I'm unable to start apache2 installed using apt-get. I'm getting the very same error on 2 separate Ubuntu 12.10 installations, one on my desktop PC, the other one running in VirtualBox:

michal@michaltest:~$ sudo service apache2 start
 * Starting web server apache2
apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName
no listening sockets available, shutting down
Unable to open logs
Action 'start' failed.
The Apache error log may have more information.

lsof says:

michal@michaltest:/var/log/apache2$ sudo lsof -i :80
ubuntu-ge  2074 michal   11u  IPv4  23978      0t0  TCP michaltest.local:47578->mulberry.canonical.com:http (CLOSE_WAIT)
firefox   25194 michal   71u  IPv4  42477      0t0  TCP michaltest.local:59793-> (ESTABLISHED)
firefox   25194 michal   76u  IPv4  41834      0t0  TCP michaltest.local:59698-> (ESTABLISHED)
gvfsd-htt 25320 michal   12u  IPv4  42568      0t0  TCP michaltest.local:56203->lb260.amst.cotendo.net:http (CLOSE_WAIT)

netstat says:

michal@michaltest:/var/log/apache2$ sudo netstat -lnp | grep '80'
unix  2      [ ACC ]     STREAM     LISTENING     8030     876/acpid           /var/run/acpid.socket


[Thu Nov 08 11:13:30 2012] [notice] Apache/2.2.22 (Ubuntu) configured -- resuming normal operations
[Thu Nov 08 11:17:32 2012] [notice] caught SIGTERM, shutting down


NameVirtualHost *:80
Listen 80

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
    Listen 443

<IfModule mod_gnutls.c>
    Listen 443

Thanks for your help.

EDIT #1:

michal@michaltest:~$ sudo netstat -ano | grep '443'
tcp       54      0        CLOSE_WAIT  off (0.00/0/0)

you just need to remove nginx (3 packages) then that's it.....

Your primary issue is no listening sockets available.You are facing this issue because another application/service acquired port 80 on your Ubuntu Server.

Now you need to Kill the process which acquired port 80. You can find that easily with following command :-

sudo netstat -ltnp | grep ':80'

This will return something like :-

tcp 0 0* LISTEN 1588/aolserver4-nsd

for above case Process number 1588 acquired port 80 , you need to kill that process 1588.

sudo kill -9 1588

Now you can start your apache server by following command

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start

  • 3
    Thanks! This stumped me a bit, because it says that "The Apache error log may have more information", yet there's nothing in there, also "Unable to open logs", but there are no information which log file (apache's? the vhosts'?). Turns out that nodejs is still using port 80.. – andyk Feb 5 '14 at 5:11
  • I get the same error, but netstat lists nothing using port 80... – Cerin Aug 10 '17 at 19:57
  • @Cerin you should try sudo before netstat. – Vikas Dwivedi Aug 16 '17 at 9:20

To resolve "apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName" error, kindly specify following in your apache2.conf file


Save conf file and restart apache server.

Kindly post the output of sudo netstat -ano | grep '443'

Also ensure that if you are configuring apache to listen on 443 / ssl port you should have configured ssl certificate on apache webserver.

  • I posted the output of sudo netstat -ano | grep '443'. The ServerName thing is not an issue. Thank you very much. – michalstanko Nov 15 '12 at 10:53

Did you see:

Unable to open logs

I think you could check permissions on /var/log/apache2 !

  • I'm a bit of a novice, however I've made the /var/log/apache2 directory recursively world-writeable, then tried running sudo service apache2 start again and the output still had Unable to open logs in there. Any suggestions? Thanks. – michalstanko Nov 15 '12 at 12:21
  • Hmm. So could it be something like that ? cpanelblog.in/apache-error-unable-to-open-logs – martin-mystere Nov 16 '12 at 8:50

It looks like there might be nginx service running behind. So stop the nginx "service nginx stop" and now try to start the apache2 service, it should come without any issues. ( stop if any other app services are running )

I had the same issue today and it got resolved.

root@ip-172-31-16-xxx:~# **service nginx stop**
root@ip-172-31-16-xxx:~# **service nginx status**
● nginx.service - A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server
   Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/nginx.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
   Active: inactive (dead) since Tue 2017-12-26 08:48:21 UTC; 1min 12s ago
  Process: 5897 ExecStop=/sbin/start-stop-daemon --quiet --stop --retry QUIT/5 --pidfile /run/nginx.pid (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 1220 ExecStart=/usr/sbin/nginx -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 1158 ExecStartPre=/usr/sbin/nginx -t -q -g daemon on; master_process on; (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
 Main PID: 1229 (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)

Dec 26 06:56:32 ip-172-31-16-xxxsystemd[1]: Starting A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server...
Dec 26 06:56:32 ip-172-31-16-138 systemd[1]: Started A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server.
Dec 26 08:48:21 ip-172-31-16-138 systemd[1]: Stopping A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server...
Dec 26 08:48:21 ip-172-31-16-138 systemd[1]: Stopped A high performance web server and a reverse proxy server.

root@ip-172-31-16-xxx:~# **service apache2 start**
root@ip-172-31-16-xxx:~# **service apache2 status**
● apache2.service - LSB: Apache2 web server
   Loaded: loaded (/etc/init.d/apache2; bad; vendor preset: enabled)
  Drop-In: /lib/systemd/system/apache2.service.d
   **Active: active (running) since Tue 2017-12-26 08:49:51 UTC; 14s ago**
     Docs: man:systemd-sysv-generator(8)
  Process: 5845 ExecStop=/etc/init.d/apache2 stop (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
  Process: 5937 ExecStart=/etc/init.d/apache2 start (code=exited, status=0/SUCCESS)
    Tasks: 55
   Memory: 6.5M
      CPU: 46ms
   CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
           ├─5954 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           ├─5957 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
           └─5958 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

Dec 26 08:49:50 ip-172-31-16-138 systemd[1]: Starting LSB: Apache2 web server...
Dec 26 08:49:50 ip-172-31-16-138 apache2[5937]:  * Starting Apache httpd web server apache2
Dec 26 08:49:51 ip-172-31-16-138 apache2[5937]:  *
Dec 26 08:49:51 ip-172-31-16-138 systemd[1]: Started LSB: Apache2 web server.

Sounds like the problem is that another process has port 443 open. You'll need to kill that process first.

linux - How do I remove a CLOSE_WAIT socket connection - Stack Overflow says:

CLOSE_WAIT means your program is still running, and hasn't closed the socket (and the kernel is waiting for it to do so). Add -p to netstat to get the pid, and then kill it more forcefully (with SIGKILL if needed). That should get rid of your CLOSE_WAIT sockets. You can also use ps to find the pid.

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