Need guidance/clarification regarding Apache restart error messages (SIGTERM, suEXEC, Digest)

Posted on 2004-09-22
Last Modified: 2010-03-04
I am running Redhat Enterprise 3 and using the latest iteration of Webmin.  I just added the first virtual domain to Apache (something I have done many times with Redhat 7.3) using Webmin's Apache module.  When I apply the changes by restarting Apache the website becomes live using its IP address, as expected.  (I have not created a dns record as yet).   However, I also see the following 'notice' level error messages in Webmin.   When I stop and then restart Apache I do not get these error messages, only when using restart.   I am a Linux Novice (note that I use Webmin :-))  I would like to better understand:

1.  What these messages refer to.
2.  Why they appear upon restart but not during a normal stop - then - start.
3.  I suspect I am just too paranoid and that as 'notice' level messages they are simply 'FYIs' from the system.  Can I simply ignore them?

Many thanks, Mike

[Wed Sep 22 14:51:22 2004] [notice] Apache/2.0.46 (Red Hat) configured -- resuming normal operations
[Wed Sep 22 14:51:33 2004] [notice] caught SIGTERM, shutting down
[Wed Sep 22 14:51:35 2004] [notice] suEXEC mechanism enabled (wrapper: /usr/sbin/suexec)
[Wed Sep 22 14:51:36 2004] [notice] Digest: generating secret for digest authentication ...
[Wed Sep 22 14:51:36 2004] [notice] Digest: done
Question by:cbns
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Expert Comment

ID: 12133013
These are normal operational messages. There's nothing of concern here.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12133046
               [Wed Sep 22 14:51:22 2004] [notice] Apache/2.0.46 (Red Hat) configured -- resuming normal operations

Apache is telling you it has successfully read its configuration file and is running normally.

                [Wed Sep 22 14:51:33 2004] [notice] caught SIGTERM, shutting down

Here, it is logging the fact that the OS sent it a "Signal - Terminate" message, and is shutting itself down in accordance with the request from the OS

                 [Wed Sep 22 14:51:35 2004] [notice] suEXEC mechanism enabled (wrapper: /usr/sbin/suexec)

It is apparently starting back up at this point - it has noticed that it is configured for suwrapper, and its logging level demands that the fact be recorded in the log

                 [Wed Sep 22 14:51:36 2004] [notice] Digest: generating secret for digest authentication ...

Apache is preparing message digest (hash function, essentially) for use with suexec and making note of this fact (again, because the logging level demands it)

                 [Wed Sep 22 14:51:36 2004] [notice] Digest: done

The webserver has finished creating the message digest (this lets you evaluate how much time it spends on that - not much, it looks like)
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Accepted Solution

PsiCop earned 50 total points
ID: 12133081
1) See above.

2) Good question - I suspect that this is the case because its following  different code-path. Also, with a restart, the code never fully exits, so its logging level is left intact. Could be that it hasn't reached the logging level you need to see these messages when its brought up from a cold start.

3) Yes, you're paranoid, but just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't anyone out to get you. Even paranoid people have enemies. But these 5 messages are just the "FYI" variety and are mainly there for Apache to tell you "I'm doing what you told me to do, and here's what I think that is".

If you want, you can reduce the logging level in httpd.conf and you won't see these. You can even vary the logging level by Virtual Server.
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Expert Comment

ID: 12134195
hey you machine is under attack!  Boot to your installation CD, and reinstall!
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Expert Comment

ID: 12134210
just kidding!

PsiCOP comment is excellent!!!.


Author Comment

ID: 12134604
Thanks PsiCOP!

My paranoia on this was because my vendor, Interland, has not yet built a box without errors or ommitted services.  As a struggling novice with self-managed servers, I did not want to assume the obvious.  (I have to move several client websites to the box this week.)  The old 7.3 build must have had a lower level of logging.  Thanks for pointing out that this can be changed.  

I greatly appreciate your clear explanation and reassurance.


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