stylesheets? Look at the exact timing in logs. Some robots do get all files, but their timing is different from a human.


* I was testing a bit of javascript on an elderly browser and it kept complaining that "undefined" is undefined. Really. Have yet to figure out how to make it happy, and had to fall back on error handling.
4:19 am on July 17, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Two random users tonight:

Referrer: facebook.com/?
Landing Page: /
Exit Page: /undefined
Time Spent on Site: 0hrs 28mins 30 seconds
Number of Clicks: 15

Referrer: Google query (looks real, it's got complex querystrings like a typical google referer)
Landing Page: /
Exit Page: /undefined
Time Spent on Site: 0hrs 35mins 23 seconds
Number of Clicks: 60

Images and the whole bit are downloaded.

Browser of one of the users: AppleWebKit/536.11 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/20.0.1132.57 Safari/536.11

I was testing a bit of javascript on an elderly browser and it kept complaining that "undefined" is undefined. Really.

Interesting. Does your code react similar to this?
function ajaxcode(key) {

var url="[snipped]&query="+key;

// Internet Explorer
try { req = new ActiveXObject("Msxml2.XMLHTTP"); }
catch(e) {
try { req = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP"); }
catch(oc) { req = null; }
}

// Mozailla/Safari
if (!req && typeof XMLHttpRequest != "undefined") { req = new XMLHttpRequest(); }

// Call the processChange() function when the page has loaded
if (req != null) {
req.onreadystatechange = processChange;
req.open("GET", url, true);
req.send(null);
}
}
11:17 pm on July 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Heh, nowhere near that complicated. It's a rough-and-ready snippet for testing, so it includes the line

if (suchandsuch != undefined)
{ do stuff }

Modern browsers have no trouble with this. But MSIE 5.2.2 throws an error message that says, quote, "'undefined' is undefined". Dear, dear, MSIE, either you know what "undefined" means or you don't. Can't have it both ways. Sigh.