IBM Support

IBM HTTP Server fails to start with a create child process failed error

Troubleshooting


Problem

This technote provides a solution to an issue where IBM HTTP Server does not start due to a "master_main: create child process failed" error.

Symptom

The IBM HTTP Server does not start and the following message appears in the error log:

master_main: create child process failed

Cause

An issue in IBM HTTP Server can cause the server to crash while starting.

Environment

Deployments in which the IBM HTTP Server Version 7.0 or 8.0 is running on Windows might be affected. The following IBM HTTP Server Versions are affected: 7.0.0.0, 7.0.0.3, 7.0.0.5, 7.0.0.7, 7.0.0.9, 7.0.0.11, 7.0.0.13, 7.0.0.15, 7.0.0.17, 7.0.0.19, 8.0.0.1.

Diagnosing The Problem

When the IBM HTTP Server fails to start, check the error log, which is located in the following directory where the server is installed:

<HTTPServer>\logs\error.log

Search for errors that include the text string

master_main: create child process failed

For example:

[Wed Nov 3 14:08:11 2011] [crit] (OS 6)The handle is invalid.  : master_main: create child process failed. Exiting.
[Wed Nov 3 14:08:11 2011] [notice] Parent: Forcing termination of child process 36

Resolving The Problem

If no other reason, other than the error shown above, is given in the IBM HTTP Server error log file for the server failing to start and you have ruled out any issues with third-party modules, then you may be running into this issue.

See APAR PM49573 for more information about this issue:

An Interim Fix is available on request from the IBM HTTP Server team.

Internal Use Only



"The cause of the crash is a bug in the C runtime while replacing the value of an environment variable. Internally, the OS is trying to free the memory of the old environment variable value, but the way IBM HTTP Server was creating the new entries, each value was not necessarily its own individually allocated storage. IBM HTTP Server was updated to allocate each individual value separately.

"This issue will be fixed in IBM HTTP Server 7.0.0.21."

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Document Information

Modified date:
29 September 2018

UID

swg21568421