What to do when lighttpd won’t start and won’t give out any error output?

So you upgraded your server, or just all of a sudden you try to start lighttpd, it says the server started ok, but you check and there’s no lighttpd process.

You then go after your error log files, and nothing… what the fuck is happening?

try this to attempt to debug.

sudo strace -ff /usr/local/sbin/lighttpd -f /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf

In my case the output showed me lighttpd was having permission issues trying to access a log file…

[pid 28073] close(5) = 0
[pid 28073] munmap(0x7fe884c71000, 4096) = 0
[pid 28073] write(3, "2015-02-04 11:04:23: (log.c.164)"..., 49) = 49
[pid 28073] close(2) = 0
[pid 28073] open("/dev/null", O_RDWR) = 2
[pid 28073] brk(0x2203000) = 0x2203000
[pid 28073] open("/home/bh/access.log", O_WRONLY|O_CREAT|O_APPEND, 0644) = -1 EACCES (Permission denied)
[pid 28073] write(3, "2015-02-04 11:04:23: (log.c.118)"..., 98) = 98
[pid 28073] write(3, "2015-02-04 11:04:23: (server.c.1"..., 83) = 83

lighttpd, allow “Access-Control-Allow-Origin:*” headers on the server status page

Maybe there’s someone out there who needs to read the output of lighttpd’s status for monitoring purpose like me tonight, and also, like me, you want to do this using JavaScript, but your browser gives you this nasty error:

XMLHttpRequest cannot load http://otherSubdomain.server.com/lighttpd-status-url-you-have-configured. Origin http://requestingSubdomain.server.com is not allowed by Access-Control-Allow-Origin.

lighttpd allows you to add a custom header for all requests by adding this in a given context:

[perl]setenv.add-response-header = ( "Access-Control-Allow-Origin" => "*" )[/perl]

For this to work, you must enable the mod_setenv.

But if you don’t enable this module, before you enable your mod_status module, you will never see the custom headers come out of your lighttpd HTTP response header output.

So make sure you enable mod_setenv like this:

server.modules = (
# "mod_simple_vhost",
"mod_setenv", #before mod_status, very important!
# "mod_evhost",


The header output of your lighttpd status page should look like this now:

Date:Wed, 30 Nov 2011 01:27:04 GMT

Hope this helps you.