For whatever reason I managed to mess up Apache quite bad (Ubuntu 12.04). The output below complains about configtest failing and a segmentation fault. However, I can't find anything in /var/log/apache2/error.log. How can I debug this "configtest"?

jeroen@jeroen-ubuntu:~$ sudo service apache2 stop
 * Stopping web server apache2                                                  
 * The apache2 configtest failed, so we are trying to kill it manually. This is almost certainly suboptimal, so please make sure your system is working as you'd expect now!
 ... waiting                                                             [ OK ]
jeroen@jeroen-ubuntu:~$ sudo service apache2 start
 * Starting web server apache2
Segmentation fault
Action 'start' failed.
The Apache error log may have more information.

Edit: the problem is related to the loading of an apache2 module. I found some traces of the problem in/var/log/kern.log:

Mar 14 20:44:27 jeroen-ubuntu kernel: [13267.367260] show_signal_msg: 9 callbacks suppressed
Mar 14 20:44:27 jeroen-ubuntu kernel: [13267.367264] apache2[20784]: segfault at b638f7b5 ip b638f7b5 sp b5ed42e0 error 14
Mar 14 20:44:27 jeroen-ubuntu kernel: [13267.367268] apache2[20786]: segfault at b638f7b5 ip b638f7b5 sp b383f2e0 error 14

I have been using this module for years and it has always been stable. I have recently been installing some backports from PPA repositories, I suspect that one of these packages has broken my system...

  • Is the log completely empty? – Shane Madden Mar 15 '13 at 0:32
  • Yes, nothing gets written to the log. One of my modules fails to load. – Jeroen Mar 15 '13 at 0:35
  • What's telling you that the issue is with a module? – Shane Madden Mar 15 '13 at 0:38
  • When I disable the module, the problem disappears. But I have been running this module (mod_R) for years, so I don't understand where the problem comes from all of a sudden. But the configtest doesn't really tell me anything. – Jeroen Mar 15 '13 at 0:40
  • What's changed? Upgrade of any components? Configuration changes? – Shane Madden Mar 15 '13 at 1:31

If configtest failed that is not anything to panic about. It basically means something is screwy in one of your Apache config files. So this is my punch down list of what you should do:

  1. Were you editing an Apache config file before this happened? Which one? Where? Can you restore a backup or a known good config for it? Basically, I would go over the config with a fine-tooth comb. Something as simple as misspelling in a config option can be the cause. Or maybe the file is damaged?
  2. Was this on a main config like /etc/apache2/apache2.conf or something in /etc/apache2/sites-enabled? If it was in the main config file, it would show up in the error.log more often than not? If not, maybe in a separate log connected to your virtual hosts?
  3. What is your virtual host config like when you run sudo apachectl -S? That might give another clue as to what configs Apache is using.
  4. Past any of that, did you add—or attempt to add—any modules to Apache? Can you disable them? You indicate in some of your comment answers that the module might be the cause. Don’t be married to a piece of replaceable software. Just delete it & reinstall the module. Could be corrupt.
  5. Absolute worst case scenario, unless you have an incredibly idiosyncratic install of Apache—I would recommend backing up your configs in /etc/apache2—removing Apache from your system and reinstall it clean. Then see if that clean install works & if it does, then redo your configuration based on the backup files.
| improve this answer | |
  • Actually I had tried most of this. I have completely purged and removed apache2, the module, and related software. After reinstalling it the problem was still there. – Jeroen Mar 15 '13 at 3:52
  • @Jeroen: You accepted the answer, but your comment says it's still there. What did actually solve your problem? – allo Mar 20 '17 at 19:02
  • 1
    also you can use to build in debug sudo apache2 -X – Vladimir Ch Mar 21 '17 at 21:02

Thanks, the issue occurred right after installing PHP 7 and added quiet a few packages.

After a little research found /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/php5.load which was pointing towards a package that was either removed earlier or was unable to load with apache start. Just removed the contents and it started working.

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.