Apache and Graceful Restart question

Posted on 2003-02-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-20
Hello, I was wondering if anyone can answer this quick question for me.  

I have questioned my host about the 70 or so graceful restarts of Apache occuring each day.  They say that it's nothing to worry about and it has to do with their multihosting of domains on the server.  

I was wondering if anyone can tell me if all these restarts can have any type of negative impact on my website?

Thank you for your time and thanks for this website!
Question by:dwannall
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Expert Comment

ID: 8011987
If there are really 70 restarts, it can be a problem - some of them will fail, nobody's that perfect so that he will reconfigure an Apache server 70 times a day without any errors :) And if they are not reconfiguring the server why restart it ?
Anyway, in case of an error in the config files, the server will go down so there will be some downtime. See also http://httpd.apache.org/docs/stopping.html

BUT, I wouldn't like an ISP that restarts an Apache server without reconfiguring it - I've seen apache servers running for many (many) month without a single HUP, I don't know of any reason why Apache should be restarted without any change. And 70 changes per day ? What is this, an Apache configuration class ?

Author Comment

ID: 8012136
Thanks for the response.  They say that the graceful restarts are needed when a change is made to their multi-hosted domains.  Either a domain is added or removed.  I've re-checked the logs and it's anywhere from 60-80 per day.  I believe that it is actually a script that adds/removes the domain and restarts the server.

Expert Comment

ID: 8012451
60-80 domains per day added or removed ? If apache needs restarting, that means that there are sites added or removed. At 60 per daa, we are talking big bussines and either a big cluster or a small cluster of big machines (or maybe just one very big machine).
There can be some race conditions (se the previous link) but maybe they know what they are doing. I don't like it though. 60 domains per day means 1200 domain appearing or dissapearing per month from exactly the server (clusted) that hosts you Isn't that a little bit too much ?
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Accepted Solution

naccad earned 100 total points
ID: 8013395
a graceful restart is not the same as a restart,
a graceful restart will actually check the configuration
1st and will not actually reload the configuration if there
is an error somewhere.. doing a graceful restart is an
admin's way of making sure his changes are correct before
commiting them.

and a graceful is not only needed if a site is added or
deleted, adding an SSL certificate requires a full restart,
chaning an IP requires a full restart.

so, unless you are using proxy/caching in that particular apache instanace, it is quite safe, you dont have to worry about it.

just my 2 cents

Assisted Solution

knowsth earned 100 total points
ID: 8118628
graceful restarting in apache is the only way of keeping a 'site' up and running whilst re-reading the config.

In effect what actually happens is each child is successively shut down once it has finished writing (or reading for that matter) to (from) the client, and then restarted with the new config, following the config rules for how many spare children there should be and the demand on new children being spawned.

This would not impact any of the virtual hosts, and yes, 70-odd a day is _very_ high.  They could surely set it up so that changes take place within the hour or so?

Expert Comment

ID: 9087875
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Expert Comment

ID: 9259880
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.
I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is to:

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Expert Comment

ID: 9325422
Finalized per recommendation.

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