Posts Tagged ‘message’

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Fix WordPress after interrupted upgrade

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017


I've recenty tried Update my WordPress blog sites and being unattentive I've selected all the plugins possitble for Upgrade by checking the "Select All" check box on the Update dialogs and almost automatically int he hurry pressing Update button however out of a sudden I've realized I could screw up my websites brutally as some of the plugins to upgraded might be lacking 100% compitability with their prior versions.

I've made a messes out of my blog many times during upgrades because of choosing to upgrade the wrong not 100% compatible plugins and I know well how painful and hard to track it could be a misbehaving incompatible plugin or how ot could cause a severe sluggishness to blog which automatically reflects on how well the website search engine ranked in Google / Yahoo / Bing indexed etc.

Thus as an almost unconcsious reaction to prevent myself the future troubles I've tried to cancel the update request in Firefox browser and trying to reload the Update page with a hope that I might be quick enough for the Apache / WP / MySQLbackend Update Update queries request to be delaying for processing but I was too slow and bang! I ended up with the following unpleasent message in my browser:

Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance.

As you could guess that message caused me quite a lot of worries at hand especially since I've already break up my sites many times by doing quick unmindful reactions and the fact that there is Google Adsense ads appearing which does give me some Return on Investment cents every now and then …

It took me few minutes of research online to find what really happened and how to fix / resolve the WebSites normal operations.

So what causes the Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. appears ?

When WordPress does some of its integrated maintenance jobs a plugin enable / disable or any task that has to modify crucial configurations inside the database WordPress does disable access to all end clients to itself in order to protect its sensitive data to appear to browser requestors as showing some unexpected information to end client browser could be later used by crackers / hackers or a possibly open a security hole for an attacker.

The message is wordpress generated notice and it is pretty normal for the end user to see it during the WP site installation update depending on how many plugins are installed and loaded to the site and how long it will take for the backend Linux / Windows server to fetch the archived .zips of plugins and substitute with the new ones and update the files extracting them to wp-content/plugins and updating the respective required SQL database / tables it could be showing for end users from few secs to few minutes.

However under some circumstances on Browser request timeout to remote wordpress site due to a network connectivity issue or just a bad configuration of Apache for requests timeout (or a slow remote server Apache responce time due to server Hardware / Mem overload) or a stupid browser "Stop" / cancel request like in my case you end up with the Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance and you can can longer access the your Admin Panel.

The message is triggered by a WP craeted file .maintenance inside /var/www/blog-site/ e.g. WordPress PHP scripts does check for /var/www/blog-site/.maintenance
existence and if it is matched the WP scripts does generate the Briefly unavailble … message.

How to resolve the "Briefly unavailable for scheduled maintenance. Check back in a minute" WordPress error ?

As you might guess removing the maintenance "coming soon" like message in most of the cases comes to just deleting the .maintenance file, to do so:

1. Login to remote server via FTP or SFTP
2. Locate your WP website root folder that should be something like /var/www/blog-site/.maintenance and issue:
issue something like:

$ rm -rf /var/www/bog-site/.maintenance

Assuming that some plugin Update .zip extraction or SQL update query did not ended being half installed / executed that should solve the error.
To check whether all is back to normal just refresh your browser pointing to the "broken" site. If it appears well you can thank God for that 🙂
If not check the apache error logs and php error logs and see which of the php scripts is failing and then try to manually fetch and unzip the WP .zip package to wp-content/plugins folder and give it another try and if God bless so it will work as before 🙂

How to prevent your WP based business in future from such nasty errors using A Staging site (test) version of your blog ?

Just run a duplicate of your website under a separate folder on your hosting and do enable the same plugins as on the primary website and copy over the MySQL / PostgreSQL Database from your Live site to the Staging, then once it is enabled before doing any crucial WordPress version updates or Plugins Update always do try the Upgrade first on your Test Staging site. If it does execute fine there in most of the cases the result should be the same on the Production host and that could solve you effors and nerves of debugging a hard to get failure errors or faulty plugins without affecting what your End users see.

