Fixing Apache after Ubuntu 13.10 upgrade


Ubuntu 13.10 was released yesterday. As well as other package updates, it includes an upgrade from Apache 2.2 to 2.4, which broke a few things on my dev machine.

After the upgrade I was getting the standard "It works!" Apache message on all of my virtual hosts. Running apache2ctl configtest gave me the familiar warning:

Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using Set the 'ServerName' directive globally to suppress this message

You often get this error in an out-of-the-box Ubuntu setup as you need to tell Apache what hostname to use as the default. I'd previously fixed this by creating a config file at /etc/apache2/conf.d/fqdn that contains only:

ServerName localhost

so first I had to investigate why this was no longer working. It turned that Apache 2.4 no longer reads configs from conf.d. If you check the end of apache2.conf, you'll see that it now looks in a folder called conf-enabled instead:

# Include generic snippets of statements
IncludeOptional conf-enabled/*.conf

This folder contains symlinked files pointing at conf-available, making the conf setup similar to the approach used for vhosts. So, to fix the error I moved all of my configuration files from conf.d to /etc/apache2/conf-available/, added a .conf file extension to each one, and then ran:

a2enconf fqdn

to setup the symlink.

After restarting Apache, the FQDN error was gone, but I was still getting the "It works!" message for all my vhosts. I had another look at the main Apache config and found:

# Include the virtual host configurations:
IncludeOptional sites-enabled/*.conf

So by default Apache expects the vhost files to have a .conf file extension (which it didn't before). Mine just used the hostname as the filename. So I renamed each of these and updated the symlinks that point to them.

After that everything was back to normal.

A full 2.2 to 2.4 upgrade guide is available in case you have any other issues. Of particular note is the change to the syntax for 'Deny from' and 'Require', so if you start getting "403 Forbidden" errors on things that previously worked you'll probably need to update those directives.

Many/all of these issues could be mitigaged by either keeping old configs during the upgrade or by installing the provided compatibility module, but in development I prefer to always install package maintainer's configs when upgrading so that I know how to fix things if they were to go wrong in production.

Comments (9) Tags: apache


26th Oct, 2013

a2enconf fqdn

Tim Fountain
1st Nov, 2013

Typo fixed - thanks!

Isaque Alves
11th Nov, 2013

Thanks a lot, man! This was very helpful.

Shawn C
10th Dec, 2013

Very helpful. The .conf extension was a simple fix for something giving me a couple hours of grief.

mark hayes
28th Dec, 2013

tim - i have made all of the changes you mentioned, along with the Require directive. a2ensite/a2dissite seem to have no affect. they do add/remove the symlinks in sites-enabled/ but even if sites-enabled/ is empty, i can still reach all of the sites that are in /var/www spinning my wheels on this one. i am wondering if there are artifacts from apache2.2 laying around.

Tim Fountain
31st Dec, 2013

Mark: sounds like you have a modified /etc/apache2/apache2.conf. Check the end of that file, normally there's a line like this:

# Include the virtual host configurations:
IncludeOptional sites-enabled/*.conf

which includes the symlinks from sites-enabled. See if you have something different.

10th Jan, 2014

I am just wondering, if say for instance you had a load of existing conf files, would it be a bad idea to just change the apache2.conf back to the single wildcard?

Not looking forward to renaming conf files then disabling and re-enabling them...

Or do you have a quick way to do that?

Tim Fountain
13th Jan, 2014

There's no problem editing the apache2.conf if it will save you time. The only reason I generally try and avoid that is to make Ubuntu upgrades easier (as you'll have to reapply those changes).

There are ways to bulk rename multiple files from the command line if you do a bit of hunting around.

18th Feb, 2014

Removing old Order allow,deny /Allow from all and add Require all granted fixed my 403.

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