weird comcast HTTP 301 redirected issues

Someone asked me help on a strange problem recently. HTTP requests to a comcast hosted website sometimes were throwing HTTP 301 redirected messages pointing back at themselves. I did a normal HTTP/1.1 GET and saw the 301, but when I went to the URL with firefox it worked fine.

Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
GET /~user/image.jpg HTTP/1.1

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently
Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2008 19:25:07 GMT
Server: Apache
Set-Cookie: pwp_mig_status=0; Version=1; Max-Age=900; Path=/
Transfer-Encoding: chunked
Content-Type: text/html; charset=iso-8859-1


Moved Permanently
The document has moved here.

Since I’m an admin and not a web developer I started up wireshark, grabbed it’s http request, then made the same request by hand and got the expected image file instead of the 301 error. I narrowed it down to having to use:

GET /~user/image.jpg HTTP/1.1
Cookie: pwp_mig_status=0

I don’t know what the workaround would be. Probably not using comcast because their rat bastards anyways. I’ll note I had trouble testing by hand, probably some annoying security gear was dropping my requests, but I got the right combination eventually.

2 thoughts on “weird comcast HTTP 301 redirected issues

  1. Steve

    I suppose I’m missing the point here. Is the difference that you had to use the ~, or the cookie line? I’d understand the problem with the ~, but the cookie not so much.

  2. btm

    The cookie line, the missing tilde was a typo and has been corrected. I changed the URL on privacy concerns because I don’t know whose website it was that I was recreating the problem against.

    Yeah, the cookie, I don’t get it either, but without that line I was getting a 301 error. It didn’t seem like an odd security gone AWOL issue because I tried other values from the successful Firefox request and only that cookie line worked for me.

    It may be connected to this which I found while googling for comcast and that cookie line.

    But there is a workaround that might help some, courtesy of my web-expert girlfriend. The basic problem seems to be that the broken sites are considered to have “migrated” to the new pwp, but no files were moved over. But if your browser has a cookie named pwp_mig_status with value 0, comcast’s server will fetch your pages from the old directory, and voila!

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