If you're not hosting the WordPress install under your own hosting like me you can always use some of the public available hostings like  BlueHost or WPEngine


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Fix Squirrelmail UTF-8 and windows-1251 Bulgarian encoding problem

Monday, September 8th, 2014

I'm using Squirrelmail (with OutLook skin theme) as a webmail client for my home running Qmail mail server and few other squirrelmail plugins, generally I'm quite happy with Squirrelmail as it perfectly serves me as a web IMAP client the only issue I have is when I'm replying to messages which are written Cyrillic UTF-8 or Cyrillic windows cp-1251 encoding (Bulgarian letters) – I guess Russians which are using squirrelmail with KOI-8R encoding also probably face some similar mail encoding issues. That's pretty annoying because the person message which I'm Replying to gets scrapped and old content becomes unreadable so old correspondence gets broken, because the encoding in which the message is replied is in non-utf-8 encoding ISO-8859, you see example of what I mean in below screenshot:


So here is how to fix that:
Solution is to convert the Bulgarian translation from windows-1251 to UTF-8 in squirremail.po:

find . -iname squirrelmail.po

cd themes/squirreloutlook-1.0.3/locale/pt_BR/LC_MESSAGES/
iconv -f CP1251 -t UTF-8 squirrelmail.po > squirrelmail.utf-8.po
sed 's/cp1251/UTF-8/' squirrelmail.utf-8.po > squirrelmail.po
rm squirrelmail.utf-8.po
msgfmt -o squirrelmail.po
cd ../../../../../

For Squirrelmail version 1.4

find . -iname i18n.php

vim ./themes/squirreloutlook-1.0.3/functions/i18n.php
vim functions/i18n.php

Paste below, the commented section about Bulgarian Language (//) (below configuration):


$languages[‘bg_BG’][‘NAME’] = 'Bulgarian';
$languages[‘bg_BG’][‘CHARSET’] = 'utf-8';
$languages[‘bg_BG’][‘LOCALE’] = 'bg_BG.UTF-8';
$languages[‘bg’][‘ALIAS’] = 'bg_BG';



For Squirrelmail version 1.5


Finally to make new Squirrelmail configuration affective restart Apache Webserver


/etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Fixing issues with broken (Russian) cyrillic KOI8-R encoding in reply mail in squirrelmail should be analogical.




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Happy Sysadmin day! – Last Friday of July – The day of the system administrator

Friday, July 25th, 2014


Every Last Friday of July is System Administrator's day. This relatively new technocrat tradition started as suggested by the system administrator Ted Kekatos in 2000.

SysAdmin Day or (SAD) 🙂 as it is also famous is a day to appreciate the achieviments of anyone seriously involved in IT industry. Now is time to say SAD day is not a day for programmers to celebrate as there is separate Programmer's day / Day of the Programmer feast or (DOP / DOPE ) 🙂 that is celebrated on the 256th (hexadecimal 100th, or the 28th) day of each year (September 13 during common years and on September 12 in leap years).

System Administrator Appreaciation Day – (SAAD) was historically inspired by Hewlett Packard magazine advertisement in which a system administrator is presented with flowers and fruit-baskets by grateful co-workers as thanks for installing new printers.


DOPE's started as proposed by Valentin Balt and Michael Cherviakov, employees of Parallel Technologies (a software company). In 2002, they tried to gather signatures for a petition to the government of Russia to recognize the day as the official programmers' day.

The modern usual way to celebrate Sysadm day is to get your system administrator a day. If you're at poisition to administrate a couple of hundreds of Windows hosts, you can send a prank message to your colleagues reminding them to buy you a beer or mass mail / set a Outlook Meeting reminder that system administrators – doesn't drink flowers and chocolate 🙂


A Day In The Life Of A SAN Administrator

Since 2000, a lot of UNIX / Linux sysadmins and  geeks tend to organize gatherings and Free Software celebration meetings on the SAD day.

SysAdminDay has inspired plenty of other pranky novels and music to glorify the remarkable event 🙂

Here are few to cheer you up.

System Administrator's Day song

Sysadmin day (Karaoke) song

Here are also some PoC for some weird ways to celebrate the day of the system administrator 🙂

System Administrator's Day in Russia Remix


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Stop contact form spam emails in Joomla, Disable “E-mail a copy of this message to your own address.” in Joomla

Friday, April 11th, 2014

If you happen to have installed Joomla based website and setup a contact form and everything worked fine until recently but suddenly your server starts mysteriously acting as a spam relay – even though email server is perfectly secured against spam.
You probably have some issue with a website email contact form hacked or some vulnerability which allowed hackers to upload spammer php script.

I have a website based on Joomla and just until recently everything was okay until I noticed there are tons of spam flying out from my Qmail mail server (which is configured to check spam with Spamassassin has Bayesian Filtering, Distributed Checksum Claring House, Python Razor and plenty of custom anti-spam rules.

