Is there a way to send a reload request (as a client) at an exact time?

I want to reserve a very popular campsite on a very popular day. The reservation website puts each day “on sale” at 10am, a certain number of months in advance. Let’s assume that I have a lot of competition and my success depends on getting my request to reload the webpage soonest, after 10:00, without my request arriving a millisecond before their servers register 10:00.

  1. Is there any way to automate this process, to write a local script or something to say “hit F5 at exactly 10:00”? (I actually asked the reservation site and they said “no automated scripts,” but I assume they’re more concerned about rapid repeated refresh requests on their end.)
  2. Do I actually want to aim a number of milliseconds before 10, to account for the time it takes my request to be sent?

I would write a browser extension that constantly checks the time, and then reloads the page for you. I’ve never done such a thing before, and I have no idea how well it would work, but that’s where I would start.

Your browser includes tools to analyze the request/response cycle. Benchmark the site a few times to get an idea of how quickly the response gets sent. I don’t necessarily think this will improve your chances, but that’s what I would do rather than a wild guess.

I imagine extraneous factors are significant in your case. Your connection latency and predictability, for example, would be more important than how soon after 10am you refresh your browser.

If I were serious about doing something like this I would have scripts hosted on a VPS (which has a much more reliable and predictable, commercial grade connection) automatically poll the site just before and after 10am. You’d need to be pretty familiar with linux though.

Honestly, anything short of a server-hosted script will probably be negligibly different than you manually refreshing your browser window. Humans are pretty quick as is.