SOLVED: Failed to start service : * Starting web server apache2 (but apache is actually running)

11 posts / 0 new
Last post
#1 Fri, 11/19/2010 - 13:47

SOLVED: Failed to start service : * Starting web server apache2 (but apache is actually running)

Hello everyone. I'm a Virtualmin newbie and have very limited skills with servers.

I recently updated my server to Ubuntu 10.10 and ever since Virtualmin tells me Apache is down (red check mark) when it is in fact up.

I've tried uninstalling/reinstalling Apache a zillion times and no matter what I get this error when I try to "start" apache (green button):


Failed to start service :

: * Starting web server apache2 ...done.

Anyone have any clue for how a newbie can easily resolve this? I am running the latest versions of both Webmin and Virtualmin, etc

This is my first post in this forum. (Great software and people) Thanks in advance for anyone who can offer advice.

Fri, 11/19/2010 - 14:22


Well, first off, a note about Virtualmin's support -- Virtualmin only technically supports Ubuntu up to version 10.04, the latest LTS release. So 10.10 might work, but it's also possible you could run into strange problems :-)

If you log into your server as root over SSH, and type this on the command line, what output do you receive:

/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Do you see any errors? And Apache really is running after all that... it's serving files and such for your websites?


Fri, 11/19/2010 - 14:45

Thanks for the quick reply Eric. Haha, yeah, guess this is one of those strange problems!

The output from ssh/putty:

  • Restarting web server apache2
    ... waiting ..

The weird thing about this entire error situation is that Apache is definitely running. This whole thing is rather odd and wanted to bring it to Virtualmin's attention in case a minor fix needed to be made for the next version.

Fri, 11/19/2010 - 15:09

Two effects might cause this, probably in "cooperation". Apache might hang and thus not want to be restarted, and maybe the path to the PID file has changed, thus Vmin does not recognize a running Apache.

The former you can check by killing any running Apache processes. Do ps aux and look for the PIDs of Apache, then kill -9 for all PIDs.

Then a /etc/init.d/apache2 start should bring it back up. See then if it serves web pages.

If so, and if Vmin still says it's not running, check if the PID file path (whole file is needed, not just the path to it) in the config of the Webmin Apache module is correct.

Fri, 11/19/2010 - 15:46

OK, I just did ps aux and it has a long list.

If I type in kill -9 it says:

kill: usage: kill [-s sigspec | -n signum | -sigspec] pid | jobspec ... or kill -l [sigspec]

What am I supposed to do? I'm a newbie

Fri, 11/19/2010 - 16:07

When you run kill, you need to include the process ID (PID) of the process you're killing.

So it would look like:

kill -9 PID

Where "PID" is the process ID you see in the "ps aux" output.


Fri, 11/19/2010 - 17:07

Yup, and to filter out the Apache processes:

ps aux | grep apache

Sat, 11/20/2010 - 14:06

Hey Locutus and Eric,

I killed all the PIDs and my site went down (as you thought it would).

I restarted apache and the site is back up again.

In Virtualmin/webmin, same issue with red X, error message when trying to restart apache via green button.

Looks like this is a path issue?

I'm not sure what to do from here but I noticed via a Google search this person had the same issue with Ubuntu 10.10:

Sat, 11/20/2010 - 16:26

You may want to take a look at Webmin -> Servers -> Apache Webserver -> Module Config -> System Configuration : Path to Apache PID file. Set that from "work out automatically" to the actual path and filename of your Apache PID file.

Sat, 11/20/2010 - 18:26

Dear Locutus (of Borg)

Well done my friend! You rock!

I set the new path to "/var/run/"

Reset Apache.

BLAM, fixed!

Haha, I am very impressed! Thanks for taking the time to hold my hand and walk me through this mess!

Many thanks!

Sat, 11/20/2010 - 17:47

You're welcome, and consider yourself assimilated. ;)

Topic locked