It was just yesterday I ended into that situation, then after evaluating all the hosted website, I've realized Spam issues are caused by an Old Joomla Website Contact form!

There were two issues in the form

in the contact form you have the field with a tick:

1. Well Known Joomla Form Vulnerability
Currently all Joomla (including 1.5.22 and 1.6 versions) are vulnerable to a serious spam relay problem as described in the official Joomla site.

There is a quick dirty workaround fix to contact form vulnerability –  disable a Joomla Comonent in ../joomla/components/com_mailto/

To disable it I had to:

cd /var/www/joomla/components
mv com_mailto com_mailtoNOT_USED

Above solution was described under a post resolve joomla spam relay earlier by Anatoliy Dimitrov (after checking closely the website it happened he is a colleague at HP 🙂 )

2. Second issue causing high amount of spam sent over the email server
was: "E-mail a copy of this message to your own address." contact form tick, which was practically enabling any Spammer with a list to inect emails and spam via the form sending copies to any email out on the internet!

You would definitely want to disable  "E-mail a copy of this message to your own address."
I wonder why ever any Joomla developer came up with this "spam form"?? 


Here is the solution to this:

1. Login to Joomla Admin with admin account
2. Goto Components -> Contacts -> Contacts
3. Click on the relevant Contact form
4. Under Contact Parameters go to Email Parameters
5. Change field E-mail Copy from Show to Hide and click Apply button

And Hooray the E-mail a copy of this message to your own address will be gone from contact form! 🙂

I've seen already plenty of problematic hacked servers and scripts before with Joomla in my last job in International University College – where joomla was heavy used, but I never experienced Joomla Security issues myself 'till know, in future I'm planning to never ever use joomla. Though it is an easy CMS system to setup a website its quite complicated to learn the menus – I remember when creating the problematic website it took me days until I properly setup all the menus and find all joomla components … besides these there is no easy way to migrate between different versions major releases in Joomla like in Wordperss, I guess this Mail Security Issue absolutely convinced me to quit using that piece of crap in future.

In mean Time another very serious Apache security flaw leaked on the Internet just few days ago – The OpenSSL Hearbleed Bug. Thanksfully I'm not running SSL anywhere on my website but many systems are affecting making most of your SSL communication with your Internet banking, E-mail etc. in danger. If you're running Apache with SSL make sure you test it for this vulnerability. Here is description of Heartbleed SSL Critical Vulnerability.


"The Heartbleed Bug is a serious vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL cryptographic software library. This weakness allows stealing the information protected, under normal conditions, by the SSL/TLS encryption used to secure the Internet. SSL/TLS provides communication security and privacy over the Internet for applications such as web, email, instant messaging (IM) and some virtual private networks (VPNs).

The Heartbleed bug allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of the systems protected by the vulnerable versions of the OpenSSL software. This compromises the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from the services and users and to impersonate services and users."



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Outlook Express hotkeys (short keys) list – Use your MS Outlook efficiently

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I'm foced to use Microsoft Outlook Express daily for my daily work in Hewlett Packard. Thus I decided to learn the hotkeys to make my Mail use more efficient. Here are list of Outlook Express hotkeys, hopefully to be useful to others too:

Print the selected message –  Ctrl+P
Send and receive mail –  Ctrl+M
Delete a mail message - DEL or Ctrl+D
Open or post a new message –  Ctrl+N
Open the Address Book - Ctrl+SHIFT+B
Reply to the message author –  Ctrl+R
Reply to all –  Ctrl+Shitf+R, Ctrl+G (news only)
Refresh news message and headers –  F5
Forward a message - Ctrl+F
Find Text - F3
Find a message - CTRL+Shift+F
Close Message - ESC
Check Names - Ctrl+K, Alt+S
Go to your Inbox - Ctrl+I
Go to the next message in the list - Ctrl+> or Ctrl+SHIFT+>
Go to the previous message in the list - Ctrl+< or Ctrl+SHIFT+<
View properties of a selected message - ALT+ENTER
View the full source of the message - Ctrl+F3
Go to the next unread mail message - Ctrl+U
Go to the next unread news conversation - Ctrl+Shift+U
Go to a folder –  Ctrl+Y
Open a selected message – Ctrl+O or ENTER
Mark a message as read - Ctrl+ENTER or Ctrl+Q
Move between the Folders list (if on), message list, preview pane, and Contacts list (if on) - TAB
Mark all news messages as read - Ctrl+SHIFT+A
Check spelling – F7
Insert signature - Ctrl+SHIFT+S
Send (post) a message –  Ctrl+ENTER or ALT+S
Select all messages –  Ctrl+A

