How to Restart Apache Ubuntu [5 Best Methods]

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Last updated: June 13, 2024

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To learn to restart Apache Ubuntu, you can follow these steps:

  1. Launch your Terminal application.
  2. Run sudo systemctl status apache2 to view the current status.
  3. Execute sudo systemctl stop apache2 to stop the service.
  4. Use sudo systemctl start apache2 to start the service again.

Read the guide below to learn different methods to Ubuntu restart Apache and the best practices to restart Apache.

Restarting Apache is something every web admin needs to do at times, whether you’re applying updates or fixing issues. If you’re unsure why and how to restart Apache in Ubuntu smoothly, this guide is for you. I’ll show you step-by-step methods to restart Apache in Ubuntu using systemctl, service, and apachectl commands.

You’ll also learn best practices to minimize downtime and keep your server running efficiently. Additionally, I’ll touch on how to empty log files, list services, and manage server processes to help you maintain a smooth and efficient web environment.

Why You Need to Restart Apache

Restarting Apache is an important task that helps keep your web server running smoothly. Here are some reasons why you might need to restart Apache:

  • Apply Configuration Changes: When you make changes to Apache’s configuration files, such as httpd.conf or apache2.conf, the server needs to restart to apply these changes. This ensures that the new settings take effect and your website runs as expected.
  • Install or Update Modules: If you install or update Apache modules (like PHP or mod_rewrite), a restart is necessary. This allows Apache to load the new or updated modules and use their features.
  • Resolve Memory Leaks: Over time, Apache can develop memory leaks, which can slow down your server or cause it to crash. Restarting Apache can free up memory and improve performance.
  • Fix Server Issues: If your website is experiencing errors, slowdowns, or crashes, restarting Apache can help. This can reset the server and resolve temporary issues that might be affecting performance.
  • Log Rotation: Apache logs various activities, like access and error logs. These files can become large and difficult to manage. Restarting Apache can help rotate logs, keeping them manageable and ensuring important events are recorded properly.

How to Restart Apache Ubuntu

To restart Apache in Ubuntu, open your Terminal application and check the current status with sudo systemctl status apache2. Next, stop the Apache service by running sudo systemctl stop apache2. Finally, start the Apache service again with sudo systemctl start apache2. This sequence ensures a smooth restart, applying any necessary updates or changes to your Apache web server.

That was the quick answer. Here is the detailed step-by-step guide for five different methods to Apache restart Ubuntu:

1. systemctl command

The systemctl command is a widely-used tool in Ubuntu for managing system services, including Apache.  It provides a seamless and efficient way to control and restart Apache, ensuring smooth operation and optimal web server performance. Let’s go through the steps to restart Apache using this method:

  1. Launch the Terminal application on your Ubuntu system.
opening terminal 13
  1. Viewing the current status of the Apache service by running the following command:
systemctl status apache2
  1. This command will display the current status of Apache.
viewing apache2 service status
  1. Type the following command to stop the Apache service:
sudo systemctl stop apache2
  1. This command will stop the Apache service, temporarily suspending its operation.
stopping apache service
  1. Now, start the Apache service by executing the command:
sudo systemctl start apache2

Remember to replace apache2 with the appropriate service name if you are using a different version or distribution of Apache.

  1. This command will initiate the Apache service, allowing it to resume serving web requests.
restarting apache

2. service command

The service command is commonly used to manage system services in Ubuntu, and it serves as a reliable method for restarting Apache. With the service command, you can easily start, stop, and restart Apache, making it a convenient tool for maintaining the functionality of your web server. Let’s explore how to restart Apache using this approach:

  1. Launch your command window and type the following command to stop the Apache service:
sudo service apache2 stop
  1. This command will temporarily halt the Apache service.
stopping apache service using service command
  1. Start Apache again by executing the command:
sudo service apache2 start
  1. After the execution of this command, the Apache service will restart.
restarting apache service using service command

3. init.d script

The init.d script offers an alternative approach to restarting Apache in Ubuntu. By utilizing this script, you can effectively restart Apache and ensure the continuous operation of your web server. It provides a reliable method for managing Apache and maintaining a stable hosting environment. Follow these steps:

  1. Access your Terminal window and run the following command to restart Apache:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
  1. You may be prompted to enter your password for authentication. Apache will be restarted, allowing it to continue serving web requests.
restarting apache service using init.d script

4. Using Apachectl Command

Apachectl is a command-line utility specifically designed to control the Apache HTTP Server. It offers a convenient way to manage various Apache functions, such as starting, stopping, and reloading the server. Apachectl is especially useful for administrators who need granular control over Apache processes and configurations.

