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Revision as of 07:17, 2 February 2012 by Tantek (talk | contribs) (attack logs)
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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 -eaf | 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
  • if there are too many to do individually, you can also use:
    • sudo killall -9 httpd
  • re-run the ps command:
    • ps -eaf | 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.

editing your local hosts file

In order to test a new server from your local machine and still have hardcoded URL references work, you may need to manually edit your local machine's hosts file, per:

  • Add the line:
    to the hosts file on your local machine.
  • Do the flush cache tip as described below.
  • Restart your browser

Your browser should now behave *exactly* as if you'd switched actual DNS.

This makes it a very good way to test.

DNS flush cache 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

  • ...



  • ...

attack logs

Note any logs / summaries of attacks. Anything more than a summary should be moved to its own page.

  • 2012-02-01 openlinksw were issue excessive http requests, sufficient to unacceptably increase user access latency. banned an IP.
  • 2010-10-31 Banned by IP, -Rohit
  • ...

see also