While using Lightspeed Onsite, you may experience an error that says that a server 'timed out'. What does that mean and how can we fix it?

Some people are surprised to learn that Lightspeed Onsite is actually comprised of two pieces of software. The 'server' and the 'client'.

The Lightspeed Server

This can be found under the Apple menu, in System Preferences. It is in charge of all your data. It regulates how many people can connect at one time, what features you have licensed, and it manages your nightly backup.

The Lightspeed Client

This is the application that you click on to access your data. On it's own, it can't do anything, but after you provide a username and password, it can communicate with the server that you specified in the login screen to go get and then display data on your screen. The data that you see in Lightspeed came from the server. The client doesn't have any data itself... it just lets you interact with it.

"What we've got here is failure to communicate"

When the client asks the server for data, it will only wait so long for a response. After a certain number of milliseconds, if it doesn't get any response back from the server, it reports back to you that the attempt 'timed out'. It usually phrases this like, 'the server timed out' which makes it sound like the server did something. Perhaps what it should say is that 'time is up'. It's not going to wait around any longer. It's given up. 

What causes it?

The most common reason for a 'time out' is a poor network connection. Lightspeed Onsite can be very finicky about it's connection to the server so if there are any interruptions in the network at all, it can experience a time out. If you use a computer that connects to the network using wifi, this can often be the cause of the issue. Try using an ethernet cable to connect instead and see if the problem goes away.

If you only have one computer, both the server and the client must run together on it, so it can't be a network issue if the client complains of a time out. If the server has run into a problem, or it has stopped for some reason, you may not even be able to login after you receive the error and get kicked out. If this is the case, try rebooting your computer and see if the problems go away.