TCP time_wait and port exhaustion for servers

Owen DeLong owen at
Wed Dec 5 19:31:14 UTC 2012

On Dec 5, 2012, at 10:58 AM, William Herrin <bill at> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 5, 2012 at 12:09 PM, Ray Soucy <rps at> wrote:
>> Like most web traffic, the majority of these connections open and
>> close in under a second.  When we get to a point that there is enough
>> traffic from users behind the proxy to be generating over 500 new
>> outgoing connections per second, sustained, we start having users
>> experience an error where there are no local ports available to Squid
>> to use since they're all tied up in a TIME_WAIT state.
>> Here is an example of netstat totals on a box we're seeing the behavior on:
>> 481947 TIME_WAIT
> Stupid question but how does 500 x 60 = 481947?  To have that many
> connections in TIME_WAIT on a 60 second timer, you'd need more like
> 8000 connections per second, wouldn't you?

Isn't TIME_WAIT based on disconnections, not connections?

Sure, assuming all connections are for equal durations, then the disconnection
rate would be roughly equal to the connection rate, and, of course over the long
term they will eventually trend towards equality, but that doesn't mean that the
peak of connections in TIME_WAIT will not be greater than the incoming connection
rate would suggest.


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