Temporary Service Outage; More to Come

This site and the other sites hosted on the same Mac Mini (The Cafes,www.xom.nu) were down for about half an hour early this morning.They’re fixed now. The problem was interesting. I was hacking the httpd.conf file to add a new virtual host and I was convinced I’d made a serious error, and I racked my brains trying to spot it. I backed out my changes and the problem still wasn’t fixed. I reverted to backups and the problem wasn’t fixed.

The eventual clue that led me to realize what was happening was that sometimes I’d get weird usage messages from httpd and apachectl. This site is served by Apache 2.0. However Mac OS X ships with Apache 1.3, and that had snuck into my path. I had managed to launch the bundled Apache 1.3 on top of or instead of Apache 2.0, so it was reading different config files completely. For some reason, I couldn’t shut it down. The dual versions were confusing both binaries. I had to restart, but then Apache 2.0 launched and all was goodness.

To avoid this problem in the future, I’m going to rename /usr/sbin/httpd to something less likely to surprise me.

The upside is that once I get this all fixed, I should have some very cool new features I’ve been promising for years, and may finally get working later this weekend. Watch this space.

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