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Revision as of 21:46, 19 July 2011 by Tantek (talk | contribs) (→‎server transition testing: DNS flush tips, irc bots)
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<entry-title>admin how-to</entry-title>

This is a reference for various tasks that admins may have to perform.

web server restart

If you're reading this then either the server is up, or the server is down and you're reading a Google Cache copy (thus it's still useful to post this here).

If the web server is down, e.g. someone notes on #microformats chat or Twitter:

  • "if any of the website admins are on, the site is down."


  • ssh into the server
  • check for web server errors (sometimes this can reveal the source of a problem)
    • tail /var/log/httpd/error_log
  • find the apache install (it might not be where you expect it or it might have moved)
    • locate apache
  • then using the full path to "apachectl" (rather than just "apachectl" in the command)
    • sudo apachectl -k restart
  • if you get an error like:
    • (98)Address already in use: make_sock: could not bind to address
  • then see if there are any existing stalled restart processes by doing:
    • ps -ax | grep http
  • if you see any processes like:
    • 1337 ? S 0:44 httpd -k restart
    • 31337 ? S 0:44 httpd -k restart
  • then kill them using their id (that first number) like:
    • sudo kill -9 1337
  • re-run the ps command:
    • ps -ax | grep http
  • it should be the only thing running with "http" in the name, e.g.
    • 25252 pts/0 S+ 0:00 grep http
  • at this point, try restarting the apache server again:
    • sudo apachectl -k restart
  • and you should see:
    • httpd not running, trying to start
  • now try browsing to and make sure it loads
  • report back on IRC or Twitter to whoever pointed out that the server was down.

server transition testing

Some things to check when transitioning to / setting up a new server.

DNS flush tips

If you're using OSX, you'll probably have to run this to flush the local dns cache:

dscacheutil -flushcache

current servers being tested

home and blog


irc bots



  • audio / video recordings of talks
  • ... need URLs ...

mailing list archives

  • ...



  • ...

see also