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My general question is: what steps should you take to fix a 503 error?

To give the specifics of my situation, our Apache web server is throwing a 503 - any page gives:

Yikes! Error 503 Service Unavailable

Service Unavailable Error Code:

XID: 1032561179

(Site name) Cache

I think it's running Apache on FreeBSD. It's also running Varnish cache. I've restarted varnish, and tried restarting apache repeatedly and get 'httpd not running, trying to start' but it doesn't seem to start. Here's the top output:

last pid: 10474;  load averages:  0.00,  0.00,  0.00       up 100+04:36:29 04:59:09
130 processes: 1 running, 129 sleeping
CPU:  0.0% user,  0.0% nice,  0.0% system,  0.0% interrupt,  100% idle
Mem: 4138M Active, 5856M Inact, 1202M Wired, 1646M Buf, 4653M Free
Swap: 16G Total, 16G Free

 PID USERNAME       THR PRI NICE   SIZE    RES STATE   C   TIME   WCPU COMMAND
93147 mysql           28  44    0   504M   122M ucond   0  45:59  0.00% mysqld
1381 root             1  44    0 53124K 19196K select  1  13:20  0.00% python2.6
 702 root             1  44    0  7024K  1584K select  2   7:49  0.00% syslogd
 400 _pflogd          1  44    0  8112K  1780K bpf     0   2:40  0.00% pflogd
53724 www              1  44    0   101M 42564K piperd  2   1:04  0.00% httpd
1485 root             1  44    0 12488K  1928K select  2   0:56  0.00% ftpd
71701 www              1  44    0 85340K 24404K piperd  2   0:49  0.00% httpd
32960 www              1  44    0 87820K 27612K piperd  2   0:43  0.00% httpd
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What command do you use to start apache, what output do you get (in full) and which user are you running the commands as? –  EightBitTony Jun 23 '11 at 9:32
    
I use 'sudo apachectl graceful' (as a user who can sudo) and after that failed tried 'sudo apachectl restart'. The output I get is only what I said: 'httpd not running, trying to start'. –  tog22 Jun 23 '11 at 10:51
    
anything in apache's error log? location varies, might be /var/log/apache2/error.log, might be somewhere else. –  EightBitTony Jun 23 '11 at 11:10
    
Default location for Apache error log installed from FreeBSD ports is /var/log/httpd-error.log. And presense of XID in error page indicates that this error is generated by Varnish. –  AlexD Jun 23 '11 at 11:30
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