Is there a way to run a configtest utility (e.g. apache2ctl -t) before trying to restart a service when one of its configuration files changed?

Use case here is that I want to be resilient against configuration errors in an apache config (because apache just stops when it sees the config error, leaving me with a stopped apache)

  • 1
    you can use kvm or docker for test your change before put it in production. – c4f4t0r Jan 13 '15 at 14:11
  • sure i can do that but i want to avoid the risk of anything slipping through and breaking my servers – Michael Siebert Jan 13 '15 at 16:28
  • But that only makes it worse. You commit a bad configuration. The services don't restart. You now have a broken configuration on your servers and not know it. Next time you reboot or provision a new server it won't start. Now you have to figure out when it actually broke. – faker Jan 15 '15 at 9:38
  • No, the idea is to have it tell me that it failed to restart the service. – Michael Siebert Jan 15 '15 at 12:05
  • How? It will pop up as a failed resource but only once. The next run will see that the config file is already the newest, it will not try to restart, it will not run a config check and all resources are ok => your dashboard or whatever you use to monitor will turn green. – faker Jan 15 '15 at 14:43

You can use a require => Exec[] and daisy chain the exec to require the config change(s).

If the Exec fails (exit status != 0) the subsequent tasks that require it should fail as well. I do something similar to execute ssh-keygen then set special permissions on .ssh when creating new users.


# Ensure the .ssh directory exists for each user
file { "${dot_ssh_dir}":
 ensure => directory,
 owner => $title,
 mode => 700,
 require => File["${home_dir}"],

# Run ssh-keygen (ONLY if id_rsa doesn't exist)
exec { "${title} ssh-keygen":
 command => "ssh-keygen -f ./id_rsa -q -N ''",
 cwd => $dot_ssh_dir,
 user => $title,
 creates => "${keyfile_private}",
 path => ['/usr/bin', '/usr/sbin/', '/usr/local/sbin'],
 require => File[$dot_ssh_dir],

# AuthorizedKeys should be 600
file { "${authorized_keys}": 
 source => "${keyfile_public}",
 ensure => present,
 mode => 600,
 owner => $title,
 group => 'sftpusers',
 require => Exec["${title} ssh-keygen"],

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