Enjoy 🙂


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Resolving “nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.” flood message in dmesg Linux kernel log

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

On many busy servers, you might encounter in /var/log/syslog or dmesg kernel log messages like

nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet

to appear repeatingly:

[1737157.057528] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.160357] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.260534] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.361837] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.462305] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.564270] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.666836] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.767348] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.868338] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.969828] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet.
[1737157.969928] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
[1737157.989828] nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet
[1737162.214084] __ratelimit: 83 callbacks suppressed

There are two type of servers, I've encountered this message on:

1. Xen OpenVZ / VPS (Virtual Private Servers)
2. ISPs – Internet Providers with heavy traffic NAT network routers

I. What is the meaning of nf_conntrack: table full dropping packet error message

In short, this message is received because the nf_conntrack kernel maximum number assigned value gets reached.
The common reason for that is a heavy traffic passing by the server or very often a DoS or DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Sometimes encountering the err is a result of a bad server planning (incorrect data about expected traffic load by a company/companeis) or simply a sys admin error…

– Checking the current maximum nf_conntrack value assigned on host:

linux:~# cat /proc/sys/net/ipv4/netfilter/ip_conntrack_max

– Alternative way to check the current kernel values for nf_conntrack is through:

linux:~# /sbin/sysctl -a|grep -i nf_conntrack_max
error: permission denied on key 'net.ipv4.route.flush'
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max = 65536
error: permission denied on key 'net.ipv6.route.flush'
net.nf_conntrack_max = 65536

– Check the current sysctl nf_conntrack active connections

To check present connection tracking opened on a system:


linux:~# /sbin/sysctl net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count = 12742

The shown connections are assigned dynamicly on each new succesful TCP / IP NAT-ted connection. Btw, on a systems that work normally without the dmesg log being flooded with the message, the output of lsmod is:

linux:~# /sbin/lsmod | egrep 'ip_tables|conntrack'
ip_tables 9899 1 iptable_filter
x_tables 14175 1 ip_tables

On servers which are encountering nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet error, you can see, when issuing lsmod, extra modules related to nf_conntrack are shown as loaded:

linux:~# /sbin/lsmod | egrep 'ip_tables|conntrack'
nf_conntrack_ipv4 10346 3 iptable_nat,nf_nat
nf_conntrack 60975 4 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,nf_nat,nf_conntrack_ipv4
nf_defrag_ipv4 1073 1 nf_conntrack_ipv4
ip_tables 9899 2 iptable_nat,iptable_filter
x_tables 14175 3 ipt_MASQUERADE,iptable_nat,ip_tables


II. Remove completely nf_conntrack support if it is not really necessery

It is a good practice to limit or try to omit completely use of any iptables NAT rules to prevent yourself from ending with flooding your kernel log with the messages and respectively stop your system from dropping connections.

Another option is to completely remove any modules related to nf_conntrack, iptables_nat and nf_nat.
To remove nf_conntrack support from the Linux kernel, if for instance the system is not used for Network Address Translation use:

/sbin/rmmod iptable_nat
/sbin/rmmod ipt_MASQUERADE
/sbin/rmmod rmmod nf_nat
/sbin/rmmod rmmod nf_conntrack_ipv4
/sbin/rmmod nf_conntrack
/sbin/rmmod nf_defrag_ipv4

Once the modules are removed, be sure to not use iptables -t nat .. rules. Even attempt to list, if there are any NAT related rules with iptables -t nat -L -n will force the kernel to load the nf_conntrack modules again.

Btw nf_conntrack: table full, dropping packet. message is observable across all GNU / Linux distributions, so this is not some kind of local distribution bug or Linux kernel (distro) customization.

III. Fixing the nf_conntrack … dropping packets error

– One temporary, fix if you need to keep your iptables NAT rules is:

linux:~# sysctl -w net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max=131072

I say temporary, because raising the nf_conntrack_max doesn't guarantee, things will get smoothly from now on.
However on many not so heavily traffic loaded servers just raising the net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max=131072 to a high enough value will be enough to resolve the hassle.

