Make node.js not exit on error


Question

I am working on a websocket oriented node.js server using Socket.IO. I noticed a bug where certain browsers aren't following the correct connect procedure to the server, and the code isn't written to gracefully handle it, and in short, it calls a method to an object that was never set up, thus killing the server due to an error.

My concern isn't with the bug in particular, but the fact that when such errors occur, the entire server goes down. Is there anything I can do on a global level in node to make it so if an error occurs it will simply log a message, perhaps kill the event, but the server process will keep on running?

I don't want other users' connections to go down due to one clever user exploiting an uncaught error in a large included codebase.

1
55
11/18/2010 9:34:54 AM

Accepted Answer

You can attach a listener to the uncaughtException event of the process object.

Code taken from the actual Node.js API reference (it's the second item under "process"):

process.on('uncaughtException', function (err) {
  console.log('Caught exception: ', err);
});

setTimeout(function () {
  console.log('This will still run.');
}, 500);

// Intentionally cause an exception, but don't catch it.
nonexistentFunc();
console.log('This will not run.');

All you've got to do now is to log it or do something with it, in case you know under what circumstances the bug occurs, you should file a bug over at Socket.IO's GitHub page:
https://github.com/LearnBoost/Socket.IO-node/issues

70
12/26/2017 3:50:06 PM

Using uncaughtException is a very bad idea.

The best alternative is to use domains in Node.js 0.8. If you're on an earlier version of Node.js rather use forever to restart your processes or even better use node cluster to spawn multiple worker processes and restart a worker on the event of an uncaughtException.

From: http://nodejs.org/api/process.html#process_event_uncaughtexception

Warning: Using 'uncaughtException' correctly

Note that 'uncaughtException' is a crude mechanism for exception handling intended to be used only as a last resort. The event should not be used as an equivalent to On Error Resume Next. Unhandled exceptions inherently mean that an application is in an undefined state. Attempting to resume application code without properly recovering from the exception can cause additional unforeseen and unpredictable issues.

Exceptions thrown from within the event handler will not be caught. Instead the process will exit with a non-zero exit code and the stack trace will be printed. This is to avoid infinite recursion.

Attempting to resume normally after an uncaught exception can be similar to pulling out of the power cord when upgrading a computer -- nine out of ten times nothing happens - but the 10th time, the system becomes corrupted.

The correct use of 'uncaughtException' is to perform synchronous cleanup of allocated resources (e.g. file descriptors, handles, etc) before shutting down the process. It is not safe to resume normal operation after 'uncaughtException'.

To restart a crashed application in a more reliable way, whether uncaughtException is emitted or not, an external monitor should be employed in a separate process to detect application failures and recover or restart as needed.


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