How to troubleshoot Apache “No route to host” error?

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The “No route to host” error indicates that the server is unable to establish a network connection to the specified host. When dealing with Apache, this problem often stems from issues related to network configurations, firewalls, or misconfigurations within Apache itself.

In this article, we will explore a step-by-step approach to troubleshooting and resolving the “No route to host” error in the context of an Apache web server.

Step 1: Verify Network Connectivity

The first step in troubleshooting any network-related issue is to ensure that the servers involved can communicate with each other. Check the network connectivity to the apache using the following methods;

Using Telenet

Telnet is a network protocol and a command-line tool that allows for bidirectional text communication over a network. It is often used to establish a connection to a remote server or device for troubleshooting, testing, or interactive communication. However, it is considered insecure for most purposes, as the data, including usernames and passwords, is transmitted in plaintext.

To check if Telnet is installed on Ubuntu, run the following command;

dpkg -l | grep telnet

if you’re running CentOs/ RHEL, then run the following command to check if Telnet is installed

rpm -q telnet

Assuming it’s not installed, you can use the following command on Ubuntu:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install telnet

You can now use Telnet to test the connection to an Apache server by checking if the server is listening on the specified port.

Type the following command, replacing your-server-ip with the actual IP address of your Apache server and port-number with the port where Apache is running (default is usually 80 for HTTP):

telnet your-server-ip 80

Replace your-apache-server-ip with the actual IP address of your Apache server. If your Apache server is listening on a custom port other than 80, then you can define it based on your configuration.

Let’s say, your server is using as its IP address and listening on port 80, then the Telnet command would be as seen below:

telnet 80

If the connection is successful, then you will be able to see the following printout on your terminal:

$ telnet 80
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

You can also send the HTTP GET request to apache using Telnet. For example, if you want to send a raw HTTP GET request with specific headers, including the “Host” header, you can use the telnet command in the terminal. Here’s an example;

echo -e "GET / HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: your-apache-server-ip\r\n\r\n" | telnet your-apache-server-ip 80

Replace your-apache-server-ip with the actual IP address of your Apache server. This command sends a raw HTTP GET request to the specified IP address on port 80.

Explanation of the components:

  • echo -e: This command is used to print the specified text and the -e option enables interpretation of backslash escapes.
  • "GET / HTTP/1.1\r\nHost: your-apache-server-ip\r\n\r\n": This is the raw HTTP GET request with the specified headers. \r\n represents a newline character.
  • | telnet your-apache-server-ip 80: This part pipes the output of the echo command to telnet, which connects to the specified IP address on port 80.

Using the curl tool

You need to first install the curl tool on Ubuntu using the following command:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install curl

To send an HTTP GET request to an Apache web server using the Linux terminal, you can use the curl command, which is a powerful tool for making HTTP requests. Here’s an example:


Replace with the actual URL of the resource you want to access on your Apache server.

If the connection is successful, you’ll see the HTML content of the default page served by Apache.

Step 2: Check Firewall Settings

Firewall configurations can often block Apache from establishing a connection to the target host. Ensure that the necessary ports are open on both the Apache server and the target host. Commonly used ports for web traffic are 80 (HTTP) and 443 (HTTPS).

sudo ufw allow 80
sudo ufw allow 443

Replace ufw with the appropriate firewall management command for your system. Additionally, check for any specific firewall rules that might be blocking communication between the servers.

Step 3: Apache Configuration Checks

Verify that your Apache server is configured correctly. Check the Apache configuration files, especially the virtual host configurations. Pay attention to the ServerName, Listen, and VirtualHost directives.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html

Make sure the ServerName matches the intended hostname, and the DocumentRoot points to the correct directory. Incorrect configurations can lead to Apache being unable to establish a connection to the specified host.

Run the syntax error check for Apache

You can check the apache configuration files for syntax errors using the following command:

apachectl configtest

If there are no syntax errors, you will see the following printout on your terminal:

Syntax OK

If there are errors, you’ll get a message pointing to the specific problem.

Step 4: DNS Configuration

Ensure that the DNS resolution for the target host is correct. If Apache is configured to communicate with a host using a domain name, verify that the domain name is resolving to the correct IP address.

nslookup target_host

If the DNS resolution is incorrect, update the DNS records to point to the correct IP address.

Step 5: SELinux or AppArmor

If your server is running Security-Enhanced Linux (SELinux) or AppArmor, these security modules might be blocking Apache’s network communication. Check the audit logs for SELinux-related denials.

grep AVC /var/log/audit/audit.log

Adjust SELinux or AppArmor policies accordingly to allow Apache to establish the necessary network connections.

Step 6: Server Logs

Examine Apache’s error logs for any clues about the “No route to host” error. The error logs are typically located in the /var/log/apache2/error.log or /var/log/httpd/error_log file.

tail -f /var/log/apache2/error.log

Look for entries related to the failed connections and address any issues identified.

Step 7: Network Route Configuration

Check the routing table on both the Apache server and the target host. Verify that there is a valid route to reach each other.

route -n

If the routing tables are incorrect, update them to ensure proper network routing.

Step 8: Verify Apache Service Status

Ensure that the Apache service is running and listening on the specified ports. Use the following commands to check the status and listening ports of the Apache service.

systemctl status apache2
netstat -tulpn | grep apache2

If Apache is not running, start the service and check for any error messages. If it is running, ensure that it is listening on the expected ports.


Troubleshooting the “No route to host” error in Apache requires a systematic approach, covering various aspects such as network connectivity, firewall settings, Apache configuration, DNS resolution, security modules, server logs, and routing tables. By following these steps, you can identify and resolve the underlying issues that lead to this error, ensuring the smooth operation of your Apache web server. Remember to document any changes made during the troubleshooting process and test the connectivity thoroughly to confirm that the problem has been resolved.

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