Apache not starting on MAMP

One of those nights where I wanted to spend an hour working on a site – you know, really quick-like – and I ended up spending 3 (count’em – three…) hours f@cking with my MAMP server.

I’ve got several folders of sites on my local computer, and I switched from one I had been working on recently to another new folder of a site I had just downloaded.  And in my MAMP dashboard, MySQL was working fine, but Apache would not start.

Three hours later and lots of testing, let’s just skip to the answer – the enclosing folder (not the actual html docs folder I was pointing to in the MAMP prefs, but the enclosing folder) had an accented character in the folder name.  Yes, like the accent over the “e” in frusté, for example…  (Or perhaps more to the point, emmerdé)

This may be obvious to the Linux heads, but to a Mac user like myself, it took hours of narrowing down the problem. Add to that the fact that MAMP/Apache would not reset even after you changed the folder it looked at until you actually restarted MAMP (i.e. using the MAMP button to cycle the servers did not help).

Sigh.  Now I’m where I wanted to be… oh, 3 hours ago?


22 Responses to “Apache not starting on MAMP”

  1. 1 nvidia February 14, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Thank you … You SAVED ME HOURS. My document directory had been deleted so MAMP was refusing to start the Apache server. I just had to point MAMP to the new directory.

  2. 2 Stuart Smith April 16, 2009 at 1:17 am

    Hi Thanks for sharing that, saved a few big headaches! Very useful. Stu

  3. 3 Jason W July 16, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Apache wasn’t starting for me. I had to check My Preferences -> Sharing. I had a bunch check for some reason. I unchecked all but file sharing and now it’s working for me.

  4. 4 Me August 27, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Yeah, system prefs if web sharing is on seems to prevent apache in mamp. i guess this is due to two apache instances running on same… ports? i dunno. anyway turning off web sharing got it working.

    thanks for these notes peeps.

  5. 8 Wojtek November 11, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Great one, your hours saved us lots of hours:)

  6. 9 Rick A Pickett February 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

    One of my dev site’s directory exisits on a disk image since it needs Case Sensitive formatting for proper SVN to work with the server.

    Sometimes, if a forced restart or weird shutdown occurs, an alias for the exteranl hard drive is left lingering. Upon fresh restart, the auto loading disk image get’s a _1 added to its Mount Point.

    To fix it, these steps do the trick:

    1. Eject Offending Mounted Drive
    2. Duplicate in case of accidental deletion
    3. Turn on Hidden Files :http://www.brooksandrus.com/blog/2007/03/23/mac-os-x-show-hide-hidden-files-in-finder/

    (Enter into a new Terminal window:)
    yourmachine:~ $ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
    yourmachine:~ $ killall Finder

    5. Navigate to /Volumes under your Main HD (http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-346597.html)
    6. Delete aliases to volume(s) in question
    7. Hide hidden files
    (in same Terminal window:)
    yourmachine:~ $ defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles False
    yourmachine:~ $ killall Finder

    8. Remount Offending disk images and their mount point should no be incremented

  7. 10 Glen March 25, 2010 at 2:35 am

    Heya – Yeah, the solution for me was to open system preferences and in ‘sharing’ turn off ‘web sharing’


  8. 11 Steven March 30, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Really thanks for your post, it fixes my problem.
    After changing the name of my htdocs, the apache won’t start properly.

    Really thanks!!!

  9. 12 Dude In San Francisco April 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Thank you very much for this post! You just saved me a ton of time.

  10. 13 calgocubs21 May 2, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    I didn’t get this post my Apache does not work and i don’t know what to do and to me this post made no sense.

  11. 15 Jasper July 17, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    Thanx a lot!! There’s no faster solving than to have some people around who already know the answer. I had already forgotten about my Web Share

  12. 16 Paul November 8, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Thanks man, you saved me a lot of time. 🙂

  13. 17 Michaels Donnelly July 5, 2011 at 9:59 am

    If Apache’s still not starting, you’ll be wondering where the hell the error log is, right? The docs say it’s at /Applications/MAMP/logs/apache_error_log

    Well, it’s only there if the server actually manages to start. Nice. The real log is your mac’s Console utility. Just scroll to the bottom of the pane that comes up to see the latest error. Worked for me, giving me the line number of an error in my httpd.conf file.

    • 18 Tim March 1, 2013 at 7:46 pm

      Cheers Michaels – your comment was a savior! I had tried to use the ~ shortcut in httpd.conf to reference my home directory instead of hardcoding my username. That’s a no-no, but I couldn’t find the issue until you mentioned checking Console. Thanks!

  14. 19 juan August 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    I had the same issue , it seems that the mamp needs to reset the ports,
    to resolve go into the mamp preferences…/ports/ and reset MAMP ports, after close MAMP and open it again and it must work, if you require to use the default ports apache 80 and mysql 3306 after restarting the MAMP go to preferences /ports but in this time click to the button “Set to default Apache and Mysql ports and click ok, close again MAMP and restart it, it must reset the ports…

  15. 20 H September 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Hey all,

    I followed all the techniques mentioned above and my apache still does not start up. I am using MAMP on a Mac OS (Lion). Kindly Help!

  16. 22 Nadia Stefanaru April 3, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Thank you for the article! In my case it mistyping in ‘Disc Location’ path. Thank again!

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