  1. Launch your terminal application.
sudo apachectl status

Look for the Apache Server Status page, which provides detailed information about the server’s current status.

checking apache server status using apachectl
  1. Run the restart command:
sudo apachectl restart

Successful execution should not produce errors. If errors occur, they will be displayed in the terminal.

restarting apache service using apachectl
  1. After restarting, it’s crucial to verify that Apache is running correctly.
sudo apachectl status

Ensure that the server status indicates that Apache is running without issues.

checking apache server status using apachectl 1

5. Using HUP Signal

The HUP (Hang Up) signal is a Unix signal used to instruct a process to reload its configuration without fully stopping and starting. In the context of Apache, sending a HUP signal prompts the server to re-read its configuration files and apply any changes without interrupting ongoing connections.

  1. Access your terminal application.
  2. Find Apache PID by running the command:
pidof apache2

Record the PID(s) displayed by the command.

viewing pid of apache
  1. Once you have the PID, you can send the HUP signal to reload the Apache configuration.
sudo kill -HUP [PID]

Replace [PID] with the actual process ID of Apache.

reloading apache configuration using hup
  1. After sending the HUP signal, verify that Apache has reloaded its configuration successfully.
sudo systemctl status apache2

Ensure the output indicates that Apache is running and has reloaded the configuration.

checking apache2 service status using systemctl

How to Reload Apache Using Systemctl

Reloading the Apache server allows you to apply configuration changes without fully stopping and starting the server, minimizing downtime. This guide will walk you through each step, ensuring a smooth and efficient process.

  1. Access your terminal application. Enter the following command to check the status of Apache:
sudo systemctl status apache2

If Apache is running, you can proceed to the next step. If it is not running, you may need to start the service first.

checking apache2 service status using systemctl 1
  1. In the terminal, type the following command to reload Apache:
sudo systemctl reload apache2

This command should complete without any output if successful.

reloading apache2 service using systemctl 1
  1. After reloading Apache, it’s essential to confirm that the server is still running correctly and that the reload was successful.
  2. Check the status of Apache once more:
sudo systemctl status apache2

Ensure the output shows that Apache is active and running.

checking apache2 service status using systemctl 2

5 Best Practices for Restarting Apache Server

By adhering to best practices, you can restart your Apache server confidently, minimizing downtime and ensuring a smooth user experience. Following these best practices helps you mitigate potential risks, maintain a stable web hosting environment, and provide uninterrupted service to your website visitors. Here are five best practices:

  • 📝 Plan for Maintenance Windows: Schedule restarts during low-traffic periods to minimize disruptions. Analyze traffic patterns to find low-activity times. Inform users of planned downtime via notifications on your website or social media.
  • 🔍 Check Error Logs: Review error logs for critical issues and recurring errors before restarting Apache. Identify potential misconfigurations or conflicts to address underlying problems for smoother operation.
  • 👥 Inform Stakeholders: Notify developers and administrators about the upcoming restart. Ensure everyone is prepared by saving work, closing open connections, and putting up maintenance pages to avoid confusion.
  • 🔧 Test Configuration Changes: Test any configuration changes in a non-production environment or staging server. Verify changes work as intended and do not introduce errors to ensure a smoother transition during the actual restart.
  • 👷‍♂️ Perform a Dry Run: Simulate the restart process in a staging environment. Identify and fix any issues before the actual restart to minimize the risk of unexpected errors or downtime.

Ubuntu Apache Restart: Summing Up

In this article, I’ve walked you through different methods to restart Apache in Ubuntu, such as using systemctl, service command, init.d script, apachectl command, and the HUP signal. By following best practices like planning maintenance windows, checking error logs, informing stakeholders, testing configuration changes, and performing dry runs, you can ensure smooth restarts with minimal downtime.

If you found this guide helpful, I recommend checking out more topics to enhance your skills:

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I check if Apache is running or not?

To determine the status of the Apache service, you can use either the command systemctl status apache2 or service apache2 status. Running either of these commands in the Terminal will provide you with detailed information about the current state of the Apache service. The output will indicate whether Apache is running or not, along with additional details such as the process ID (PID), memory usage, and any recent error messages. By checking the status of Apache, you can quickly verify if the service is up and running as expected.

Can I restart Apache without affecting other services?

Certainly! Restarting Apache should not impact other services as long as they are properly configured and independent of Apache. Apache operates as a standalone web server, and restarting it only affects the Apache service and any websites or applications hosted on it. Other services running on the same server, such as databases, email servers, or DNS servers, should continue to function normally during the Apache restart. It is important to ensure that these services are set up correctly and do not rely on Apache for their operation. Proper configuration and isolation of services will help prevent any unintended impact during the Apache restart process.

How can I automate Apache restarts in Ubuntu?

To automate Apache restarts in Ubuntu, you can utilize tools like cron jobs or systemd timers. Cron jobs are time-based job schedulers, while systemd timers are the modern equivalent in Ubuntu. By configuring a cron job or systemd timer, you can schedule regular restarts for Apache to ensure ongoing maintenance and optimal performance. Set the desired schedule, such as daily, weekly, or monthly, and specify the command to restart Apache. This way, the system will automatically execute the restart command at specified intervals, allowing seamless and periodic restarts. Automating Apache restarts helps ensure that your server remains up to date and can help prevent any potential issues caused by long-running server instances.



Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.



Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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