How To Troubleshoot Common Site Issues on a Linux Server
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How To Troubleshoot Common Site Issues on a Linux Server

Even if you have a well-built website hosted on Linux VPS or a dedicated server by a reliable hosting provider, from time to time you’ll definitely come across different problems with it. Of course, you can always ask the provider’s technical support for help, and if the quality of the provider’s services is high, you’ll receive a rather prompt response. But anyway it will take you some time. And if the problem is causing reduced performance or downtime of your website, you may eventually lose your potential customers and hence revenues. That’s why it’s always great to be able to resolve at least common issues on your own so that you can restore the operation of your website as immediately as possible – and that’s what we are dedicating today’s article to. 

The common issues you are likely to encounter

There may be various reasons for your server to work in a worse way. However, they are too numerous to be considered in one short article, therefore today we’ll pick up just a few. They’ll include: 

  • the installation and the operation of the web server;
  • the correctness of the web server configuration syntax.

Checking the logs

To find out, which problem you are dealing with right now, to best way is to first go and check the logs. The path to them is usually as follows: /var/log.

If your web server is Apache and you have Ubuntu server, the logs are most likely to be found in /var/log/apache2. By checking the log, you’ll be able to analyze, how the error messages you receive look and finally get, what’s wrong. 

Web server

Sometimes a web server is not necessary and everything can be done by a Docker container or something like this, but in many cases, the presence of a web server is required for your pages to operate correctly. Usually, the web server is installed before the server is put into operation, but in certain cases, this procedure might be accidentally avoided or the web server may be uninstalled by accident. 

To perform the installation of the Apache web server on Ubuntu or Debian, insert:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install apache2

apache2 corresponds to the name of the Apache process.

If you are rather interested in Nginx web server, use the following command:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install nginx

The corresponding command for RHEL, Rocky Linux, or Fedora for Apache web server is:

sudo dnf install httpd

httpd corresponds here to the name of the Apache process.

The command for RHEL, Rocky Linux, or Fedora and Nginx is:

sudo dnf install nginx

nginx is the name for Nginx process.

The correctness of the web server configuration file syntax

Another possible scenario where your web server may reduce the performance of your server is the problems in the syntax of your server configuration file. These files can be usually found at /etc/. For apache2 it will look like this: cd /etc/apache2. 

On Apache RHEL, Rocky, and Fedora, like this: cd /etc/httpd.

If in the error report you received a link to some particular file, it’s a good idea to start looking for the solution to the problem from this file.

On Apache, you can use the apache2ctl or apachectl command to check the configuration files for errors:

apache2ctl configtest

If the output contains “syntax is ok” then you have to look for the problem somewhere else. If not, then try to fix the corresponding errors in the syntax until you get the “syntax is ok” message.

Is the web server running?

If you have found out that your web server is installed, the next question is – is it running. To check it, you can use the netstat command on all platforms. Apply it with -plunt flag and add grep [web server process name] to check the state of your web server process. For Nginx web server the whole will look like this:

sudo netstat -plunt | grep nginx

If you get no corresponding output, this means that your server isn’t running. To launch it, you can use init system of your Linux distribution. On most distributions, you can run it with the systemctl command. Starting Nginx process is done like this:

sudo systemctl start nginx

After that, you can use netstat again command to make sure that everything has started running correctly.


In today’s article, we’ve had a look at the troubleshooting of a few common problems that may hinder the correct operation of your website. This list is of course not exhaustive, but it is already a good start that may save you a lot of time finding out what’s wrong. If your problem is, however, the absence of hosting as such by far, go and check out a great offer of vps hosting debian by a reliable provider HostZealot. That’s all for today. Thank you for your attention, take care!

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