• 19/10/2003

Apache Server Virtual Host Support

When using a large number of Virtual Hosts, Apache may run out of available file descriptors (sometimes called file handles if each Virtual Host specifies different log files. The total number of file descriptors used by Apache is one for each distinct error log file, one for every other log file directive, plus 10-20 for internal use. Unix operating systems limit the number of file descriptors that may be used by a process; the limit is typically 64, and may usually be increased up to a large hard-limit.

Although Apache attempts to increase the limit as required, this may not work if:

  1. Your system does not provide the setrlimit() system call.
  2. The setrlimit(RLIMIT_NOFILE) call does not function on your system (such as Solaris 2.3)
  3. The number of file descriptors required exceeds the hard limit.
  4. Your system imposes other limits on file descriptors, such as a limit on stdio streams only using file descriptors below 256. (Solaris 2)

In the event of problems you can:

  • Reduce the number of log files; don’t specify log files in the VirtualHost sections, but only log to the main log files.
  • If you system falls into 1 or 2 (above), then increase the file descriptor limit before starting Apache, using a script like

    #!/bin/sh ulimit -S -n 100

    exec httpd

Please see the Descriptors and Apache document containing further details about file descriptor problems and how they can be solved on your operating system.

Apache HTTP Server Version 1.3

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