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Author Topic: Apache default error documents  (Read 4426 times)

Offline MrPhil

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Apache default error documents
« on: May 08, 2010, 04:13:11 PM »
There's something about Apache server design and configuration that's always bugged me. If an error occurs, say, 500 (Internal Server), Apache will first look for any error document (error page) that you have created, whether specified with an ErrorDocument command in .htaccess, or the default /500.shtml. OK, good. If it can't find /500.shtml, it will use a default handler of some sort. OK, although the 500 default handler (for example) doesn't give the error number. My beef is that it also reports

Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an error handler...

That's stupid. It's very confusing to most site owners. I don't know how many "I have a 404 error..." reports I've seen on this forum and on various application forums, when it's really some other error and it also includes this spurious 404 error because the owner hadn't set up their own /500.shtml etc. error documents.

If you specify an ErrorDocument for a given error, and it's not found, a 404 is an appropriate error report. After all, you promised that you had supplied an error document and you broke your promise! However, if the server looked for a (default name) user-supplied handler, and had to fall back to a built-in handler, it's silly to report that as a 404. After all, there's always a built-in fallback available!

1) Is this configurable, or is it baked into Apache (i.e., you can't turn off this unnecessary 404 report)? If it's configurable, why don't more server admins turn it off?

2) Does Apache 2.x behave the same way? If Apache 2.x has fixed it, as Apache 1.3 is "end of life" it's probably not worth pursuing.

3) If Apache 2.x hasn't been fixed, is there a way for the general public to report this? Anyone out there registered as a developer or tester for Apache, who can report such problems?
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