Saturday 22 May 2010

Problems with LINUX, Apache and PHP

LINUX Apache Server stopped serving up PHP pages

By Strictly-Software

When I logged into my hosted LINUX web server earlier tonight I was met with a message saying I should install a number of new packages.

I usually ignore things like this until it gets to a point where someone forces me to do purely for reasons that will shortly become obvious.

The packages were the following:
  • apache2.2-common
  • apache2-mpm-worker
  • apache2
  • usermin
  • libapt-pkg-perl
  • apt-show-versions
  • webmin
  • webmin-virtual-server
I have no idea what most of them do but they had been sitting around for a long time waiting for me to install them and tonight was the night. These are always nights I dread!

Shortly after doing the updates I noticed that my WordPress sites had stopped working and all the PHP files were being served up as file attachments with a content type of application/x-httpd-php instead of being parsed, executed and then delivered as text/html.

At first I thought it was something to do with the SQL performance tweaks I was doing but I soon remembered about the updates and I went off hunting the web for a solution.

It's nights like these that make me wish I was back doing carpet fitting, finishing the day at 3 pm and then going down the pub. Much more enjoyable than spending Friday nights scratching my head wondering what the hell I had done to bring down my websites at 3 am.

To cap off the nightmare I had just spent ages writing a detailed message to post on an APACHE web forum only for my session to timeout and then for the site to refuse to log me in.

They then decided to block me for failing 5 login attempts in a row. Obviously I couldn't get back my message so I was pretty pissed right now!

For some reason APACHE had stopped recognising PHP file extensions and I still don't know what had happened under the covers but after a long hunt on Google I came across the solution.

The libapache2-mod-php5 module had somehow disappeared so I had to re-install it with the following lines:

sudo apt-get purge libapache2-mod-php5
sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5
sudo a2enmod php5
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
I also added the following two lines to /etc/php5/apache2/php.ini

AddHandler application/x-httpd-php .php
LoadModule php5_module modules/
I then cleared my browser cache and low and behold my site came back.

Maybe this info might come in handy for anyone else about to upgrade packages on their server or serve as a reminder of what happens when you try to behave like a sysadmin and have no real idea what your doing!

It also should make you glad that we live in the days where a Google search can provide almost any answer you are looking for. I doubt I would have owned, let alone found, a book that would have been of any use at 3am on a Saturday morning.

So despite all their snooping, minority report advertising and links to the alphabet agencies they are good for something.

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