I am using this "simple" apache ProxyPass directive.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ProxyPreserveHost On    
    ProxyPass /
    ProxyPassReverse /
    ServerName my.name.org

This works well. If the internal server listening on port 3000 "goes down" temporarily, and I make a request to "my.name.org", a 503 is returned as expected. However, even if the internal server comes up, subsequent request to "my.name.org" result in a 503 for "some period of time" (whereas, if no initial request that generates a 503 occurs, no subsequent requests work as normal). Is there some value I can adjust to make it so that after bringing the internal server back up, apache will notice it and use it more quickly?

  • Have you checked the network traffic to ensure there is no local caching?
    – MrWhite
    Oct 20, 2016 at 22:43
  • It's a pretty clean/fresh box so I don't think it's using any kind of other internal caching, but who knows, right?
    – rogerdpack
    Oct 21, 2016 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


When a connection to a back-end server generates and error (default is any 5xx code) Apache marks that connection as in an Error State. Apache will then not use that connection for a period of time controlled by the retry parameter to ProxyPass. This defaults to 60 seconds.

This means that unless you change it, once your back-end generates a 5xx return code, Apache will not send any more request to it for 60 seconds, but will immediately return a 503 to the client browser.

You can change this by setting the retry to a lower number. For example, to wait only 5 seconds before re-trying:

ProxyPass / retry=5

Details of this options, and many others, are in the ProxyPass documentation here: https://httpd.apache.org/docs/current/mod/mod_proxy.html#proxypass

  • Thanks that did it! Even searching that exact page for "retry" previously I didn't detect that setting as its as a "BalancerMember" parameter and it is to configure "Connection pool workers" all of which confused the heck out of me. Thanks!
    – rogerdpack
    Oct 21, 2016 at 0:12

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