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IBM IHS Web Server - Start IBM IHS Admin Server using the adminctl command

Updated:   |  IBM IHS Web Server articles

An IBM IHS Admin Server is used to facilitate communication between WebSphere and an IHS web server. Typically, the Admin Server is used to start or stop an IHS Web Server, and to propagate the Web Server Plugin configuration file (plugin-cfg.xml) from the WebSphere deployment manager to the IHS web server.


You will first need to configure the admin.conf file.

The adminctl command can be used to start, stop, and restart an IBM IHS admin server.

<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k restart
<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k start
<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k stop
<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k graceful
<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k graceful-stop


The above command will use the <web_server_root>/conf/admin.conf file. The -f option can be used to specify some other conf file, like this.

<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k start -f conf/foo.conf


By default, the admin server must be started or restarted as root. Attempting to start the admin server as a non-root user will display something like this.

httpd (pid 12345?) not running


And log the following error in the admin server admin_error.log.

[:error] [pid 110535:tid 139637754234624] ac_util: Administration Server must be started from root id


The ps command can be used to determine if the admin server is running. If the admin server is running, the ps command should return processes associated with the admin server. If the ps command fails to return any output, check the admin server admin_error.log.


Notice the ps command returns "httpd" processes. adminctl is a wrapper script that invokes the httpd command to start, stop, or restart the admin server, thus you could use the httpd command instead.

ps -ef | grep httpd
. . .
root      3964     1  0 22:02 ?        00:00:00 /opt/IBM/IHS/bin/httpd -d /opt/IBM/IHS -f conf/admin.conf -k start
root      3965  3964  0 22:02 ?        00:00:00 /opt/IBM/IHS/bin/httpd -d /opt/IBM/IHS -f conf/admin.conf -k start  3966  3964  0 22:02 ?        00:00:00 /opt/IBM/IHS/bin/httpd -d /opt/IBM/IHS -f conf/admin.conf -k start


When the ps command displays processes associated with the admin server, you should be able to use the admin server. There is no web interface for the admin server. If you navigate to hostname:8008/wasadmin, there will be a prompt for your username and password.


When you provide your username and password, the following will be displayed. This is normal, and not suggestive of a problem.


Likewise, the admin_access_log should have a 200 OK event, like this.

x.x.x.x - john.doe [14/Aug/201906:56:05 -0500] "GET /wasadmin HTTP/1.1" 200 91


If you want to be able to start or stop an IHS web server from a WebSphere deployment manager, you will need to provide the admin server port and credentials when adding the web server to the dmgr.


Auto start when system is rebooted

By default, the admin server will not be started when the operating system is rebooted. One option is to created a cron job, like this.

@reboot <web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k start


Or, on a systemd system, you could create an IBM IHS admin server service, and then use the systemctl command to start the admin server on boot.


Multiple admin servers

If you have two or more admin servers on the same machine, you will have a unique conf file for each admin server, like this.



The -f option can be used to target a specific web server. In this example, only the admin server using admin1..conf will be restarted.

<web_server_root>/bin/adminctl -k restart -f <web_server_root>/conf/admin1.conf


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