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From Chris Brooks <>
Subject [users@httpd] Strange Apache error (appears to be related to bad pidfile)
Date Mon, 01 Jun 2009 17:55:15 GMT
Good morning,

I've had a strange problem with Apache twice in the past week, and I'm out
of ideas as to what might be going on.

Here's the background: I run a website that uses a plain-vanilla Apache
server to serve images, and uses mod_proxy to forward requests for
everything else to a backend mod_perl server on a different port on the same
ip address.

The problem that I ran into is that after running on the same configuration
for years, and without a reboot for a month or so, the plain-vanilla Apache
server  stopped serving requests.

   - I did not *intentionally* make any changes that I would expect to
   result in problems, either to file permissions or to the userid that Apache
   runs under.
   - My first try was to execute apachectl stop and then apachectl start.
   apachectl printed: "/usr/local/apache-light/bin/apachectl start: httpd
   started".  However, it wasn't running (which I verified by trying to run
   apachectl status and then apachectl stop).
   -  The first time this happened, I was running Apache 1.3.37.  I
   downloaded the tarball for Apache 1.3.41 and installed that in place of
   1.3.37.  The second time this error occurred it occurred with 1.3.41.
   - No messages were written to the access_log or error_log.  (I have since
   been told that I should interact directly with httpd, and that this would
   likely result in messages written to the log.)
   - /usr/local/apache-light/bin/apachectl configtest returned "Syntax OK"
   - apachectl points to the correct pidfile (at least it's the one
   specified in /usr/local/apache-light/conf/httpd.con), and it looks to me
   like root has perfectly reasonable rights to the pidfile.

I was eventually able to restart the apache process the first time by
deleting the pidfile.  When I ran apachectl start without a pidfile, the
apache process started up and ran without problems for 3 days.  The second
time this happened, it wasn't enough to delete the pid file.  I again
reinstalled apache, and went so far as to reboot the server.  (fsck did not
find any file system errors on reboot.)  This time, I was only able to
restart the sever after running the following:

[root@data2]# touch /usr/local/apache-light/logs/
[root@data2]# rm -f /usr/local/apache-light/logs/
[root@data2]# /usr/local/apache-light/bin/apachectl start

This finally worked, and the server has been serving requests for 3 days

Any ideas on what might be going on?  I'd love to have some ideas before
this happens again -- it's been a stressful 45 minutes each time while I
scrambled to try to figure out how to restart it.


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