This article was written in 2011 and remains one of our most popular posts. If you’re keen to learn more about using Apache, you may find this more recent article on launching a VM with Apache CloudStack of great interest.
If only clients realized the hassles developers encounter with their OS. Clients will call you the second their email fails (they forgot to switch on their router) or their website breaks (they’re using IE5.0). Who can you call when Apache won’t start because port 80 is blocked?
Apologies for not writing a typical web development post but this is exactly the problem I encountered and it seems many others have too. I run Apache and IIS on Windows and prefer a server switching method so only one application listens on port 80 at any time. It works well and I’ve run similar set-ups on Windows 7, Vista, XP, and NT for many years.
Today, however, Apache wouldn’t start. The following error appeared in the Application Event Viewer (Administrative Tools):
The Apache service named reported the following error: >>> (OS 10013) An attempt was made to access a socket in a way forbidden by its access permissions. :make_sock: could not bind to address 0.0.0.0:80.
Another application was hogging port 80.
The Obvious Candidates
There are a number of well-known Windows programs which use port 80:
The most likely culprit is Microsoft Internet Information Server. You can stop the service from the command line on Windows 7/Vista:
net stop was /y
net stop iisadmin /y
SQL Server Reporting Services
SSRS can remain active even if you uninstall SQL Server. To stop the service:
- Open SQL Server Configuration Manager.
- Select “SQL Server Services” in the left-hand pane.
- Double-click “SQL Server Reporting Services”.
- Hit Stop.
- Switch to the Service tab and set the Start Mode to “Manual”.
Irritatingly, Skype can switch to port 80. To disable it, select Tools > Options > Advanced > Connection then uncheck “Use port 80 and 443 as alternatives for incoming connections”.
What’s Using Port 80?
Further detective work is necessary if IIS, SSRS and Skype are not to blame. Enter the following on the command line:
The active TCP addresses and ports will be listed — locate the line with local address “0.0.0.0:80” and note the PID value.
Now right-click the task bar and select Start Task Manager. Navigate to the Processes tab and, if necessary, click View > Select Columns… to ensure “PID (Process Identifier)” is checked. You can now locate the PID you noted above. The description and properties should help you determine which application is using the port.
The Task Manager allows you to kill the process, but be a little wary about doing that — especially if it’s “NT Kernel & System”.
NT Kernel & System is an essential service. Stopping it will probably stop Windows in a blue-screeny-like way. Therefore, enter the following at the command line:
telnet 127.0.0.1 80
If you’re faced with a blank screen, type “GET” and hit return. The chances are, you’ll see a line stating that Microsoft-HTTPAPI/2.0 is listening on port 80. If that’s the case, open Services from Administrative Tools and locate “Web Deployment Agent Service”. Stop the service and set it’s startup type to “Manual”.
The Web Deployment Agent Service is deployed with WebMatrix and was the cause of my woes. It may also be distributed with other applications installed using Microsoft’s Web Platform Installer.
That caused me a few frustrating hours so I hope it solves your Apache or WAMP start-up problems.
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Craig is a freelance UK web consultant who built his first page for IE2.0 in 1995. Since that time he's been advocating standards, accessibility, and best-practice HTML5 techniques. He's created enterprise specifications, websites and online applications for companies and organisations including the UK Parliament, the European Parliament, the Department of Energy & Climate Change, Microsoft, and more. He's written more than 1,000 articles for SitePoint and you can find him @craigbuckler.
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