The subject mostly says it all. I am in charge of a few web servers running Ubuntu 12.04 running Apache2 & I would like to setup APC.

Now I understand APC can hit segmentation fault issues when acting on PHP code that has errors or quirks. So cleanup is advisable, but not really practical for a manpower standpoint.

So I have cooked up a script to monitor the main Apache2 error.log & count how many segmentation faults it sees. I run it as a cron job that runs every 2 minutes. If it hits a specified number of segmentation faults, it should automatically restart Apache2 to clear out APC & get services running smoothly again. The seed idea of this script comes from a comment on this page but I have really heavily built upon the concept to make it more production ready for my needs & tastes.

I am generally happy with this script, but feel one major improvement is the core logic in this snippet:

if [[ `tail -n ${TAIL_NUMLINES} "${APACHE_ERROR_LOG}" | egrep -c "${TEXT_TO_WATCH}"` -ge ${FAIL_COUNT} ]]; then

That is basically the core logic that tails the log file for a specified number of lines, and if it sees a specified number of log entries with exit signal Segmentation fault in them, then it decides it's time to do something. In this case, log the incident, e-mail someone about the incident & restart Apache.

I would like that logic to factor in time because errors can be few & far between. So there are cases where my FAIL_COUNT simply matches the TAIL_NUMLINES despite a restart because no new entries are in the main error log because no new errors have hit. Which would end up in a situation where the server basically restarts every time the cron job hits. Which is horrible.

So my stop-gap solution for now is to set FAIL_COUNT & TAIL_NUMLINES to a low enough number to match the standard counts of entries that are created when Apache2 reloads. But I still don't like that.

So what—if anything—can be done to add a time frame to my tail/egrep logic. Also, I would like to avoid creating a timestamp or log line position hint being saved to a file if possible. I want this script to be self-contained other than depending on the cron job.

Full script as I have it now.



DATE=`date +%Y%m%d`
TIME=`date +%H%M`
# SUFFIX="-"${DATE}"-"${TIME};

APACHE_RESTART="/etc/init.d/apache2 restart"
TEXT_TO_WATCH="exit signal Segmentation fault"

MAIL_SUBJECT=${HOSTNAME}": Apache Segfault Notification"

SCRIPT_NAME=$(basename "$0")



# If the Apache log file doesn't exist, then exit.
if [ ! -f ${APACHE_ERROR_LOG} ]; then

# Main process.
if mkdir ${LOCK_DIR} 2>/dev/null; then
    # If the ${LOCK_DIR} doesn't exist, then start working & store the ${PID_FILE}
    echo $$ > ${PID_FILE}

    STARTUP_MESSAGE="`date` Log watcher starting."
    if [ -d ${LOG_DIR} ]; then
        echo ${STARTUP_MESSAGE} >> ${LOG_FULLPATH}

    # Tail--but do not follow--a chunk of the LOG_FULLPATH if the number of instances is
    # greater than or equal to the FAIL_COUNT, act
    if [[ `tail -n ${TAIL_NUMLINES} "${APACHE_ERROR_LOG}" | egrep -c "${TEXT_TO_WATCH}"` -ge ${FAIL_COUNT} ]]; then

        # Create the log message.
        LOG_MESSAGE="`date` Segfault detected on "$HOSTNAME

        # Log the error to the file.
        if [ -d ${LOG_DIR} ]; then
            echo ${LOG_MESSAGE} >> ${LOG_FULLPATH}

        # Send e-mail notification.
        echo ${LOG_MESSAGE}$'\n\r'${FAIL_COUNT} | mail -s "${MAIL_SUBJECT}" ${MAIL_ADDRESS}

        # Restart Apache

    rm -rf ${LOCK_DIR}
    if [ -f ${PID_FILE} ] && kill -0 $(cat ${PID_FILE}) 2>/dev/null; then
        # Confirm that the process file exists & a process
        # with that PID is truly running.
        # echo "Running [PID "$(cat ${PID_FILE})"]" >&2
        # If the process is not running, yet there is a PID file--like in the case
        # of a crash or sudden reboot--then get rid of the ${LOCK_DIR}
        rm -rf ${LOCK_DIR}

EDIT: Here is an example of the Apache2 logfile output the above script is monitoring.

[Sat Mar 02 14:32:26 2013] [notice] child pid 14696 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:27 2013] [notice] child pid 13914 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:27 2013] [notice] child pid 15735 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:28 2013] [notice] child pid 14865 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:28 2013] [notice] child pid 15545 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:30 2013] [notice] child pid 13821 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:31 2013] [notice] child pid 15683 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:32:47 2013] [notice] child pid 15684 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:33:54 2013] [notice] child pid 15482 exit signal Segmentation fault (11)
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:04 2013] [notice] caught SIGTERM, shutting down
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:06 2013] [notice] ModSecurity for Apache/2.6.3 (http://www.modsecurity.org/) configured.
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:06 2013] [notice] ModSecurity: APR compiled version="1.4.6"; loaded version="1.4.6"
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:06 2013] [notice] ModSecurity: PCRE compiled version="8.12"; loaded version="8.12 2011-01-15"
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:06 2013] [notice] ModSecurity: LUA compiled version="Lua 5.1"
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:06 2013] [notice] ModSecurity: LIBXML compiled version="2.7.8"
[Sat Mar 02 14:34:07 2013] [notice] Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) mod_ssl/2.2.22 OpenSSL/1.0.1 configured -- resuming normal operations
  • 1
    Would you be willing to write a line to the logfile? I think this can be simplified greatly if you wrote a marker to say "read up until here", then read the file backwards from the bottom (so to be efficient when the file is huge) until you hit that line, then count the number of segfaults in between. – Jay Mar 2 '13 at 19:51
  • Hmmm… That is actually not a bad idea. If you could write an answer with a simple example that could be included in my code, I will consider this suggestion a contender for an answer since this seems to be more intricate than a simple tail/egrep as I have in my coding. – JakeGould Mar 2 '13 at 20:00
  • Will you accept Python? I'm not convinced bash is the right tool for the job here. – Jay Mar 2 '13 at 20:01
  • Sorry Jay, but I don’t consider an answer other than a bash solution to be a appropriate. I know there has to be a bash based answer that can work. I might even have one myself once my brain recovers a bit ;) – JakeGould Mar 2 '13 at 20:04
  • That's fine, I thought I would ask anyway. Here's another thought: how about just counting the number of segfaults since the last restart? – Jay Mar 2 '13 at 20:05

This sounds like a job for logtail. The purpose of logtail is to remember where you got up to when reading a file last time so you can start again at that point next time.

Use it like this:

logtail -o /tmp/apache.offset ${APACHE_ERROR_LOG} | egrep -c "${TEXT_TO_WATCH}"
  • I like this concept. But still feel queasy about the whole /tmp/apache.offset as well as the fact that logtail is not standardized across installs. – JakeGould Mar 3 '13 at 4:18

This demonstrates my idea


last_restart_line_number=$( grep restart sample_log_file.txt -n | tail -1 | cut -f1 -d: )
segfaults_since_restart=$( tail -n +$last_restart_line_number sample_log_file.txt | grep segfault -c )

if [ $segfaults_since_restart -gt 5 ]; then
    echo "Yes, restart apache"
    echo "No, don't restart apache"



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