– Increasing the size of nf_conntrack hash-table

The Hash table hashsize value, which stores lists of conntrack-entries should be increased propertionally, whenever net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_max is raised.

linux:~# echo 32768 > /sys/module/nf_conntrack/parameters/hashsize
The rule to calculate the right value to set is:
hashsize = nf_conntrack_max / 4

– To permanently store the made changes ;a) put into /etc/sysctl.conf:

linux:~# echo 'net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_count = 131072' >> /etc/sysctl.conf
linux:~# /sbin/sysct -p

b) put in /etc/rc.local (before the exit 0 line):

echo 32768 > /sys/module/nf_conntrack/parameters/hashsize

Note: Be careful with this variable, according to my experience raising it to too high value (especially on XEN patched kernels) could freeze the system.
Also raising the value to a too high number can freeze a regular Linux server running on old hardware.

– For the diagnosis of nf_conntrack stuff there is ;

/proc/sys/net/netfilter kernel memory stored directory. There you can find some values dynamically stored which gives info concerning nf_conntrack operations in "real time":

linux:~# cd /proc/sys/net/netfilter
linux:/proc/sys/net/netfilter# ls -al nf_log/

total 0
dr-xr-xr-x 0 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 ./
dr-xr-xr-x 0 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 ../
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 0
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 1
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 10
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 11
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 12
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 2
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 3
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 4
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 5
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 6
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 7
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 8
-rw-r--r-- 1 root root 0 Mar 23 23:02 9


IV. Decreasing other nf_conntrack NAT time-out values to prevent server against DoS attacks

Generally, the default value for nf_conntrack_* time-outs are (unnecessery) large.
Therefore, for large flows of traffic even if you increase nf_conntrack_max, still shorty you can get a nf_conntrack overflow table resulting in dropping server connections. To make this not happen, check and decrease the other nf_conntrack timeout connection tracking values:

linux:~# sysctl -a | grep conntrack | grep timeout
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_generic_timeout = 600
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_recv = 60
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_fin_wait = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close_wait = 60
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_last_ack = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_time_wait = 120
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close = 10
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_max_retrans = 300
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_unacknowledged = 300
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_udp_timeout = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_udp_timeout_stream = 180
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_icmp_timeout = 30
net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_events_retry_timeout = 15
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 600
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_sent2 = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_syn_recv = 60
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_fin_wait = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close_wait = 60
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_last_ack = 30
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_time_wait = 120
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_close = 10
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_max_retrans = 300
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_udp_timeout = 30
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_udp_timeout_stream = 180
net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_icmp_timeout = 30

All the timeouts are in seconds. net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_generic_timeout as you see is quite high – 600 secs = (10 minutes).
This kind of value means any NAT-ted connection not responding can stay hanging for 10 minutes!

The value net.netfilter.nf_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 432000 is quite high too (5 days!)
If this values, are not lowered the server will be an easy target for anyone who would like to flood it with excessive connections, once this happens the server will quick reach even the raised up value for net.nf_conntrack_max and the initial connection dropping will re-occur again …

With all said, to prevent the server from malicious users, situated behind the NAT plaguing you with Denial of Service attacks:

Lower net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout to 60 – 120 seconds and net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established to stmh. like 54000

linux:~# sysctl -w net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 120
linux:~# sysctl -w net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 54000

This timeout should work fine on the router without creating interruptions for regular NAT users. After changing the values and monitoring for at least few days make the changes permanent by adding them to /etc/sysctl.conf

linux:~# echo 'net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_generic_timeout = 120' >> /etc/sysctl.conf
linux:~# echo 'net.ipv4.netfilter.ip_conntrack_tcp_timeout_established = 54000' >> /etc/sysctl.conf

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How to change users quota to NO QUOTA on Qmail with Vpopmail Mail server install / Qmail mail over quota issue

Monday, February 20th, 2012


Qmail Vpopmail quota exceeded Dolphin Logo

Already on a couple of mail boxes located on one of the qmail powered mail servers I adminiter, there is an over QUOTA reached problem encountered.

Filling up the mailbox quota is not nice as mails starts get bounced back to the sender with a message QUOTA FULL or EXCEEDED MESSAGE, if this is a crucial mail waiting for some important data etc. the data is never received.
Below is a copy of the mail quota waarning notification message:

Date: Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:40:36 +0000
X-Comment: Rename/Copy this file to ~vpopmail/domains/.quotawarn.msg, and make appropriate changes
X-Comment: See README.quotas for more information
From: Mail Delivery System <>
To: Valued Customer:;
Subject: Mail quota warning
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Your mailbox on the server is now more than 90% full. So that you can continue
to receive mail you need to remove some messages from your mailbox.

