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Upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

A few days ago, I was poking about “micro”, the AWS EC2 server behind this site. I noticed that a new LTS release of Ubuntu was out so I decided to upgrade.

Unfortunately, I got distracted amid the upgrade and forgot about it, and then it took my brother to inform me that things had gone awry: every page load was returning “502/Bad Gateway”. So, just like last time, I had to dig in to figure out what was going wrong. I started looking into it and the problem ended up being multi-faceted.

First, I needed to finish off the install which I had rudely interrupted by rebooting the server while the do-release-upgrade was stuck at a prompt. Whoops! Fortunately, apt-get is nice enough these days to tell you the invocation you need to resume the upgrade — something like dpkg -a. Regardless, I got that resumed and finished up, then I set about seeing if everything was working.

Well, of course it wasn’t! First of all, nginx was set to work with php5-fpm, but this new release ships with php7, which has been put under the more generic name php (which seems like a good move, even if it’s backwards incompatible, because it allows for compatibility going forward, whereas the old method did not).

The first step was to update the nginx configs so that it would talk to the right unix domain socket to communicate with the upgraded php-fpm package. Once that was done, however, the pages started showing up blank, but with HTTP/200 responses, as if everything was working fine. Some searching led me to the regular place where all sysadmin questions go to be answered: serverfault.

Sure enough, this was exactly the issue I had, and adding that line to my nginx config made the websites start loading again.

Now, I just have to figure out the email situation again…