httpd: bad user name nobody (apache13-modssl port)

John P. Campbell jpc at
Tue Nov 8 14:39:31 PST 2005

Lowell Gilbert wrote:
> "John Campbell" <jpc at> writes:
>>I recently upgrade apache13-modssl to version 1.3.34 and now when I
>>attempt to start the server, I get this message:
>>httpd: bad user name nobody
>>The user nobody exists and the server has been running fine for years.
>> It's not chrooted.  This happens regardless of what I put in httpd.conf.
>>I googled and found lots of people with similar issues, but didn't
>>find a solution. 
>>Any ideas?
> Are you *sure* the user "nobody" exists?

Yes, of course. "id nobody" ran just fine.  But the thing is, that it 
had nothing to do with my httpd.conf.  There was NO reference to nobody 
in there.

> Try running pwd_mkdb(8) and then check /etc/passwd (in case something
> is corrupted in the database).

What I had to do was remove this line in the config:

        --enable-module=auth_db \

After that, it seems to work.  I'm not sure what the side effects of 
that will be.  I haven't had time to check that closer.  httpd now 
starts fine, running as the user specified in the conf file (www).

> Not that I recommend running apache as "nobody", anyway.
> It's definitely safer in the long run to run it as a user that is used
> for nothing else.

Like I mentioned, the conf file is not using nobody, it uses www.


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