Fixing Could not reliably determine the servers fully qualified domain name Error on Debian Systems

If you are a system administrator working with Debian systems and web servers, chances are you have come across this relatively common error message: “Could not reliably determine the servers fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName”. In this blog post, I’ll explain what the issue is and step-by-step instructions on how to solve it.

What is the Problem?

At the most basic level, this error means that Apache is missing a setting called ServerName. This is a crucial part of the configuration because Apache needs to know which domain name to give to a browser or other web user when they connect to the system. When the ServerName isn’t set, Apache inserts the value, which is a loopback value that will prevent Apache from working properly and will generate this error.

How to Solve the Issue

The easiest way to solve this issue is to edit the Apache configuration using the Nano editor. Nano is a popular text editor that is installed by default on many Debian-based systems, including Ubuntu and Mint.

  1. Open a terminal session and run the command sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf, which will open Nano with the Apache configuration file.
  2. Scroll through the file with your arrow keys until you find the ServerName setting. It is likely that the line either doesn’t exist, or that it contains the value, so you should be able to find it easily.
  3. Modify (or add) the ServerName setting so that it contains the actual domain name for your server. For example, if your server is configured to serve the domain, you should modify the line to read ServerName
  4. Once you have modified (or added) the ServerName setting, save the file using Ctrl+O and exit Nano using Ctrl+X.
  5. Restart Apache using the command sudo service apache2 restart.


With the steps given above, you should now be able to solve the error “Could not reliably determine the servers fully qualified domain name, using for ServerName” on Debian systems. If you need any further assistance, please feel free to contact me directly.

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