WebSphere Application Server Troubleshooting, part-7 : Web Server

The following has been written based on the assumption that you are using either IBM http server or Apache in front of your websphere application server.

So… how to troubleshoot issues with web server ?

  • First and most important thing is to know, if the web server is really running. If you are on unix machines check for httpd process using ps command and also look for pid file under the logs directory. On windows machine you can check in the task manager for the process.
  • Next thing is log files. There are two log files in the web servers: access log and error log. Access log contains the logging of who accessed what on that web server. Error log contains the start-up messages and any error messages. It is important to note that, when you are using virtual-hosts in the web servers , each virtual host will have its own access and error logs.
  • Next important thing you need to remember are the HTTP response codes. These codes are explained here in detail. Until you get familiar with these response codes.. you can take a printout of this image and place it in your desk.
  • I generally receive emails from readers asking .. how do you troubleshot a 404 error or 500 error. A simple answer for 404 is, since 404 is page not found, check if the request url is correct.. if so then check if the content is available. similarly for 50x, it could be a configuration issue or your back-end server didn’t responded. in these kind of issues the above image will help you get an idea where to look for.
  • The other good idea is to enable the “server-status” option in the web server. But when you enable this option you need to keep in mind that, you need to restrict the access to this page. More details about server-status and how it can help can be found here.
  • Another useful tool is , apachectl command. Using this you can test a new configuration, check the syntax, temporarly change log level etc.. some of these are discussed in our Admintoolkit post, here.

While troubleshooting any issue… first make sure that the first component that is getting the requests is working fine. So before jumping onto websphere plugin and application servers… make sure web server is working as expected.


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