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The Apache HTTP Server Reference Manual
by Apache Software Foundation
Paperback (6"x9"), 862 pages
ISBN 9781906966034
RRP £19.95 ($29.95)

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4.7  File Descriptor Limits

When using a large number of Virtual Hosts, Apache may run out of available file descriptors (sometimes called file handles) if each Virtual Host specifies different log files. The total number of file descriptors used by Apache is one for each distinct error log file, one for every other log file directive, plus 10-20 for internal use. Unix operating systems limit the number of file descriptors that may be used by a process; the limit is typically 64, and may usually be increased up to a large hard-limit.

Although Apache attempts to increase the limit as required, this may not work if:

  1. Your system does not provide the setrlimit() system call.
  2. The setrlimit(RLIMIT_NOFILE) call does not function on your system (such as Solaris 2.3)
  3. The number of file descriptors required exceeds the hard limit.
  4. Your system imposes other limits on file descriptors, such as a limit on stdio streams only using file descriptors below 256. (Solaris 2)

In the event of problems you can:

4.7.1  Splitting up your log files

If you want to log multiple virtual hosts to the same log file, you may want to split up the log files afterwards in order to run statistical analysis of the various virtual hosts. This can be accomplished in the following manner.

First, you will need to add the virtual host information to the log entries. This can be done using the LogFormat directive, and the %v variable. Add this to the beginning of your log format string:

LogFormat "%v %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %b" vhost
CustomLog logs/multiple_vhost_log vhost

This will create a log file in the common log format, but with the canonical virtual host (whatever appears in the ServerName directive) prepended to each line. (See Custom Log Formats for more about customizing your log files.)

When you wish to split your log file into its component parts (one file per virtual host) you can use the program split-logfile (p. 89) to accomplish this. You’ll find this program in the support directory of the Apache distribution.

Run this program with the command:

split-logfile < /logs/multiple_vhost_log

This program, when run with the name of your vhost log file, will generate one file for each virtual host that appears in your log file. Each file will be called hostname.log.

ISBN 9781906966034The Apache HTTP Server Reference ManualSee the print edition