As you can read from the copy of the mail message above, the message content sent to the mail owner whose quota is getting full is red from /var/vpopmail/domains/.quotawarn.msg

The mail reaching quota problem is very likely to appear in cases like low mailbox quota set, but sometimes also occurs due to bugs in vpopmail quota handling.

Various interesting configuration settings for mail quotas etc. are in /home/vpopmail/etc/vlimits.default file, (assuming vpopmail is installed in /home).

In my specific case, the default vpopmail mailbox quota size was set to only 40 Megabytes.
40MB is too low if compared to todays mailbox size standards which in Gmail and Yahoo  mail services are already a couple of gigabytes.
Hence to get around the quota troubles, I  removed the quota for the mail.
To remove the quota size in vpopmail set for address ( used cmd:

qmail-server:~# vmoduser -q NOQUOTA

To save myself from future quota issues, I decided to apply a permanent fix to all those over quota size VPOPMAIL mailbox problems by removing completely quota restriction for all mailboxes in my vpopmail existent mail domain.

To do so, I wrote a quick simple bash loop one-liner script:

qmail-server:~# cd /home/vpopmail/domains
qmail-server:~/vpopmail/domains# cd
qmail-server:~/vpopmail/domains/ for i in *; do \
vmoduser -q NOQUOTA $(echo $i|grep -v vpasswd); \

This works only on vpopmail installations which are configured to store the mail messages directly on the filesystem. Therefore this approach will not work for people who during vpopmail install had configured it to store mailboxes in MySQL or in other kind of SQL db engine.

Anyways for Vpopmail installed to use SQL backend, the script can be changed to read directly a list with all the mailboxes obtained from databasae (SQL query) and then, loop over each of the mail addresses apply the vmoduser -q NOQUOTA

I've written also a few lines shell script (, it accepts one argument which is a vpopmail domain to which the admin would like to reset all applied mailbox quotas. The script is useful, if you have to often remove all quotas for vpopmail domainsor have to do quota wipe out simultaneously for multiple email domain names  located on different servers.

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How to solve “[crit] [client] (13)Permission denied: /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable, referer:” – Error Cause and Solution

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

While configuring JWchat domain, I've come across around an error:

pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable

The exact error I got in /var/log/apache2/error.log looked like so:

[crit] [client] (13)Permission denied: /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable, referer:

The error message suggested /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess – is missing or not readable, however after checking i've seen .htaccess existed as well as was readable:

debian:~# ls -al /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data 114 2012-01-05 07:44 /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess

At first glimpse it seems like the message is misleading and not true, however when I switched to www-data user (the user with which Apache runs on Debian), I've figured out the error meaning of unreadability is exactly correct:

www-data@debian:$ ls -al /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess
ls: cannot access /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess: Permission denied

This permission denied was quite strange, especially when considering the .htaccess is readable for all users:

debian:~# ls -al /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess
-rw-r--r-- 1 www-data www-data 114 2012-01-05 07:44 /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess

After a thorough look on what might go wrong, thanksfully I've figured it out. The all issues were caused by wrong permissions of /var/lib/ejabberd/.htaccess .You can see below the executable flag for all users (including apache's www-data) is missing :

debian:/var/lib# ls -ld /var/lib/ejabberd/drw-r--r-- 3 ejabberd ejabberd 4096 2012-01-05 07:45 /var/lib/ejabberd/

Solving the error, hence is as easy as adding +x flag to /var/lib/ejabberd :

debian:/var/lib# chmod +x /var/lib/ejabberd

Another way to fix the error is to chmod to 755 to the directory which holds .htaccess:

From now onwards pcfg_openfile: unable to check htaccess file, ensure it is readable err is no more 😉

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Don’t msg and Drive! ;)

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Don't message and drive picture

Do you message when you drive? Do you know who are you messaging to ? 😉 Arghhh its the GRIM Reaper !!! 🙂

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How to fix “vbAccelerator SGrid II Control Runtime Error” popup window in Windows XP

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Windows XPI’m in a friend and he asked me to take a look at his Win PC.
When the Windows boots up a weird and annoying error message appears that reads:

vBAccelerator SGrid II Control Runtime Error

I figured out the SGrid II Control Runtime Error was a cause of a mis-working old Malware Bytes portable installation.

I’ve found online the following tool which fixes the stupid VBAccelerator SGrid II error

By simply downloading and starting the mbam-clean.exe binary after a computer restart the error gets fixed.

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