Friday night I tried to update the machineKey section of a web.config file of a site so that it could share logins with another couple of sites. I have done this before a couple of times with those sites.
The site currently has the machine keys specified in the web.config so I assumed it would be a pretty simple procedure to swap it out with the new one shared by the other two sites.
However, after saving the web.config changes the site basically stopped performing. I could get a page to come up about once in every 30 or so attempts, the app pool shut down a couple of times and the site basically just stopped working. I checked the event log and the errors that it showed (from memory) were basic ASP.NET 2.0 framework exceptions - no details and nothing that provided me any further direction. Note: If I try this again I and get the same results I will record some of the errors.
I know that I should expect ViewState issues because of the machineKey change, but I didn't expect a total "crash" of the site. I let the site run for a while hoping that it would straighten itself out, but after 30 minutes I gave up. Upon changing the machineKey settings back the site began working great again after a few seconds to recycle the app pool and fill up cache (the site makes use of a LOT of caching).
I double checked to make sure that the only thing that I changed was the encryption and decryption keys and that was the case. I attempted the same procedure a couple more times with the same results.
I spent a couple hours that night searching Google and MSDN, but really saw nothing similar to what I was experiencing. I've done the same again today with about the same luck.
I stopped and restarted the site and the app pool a couple of times but that did not help. The one thing that I did not do is stop and restart the www service. I can give that a try. I will also try deleting my cookies, but I think I did that before, too.
Finally, I tried the same changes on a dev version of the site on the same server and it responded fine to the change.
Anyone run into something like this before? Have any tips or suggestions?