Server configuration (timeout) while working with the DHIS 2 Android App

While working with DHIS 2 on Android devices it is important to tweak some parameters of the server timeout so both the Android App and the Tomcat Server use the same timeout values. By using the default values in the server setup the connection might be closed before the data sent by the Android app is processed leading to some inconsistencies.

The DHIS 2 Android App timeout has been modified from 120 seconds to 600 seconds as from version 1.3.1 as it can be seen in the code in Github

The information below could be considered an annex to the Implementation guide - Installation

Summary chart of DHIS 2 Android App timeout value (in seconds)

| Version | Timeout |
| < 1.3.1 | 120     |
| ≥ 1.3.1 | 600     |
Note: While using several versions of the Dhis 2 Android App apply the greatest value.

Configuring Tomcat timeout

Modifiy the connectionTimeout option in the configuration file tomcat-dhis/conf/server.xml according to your needs. In doubts see table above. Note that this value should be specified in milliseconds (in this case 120000 milliseconds or 120 seconds).

<Connector port="8080" protocol="HTTP/1.1"
  relaxedQueryChars="[]" />

Configuring Nginx

If Nginx is used as a reverse proxy several options should be specified in order to modify this timeout. In order to do this modify your nginx configuration file (usually under /etc/nginx/sites-available/). Note that here is specified in seconds.

proxy_connect_timeout       120;
proxy_send_timeout          120;
proxy_read_timeout          120;
send_timeout                120;

See the Nginx doc for more information.

Specific instructions for AWS / Load Balancer

If Amazon Web Services / Load Balancer is being used make sure that the idle timeout is properly set up as well following the same principle as above. More information can be found on the Nginx documentation

Other web servers

Feel free to comment or add in case you use any other HTTP server as a reverse proxy (like Apache) so we can provide the configuration.


The apache2 equivalent for this is to place the following in <VirtualHost …> block:

   # Beware DOS vulnerability. CIS recommendation is 10s or less
   # This is a bit long, but sometimes DHIS2 is slow and this might
   # need to be increased more ..
   Timeout 600

Note timeout is specified in seconds. If you have timeout specified on the proxy you don’t really need it also on the tomcat, though I suppose it does no harm.

A 10 minute timeout is really very long for browser based applications. Maybe we need to tweak this further and specify longer timeout just for particular URLs?

1 Like