How to fix timeout in .NET WebRequest.GetResponse?

.NET WebRequest.GetResponse terminates with timeout.

C#-example

var req = WebRequest.Create(url);
var res = req.GetResponse();

Check that the proxy setting in browser settings is valid.

What is the cause of NullReferenceException?

You are trying to use something that is null. This means you either set it to null, or you never set it to anything at all.

More Specifically

The runtime throwing a NullReferenceException always means the same thing: you are trying to use a reference, and the reference is not initialized (or it was once initialized, but is no longer initialized).

This means the reference is null, and you cannot access members (such as methods) through a null reference. The simplest case:

string foo = null;
foo.ToUpper();

This will throw a NullReferenceException at the second line because you can’t call the instance method ToUpper() on a string reference pointing to null.

Examples

Some common scenarios where the exception can be thrown:

Generic

ref1.ref2.ref3.member

If ref1 or ref2 or ref3 is null then you’ll get a NullReferenceException. If you want to solve the problem then find out which one is null by rewriting the expression to its simpler equivalent:

var r1 = ref1;
var r2 = r1.ref2;
var r3 = r2.ref3;
r3.member

Specifically, in HttpContext.Current.User.Identity.Name, the HttpContext.Current could be null, or the User property could be null, or the Identity property could be null.

Indirect

public class Person {
    public int Age { get; set; }
}

public class Book {
    public Person Author { get; set; }
}

public class Example {
    public void Foo() {
        Book b1 = new Book();
        int authorAge = b1.Author.Age; // You never initialized the Author property.
                                       // there is no Person to get an Age from.
    }
}

If you want to avoid the child (Person) null reference you could initialize it in the parent (Book) object’s constructor.

Nested Object Initializers

The same applies to nested object initializers:

Book b1 = new Book { Author = { Age = 45 } };

This translates to

Book b1 = new Book();
b1.Author.Age = 45;

While the new keyword is used, it only creates a new instance of Book, but not a new instance of Person, so the Author the property is still null.

Nested Collection Initializers

public class Person {
    public ICollection<Book> Books { get; set; }
}
public class Book {
    public string Title { get; set; }
}

The nested collection initializers behave the same:

Person p1 = new Person {
    Books = {
        new Book { Title = "Title1" },
        new Book { Title = "Title2" },
    }
};

This translates to

Person p1 = new Person();
p1.Books.Add(new Book { Title = "Title1" });
p1.Books.Add(new Book { Title = "Title2" });

The new Person only creates an instance of Person, but the Books collection is still null. The collection initializer syntax does not create a collection for p1.Books, it is only translated to the p1.Books.Add(...) statements.

Array

int[] numbers = null;
int n = numbers[0]; // numbers is null. There is no array to index.

Array Elements

Person[] people = new Person[5];
people[0].Age = 20 // people[0] is null. The array was allocated but not
                   // initialized. There is no Person to set the Age for.

Jagged Arrays

long[][] array = new long[1][];
array[0][0] = 3; // is null because only the first dimension is yet initialized.
                 // Use array[0] = new long[2]; first.

Collection/List/Dictionary

Dictionary<string, int> agesForNames = null;
int age = agesForNames["Bob"]; // agesForNames is null.
                               // There is no Dictionary to perform the lookup.

Range Variable (Indirect/Deferred)

public class Person {
    public string Name { get; set; }
}
var people = new List<Person>();
people.Add(null);
var names = from p in people select p.Name;
string firstName = names.First(); // Exception is thrown here, but actually occurs
                                  // on the line above.  "p" is null because the
                                  // first element we added to the list is null.

Events

public class Demo
{
    public event EventHandler StateChanged;

    protected virtual void OnStateChanged(EventArgs e)
    {        
        StateChanged(this, e); // Exception is thrown here 
                               // if no event handlers have been attached
                               // to StateChanged event
    }
}

Bad Naming Conventions

If you would name class fields differently from locals you might have realized that you never initialized the field.

public class Form1 {
    private Customer customer;

    private void Form1_Load(object sender, EventArgs e) {
        Customer customer = new Customer();
        customer.Name = "John";
    }

    private void Button_Click(object sender, EventArgs e) {
        MessageBox.Show(customer.Name);
    }
}

This can be solved by following the convention to prefix fields with an underscore:

private Customer _customer;

ASP.NET Page Life cycle

public partial class Issues_Edit : System.Web.UI.Page
{
    protected TestIssue myIssue;

    protected void Page_Load(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        if (!IsPostBack)
        {
            // Only called on first load, not when button clicked
            myIssue = new TestIssue(); 
        }
    }

    protected void SaveButton_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
    {
        myIssue.Entry = "NullReferenceException here!";
    }
}

ASP.NET Session Values

// if the "FirstName" session value has not yet been set,
// then this line will throw a NullReferenceException
string firstName = Session["FirstName"].ToString();

ASP.NET MVC empty view models

If the exception occurs when referencing a property of @Model in an ASP.NET MVC view, you need to understand that the Model gets set in your action method, when you return a view. When you return an empty model (or model property) from your controller, the exception occurs when the views access it:

// Controller
public class Restaurant:Controller
{
    public ActionResult Search()
    {
         return View();  // Forgot the provide a Model here.
    }
}

// Razor view 
@foreach (var restaurantSearch in Model.RestaurantSearch)  // Throws.
{
}

WPF Control Creation Order and Events

WPF controls are created during the call to InitializeComponent in the order they appear in the visual tree. A NullReferenceException will be raised in the case of early-created controls with event handlers referencing late-created controls which are fired during InitializeComponent .


    <ComboBox Name="comboBox1" 
              Margin="10"
              SelectedIndex="0" 
              SelectionChanged="comboBox1_SelectionChanged">
        <ComboBoxItem Content="Item 1" />
        <ComboBoxItem Content="Item 2" />
        <ComboBoxItem Content="Item 3" />
    

    
    <Label Name="label1" 
           Content="Label"
           Margin="10" />

Here comboBox1 is created before label1. If comboBox1_SelectionChanged attempts to reference label1, it will not yet have been created.

private void comboBox1_SelectionChanged(object sender, SelectionChangedEventArgs e)
{
    label1.Content = comboBox1.SelectedIndex.ToString(); // NullReference here!!
}

Changing the order of the declarations in the XAML (i.e., listing label1 before comboBox1, ignoring issues of design philosophy, would at least resolve the NullReferenceException here.

Cast with as

var myThing = someObject as Thing;

This doesn’t throw an InvalidCastException but returns a null when the cast fails (and when someObject is itself null). So be aware of that.

LINQ FirstOrDefault() and SingleOrDefault()

The plain versions First() and Single() throw exceptions when there is nothing. The “OrDefault” versions return null in that case. So be aware of that.

foreach

foreach throws when you try to iterate null collection. Usually caused by unexpected null result from methods that return collections.

 List list = null;    
 foreach(var v in list) { } // exception

More realistic example – select nodes from XML document. Will throw if nodes are not found but initial debugging shows that all properties valid:

 foreach (var node in myData.MyXml.DocumentNode.SelectNodes("//Data"))

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