Troubleshooting FileMaker Server 14 Web Services

Need help troubleshooting FileMaker 14 Server Web Services?

Recently, SuperContainer, for reasons unknown, stopped working on my cloud server.  I Immediately tried re-installing the latest version of SuperContainer, but that did not fix the problem.   Instead, things went from bad to worse: FileMaker 14 Server web services stopped working entirely, affecting multiple clients on the server.

I went through quite a bit of troubleshooting and research trying to fix the problem, learned quite a bit, and decided to share my findings. Perhaps it will save you substantial time in the future.

There is a lot of well meaning advice out there, some good, some bad, some time wasting:

  • Re-install FM Server
  • Clean re-install FM Server
  • Restart the server after everything you do (OK, not quite that often, but is seemed that way)
  • Lots of terminal window commands
  • Edit the deployment

And untold numbers of combinations of the above.

My goal:  Get SuperContainer and FileMaker Web Services working again.

But SuperContainer posed it’s own challenge:  the Mac Installer would not run on the computer.  The most common advice I found:  Make sure Apple Security is set to allow unpublished programs to run.  That was not a problem: I had changed the security setting already. But no luck…the program would not run..

And since this was after hours and I needed the server working before the next day, reaching out to 360Works was not an option. I did find a way to manually install SuperContainer at 360Works support page, but SuperContainer still did not work.

After working the problem for a while, the issue seem to be that the Mac Apache instance was overriding FileMaker’s Apache instance.  And once that happened, getting FileMakers’ instance running again was not easy. I needed both running for everything to work.

The process I used to get the right sequence was simple: I kept careful notes of each step I took and it’s outcome, and a pattern started to develop.

And that pattern led me to this sequence of actions that finally solved the problem, without having to reinstall FileMaker Server and without having to restart the server.  I hope it helps out others someday.  To use these steps, log into Terminal as admin on your Mac server, and follow these steps (copy and past the commands in italics into Terminal):

I ran this command in Terminal to restart the Web Server (ignore admin$ – that is the terminal window prompt on my system):

admin$ fmsadmin restart HTTPserver
fmsadmin: really restart HTTPserver? (y, n) y

The Web Server and SuperContainer were still down – my web page showed nothing at the link, no webpage, just a broken link.

Next I tried a graceful start of the FileMaker webserver:

admin$ /usr/sbin/httpd -k graceful -D FILEMAKER -f /Library/FileMaker Server/HTTPServer/conf/httpd.conf
httpd not running, trying to start
exit code 1

That indicated that the base web services were not running, so I tried this:

admin$ sudo apachectl start

Which starts basic Apache web services.  The results were better.  Instead of nothing found, a web server was working, but the particular webpage associated with FileMaker was not present: = Error Not Found

I tried a graceful restart again:

/usr/sbin/httpd -k graceful -D FILEMAKER -f /Library/FileMaker Server/HTTPServer/conf/httpd.conf
~ admin$

I did not receive an error code this time, but the FileMaker Web Server was still not working.

Finally, I ran this step again:

fmsadmin: really restart HTTPserver? (y, n)  


Both the FileMaker Web service (with the proper webpage) SuperContainer were running properly.

No restart, no redeployment of FileMaker server (which would not work if web services aren’t properly configured).  And now I know a fast, simple sequence to use if problems strike again.



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