Monthly Archives: November 2015

Digest authentication freezes Apache on OS X Server 5.0

When running a web site on OS X Server 5.0 for a while (on OS X 10.10.5 in my case), eventually you’ll notice hundreds of httpd processes in Activity Monitor. One or two might cause a bit of CPU load, while the others don’t do anything. When you try to load the web page, it is insanely slow and often throws a HTTP 500 error, a HTTP 502 Proxy Error, or the connection just times out. /var/log/apache2/error_log reports errors like

[Thu Nov 05 13:15:24.435549 2015] [mpm_prefork:error] [pid 60920] AH00161: server reached MaxRequestWorkers setting, consider raising the MaxRequestWorkers setting.

but that’s the only hint you get. To find out more, add the following lines inside the VirtualHost section of /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2/sites/0000_127.0.0.1_34580_.conf and restart the Websites service in

<Location /server-status>
SetHandler server-status

Now, got to http://localhost/server-status and refresh it occasionally while traffic hits your web site. You’ll eventually see dozens of lines like the one below (starting with 52-0 in my case):

Scoreboard Key:
"_" Waiting for Connection, "S" Starting up, "R" Reading Request,
"W" Sending Reply, "K" Keepalive (read), "D" DNS Lookup,
"C" Closing connection, "L" Logging, "G" Gracefully finishing,
"I" Idle cleanup of worker, "." Open slot with no current process
Srv PID Acc M   CPU SS  Req Conn    Child   Slot    Client  VHost   Request

52-0    80825   0/2/2   C   0.45    51  0   0.0 0.02    0.02    ::1

All httpd processes you’re seeing in Activity Monitor are stuck in “Closing connection”, except for those that cause considerable CPU load. If the server were behaving correctly, you wouldn’t have as many processes and those that aren’t currently handling requests would either be “Waiting for Connection” or “Open slot with no current process”.

Let’s fire up a debugger to see what’s causing the processes to get stuck:

$ sudo lldb -p 80825
(lldb) process attach --pid 80825
Process 80825 stopped
* thread #1: tid = 0x3a69d4, 0x00007fff8fe35902 libsystem_kernel.dylib`__wait4 + 10, queue = '', stop reason = signal SIGSTOP
    frame #0: 0x00007fff8fe35902 libsystem_kernel.dylib`__wait4 + 10
->  0x7fff8fe35902 <+10>: jae    0x7fff8fe3590c            ; <+20>
    0x7fff8fe35904 <+12>: movq   %rax, %rdi
    0x7fff8fe35907 <+15>: jmp    0x7fff8fe30c78            ; cerror
    0x7fff8fe3590c <+20>: retq   

Executable module set to "/usr/sbin/httpd".
Architecture set to: x86_64-apple-macosx.
(lldb) bt
* thread #1: tid = 0x3a69d4, 0x00007fff8fe35902 libsystem_kernel.dylib`__wait4 + 10, queue = '', stop reason = signal SIGSTOP
  * frame #0: 0x00007fff8fe35902 libsystem_kernel.dylib`__wait4 + 10
    frame #1: 0x0000000109b3ee95 libapr-1.0.dylib`apr_proc_wait + 70
    frame #2: 0x000000010aa4290c`cleanup_server_event + 73
    frame #3: 0x0000000109b3627a libapr-1.0.dylib`apr_pool_destroy + 82
    frame #4: 0x0000000109a74ce2 httpd`clean_child_exit + 50
    frame #5: 0x0000000109a74c59 httpd`child_main + 2393
    frame #6: 0x0000000109a73b2e httpd`make_child + 510
    frame #7: 0x0000000109a74181 httpd`perform_idle_server_maintenance + 1265
    frame #8: 0x0000000109a72887 httpd`prefork_run + 2471
    frame #9: 0x0000000109a26328 httpd`ap_run_mpm + 120
    frame #10: 0x0000000109a1185f httpd`main + 4687
    frame #11: 0x00007fff8d7435c9 libdyld.dylib`start + 1
(lldb) continue
Process 82070 resuming
(lldb) exit

Ah, so is the culprit. So in all *.conf files in /Library/Server/Web/Config/apache2 and its subdirectories, replace every occurrence of AuthType Digest with AuthType Basic and comment out all lines containing by prepending a # character. Restart the Websites service in Watch http://localhost/server-status: everything should be fine now and no more connections stuck on “Closing connection”!

Printer Sharing randomly stops working due to memorystatus_thread killing cupsd

Printers shared in OS X 10.9, 10.10 or 10.11 randomly stop being accessible from remote computers. The system log reports that the cupsd process was terminated by memorystatus_thread:

Oct 26 07:14:33 robert kernel[0]: memorystatus_thread: idle exiting pid 4901 [cupsd]

This can also manually be triggered by executing sudo launchctl stop org.cups.cupsd.plist and manually and temporarily fixed by executing sudo launchctl start org.cups.cupsd.plist.

As a workaround, you can edit the CUPS LaunchDaemon to restart whenever a remote computer attempts to connect. On 10.9 or 10.10:

sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Delete Sockets:Listeners:0:SockNodeName" /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Delete Sockets:Listeners:1:SockNodeName" /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist

On 10.11, first disable System Integrity Protection in Recovery mode, then run

sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Add Sockets:Listeners:1 Dict" /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Add Sockets:Listeners:1:SockServiceName String" /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -c "Set Sockets:Listeners:1:SockServiceName ipp "/System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo launchctl unload /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist
sudo launchctl load /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.cups.cupsd.plist