You are looking at the documentation for the 1.3 version of the Apache HTTP Server, which is no longer maintained, and has been declared "end of life". If you are in fact still using the 1.3 version, please consider upgrading. The current version of the server is 2.4.
This document covers stopping and restarting Apache on Unix and Cygwin only. Windows users should see Signalling Apache when running.
You will notice many
httpd executables running
on your system, but you should not send signals to any of them
except the parent, whose pid is in the PidFile. That is to say you
shouldn't ever need to send signals to any process except the
parent. There are three signals that you can send the parent:
which will be described in a moment.
To send a signal to the parent you should issue a command such as:
You can read about its progress by issuing:kill -TERM `cat /usr/local/apache/logs/httpd.pid`
Modify those examples to match your ServerRoot and PidFile settings.tail -f /usr/local/apache/logs/error_log
As of Apache 1.3 we provide a script called apachectl which can be used to start, stop, and restart Apache. It may need a little customization for your system, see the comments at the top of the script.
TERM signal to the parent causes it
to immediately attempt to kill off all of its children. It may
take it several seconds to complete killing off its children.
Then the parent itself exits. Any requests in progress are
terminated, and no further requests are served.
HUP signal to the parent causes it
to kill off its children like in
TERM but the
parent doesn't exit. It re-reads its configuration files, and
re-opens any log files. Then it spawns a new set of children
and continues serving hits.
Users of the status module
will notice that the server statistics are set to zero when a
HUP is sent.
Note: If your configuration file has errors in it when you issue a restart then your parent will not restart, it will exit with an error. See below for a method of avoiding this.
Note: prior to release 1.2b9 this code is quite unstable and shouldn't be used at all.
USR1 signal causes the parent process to
advise the children to exit after their current
request (or to exit immediately if they're not serving
anything). The parent re-reads its configuration files and
re-opens its log files. As each child dies off the parent
replaces it with a child from the new generation of
the configuration, which begins serving new requests
This code is designed to always respect the MaxClients, MinSpareServers, and MaxSpareServers settings. Furthermore, it respects StartServers in the following manner: if after one second at least StartServers new children have not been created, then create enough to pick up the slack. This is to say that the code tries to maintain both the number of children appropriate for the current load on the server, and respect your wishes with the StartServers parameter.
Users of the status module
will notice that the server statistics are not
set to zero when a
USR1 is sent. The code was
written to both minimize the time in which the server is unable
to serve new requests (they will be queued up by the operating
system, so they're not lost in any event) and to respect your
tuning parameters. In order to do this it has to keep the
scoreboard used to keep track of all children across
The status module will also use a
G to indicate
those children which are still serving requests started before
the graceful restart was given.
At present there is no way for a log rotation script using
USR1 to know for certain that all children writing
the pre-restart log have finished. We suggest that you use a
suitable delay after sending the
before you do anything with the old log. For example if most of
your hits take less than 10 minutes to complete for users on
low bandwidth links then you could wait 15 minutes before doing
anything with the old log.
Note: If your configuration file has errors
in it when you issue a restart then your parent will not
restart, it will exit with an error. In the case of graceful
restarts it will also leave children running when it exits.
(These are the children which are "gracefully exiting" by
handling their last request.) This will cause problems if you
attempt to restart the server -- it will not be able to bind to
its listening ports. Before doing a restart, you can check the
syntax of the configuration files with the
command line argument (see httpd ). This still will not
guarantee that the server will restart correctly. To check the
semantics of the configuration files as well as the syntax, you
can try starting httpd as a non-root user. If there are no
errors it will attempt to open its sockets and logs and fail
because it's not root (or because the currently running httpd
already has those ports bound). If it fails for any other
reason then it's probably a config file error and the error
should be fixed before issuing the graceful restart.
Prior to Apache 1.2b9 there were several race conditions involving the restart and die signals (a simple description of race condition is: a time-sensitive problem, as in if something happens at just the wrong time it won't behave as expected). For those architectures that have the "right" feature set we have eliminated as many as we can. But it should be noted that there still do exist race conditions on certain architectures.
Architectures that use an on disk ScoreBoardFile have the
potential to corrupt their scoreboards. This can result in the
"bind: Address already in use" (after
"long lost child came home!" (after
former is a fatal error, while the latter just causes the
server to lose a scoreboard slot. So it might be advisable to
use graceful restarts, with an occasional hard restart. These
problems are very difficult to work around, but fortunately
most architectures do not require a scoreboard file. See the ScoreBoardFile
documentation for a architecture uses it.
MACHTEN (68k only) have
small race conditions which can cause a restart/die signal to
be lost, but should not cause the server to do anything
All architectures have a small race condition in each child involving the second and subsequent requests on a persistent HTTP connection (KeepAlive). It may exit after reading the request line but before reading any of the request headers. There is a fix that was discovered too late to make 1.2. In theory this isn't an issue because the KeepAlive client has to expect these events because of network latencies and server timeouts. In practice it doesn't seem to affect anything either -- in a test case the server was restarted twenty times per second and clients successfully browsed the site without getting broken images or empty documents.