In our day-to-day tasks as system administrators we can face preplexing errors that stop us in our tracks. One such example is the following error message on Debian-based web servers: “error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: no such file or directory”. The name might be daunting but this error is quite common and can be resolved with a bit of legwork.
What does this error mean?
This error typically occurs when an application is trying to use a library that doesn’t exist on your system or the application can’t locate the library. This is usually caused by either a broken installation or a misconfiguration.
How can we solve it?
While you mentioned using traceroute, in this case traceroute might not be too helpful. Traceroute is typically used for mapping out network paths, and this error is more related to local resources.
Instead, we’ll want to check your “LD_LIBRARY_PATH” environment variable, and make sure it’s configured correctly.
This will temporarily set your LD_LIBRARY_PATH to include the directory of your missing library acting as a pointer to your shared libraries. However, this change will only persist for your current terminal session.
To permanently set your LD_LIBRARY_PATH, you’ll need to update your .bashrc file (located in your home directory).
echo 'export LD_LIBRARY_PATH=$LD_LIBRARY_PATH:/path/to/your/library' >> ~/.bashrc source ~/.bashrc
By running these commands, we first write our export command into the .bashrc file and then we source it, effectively running all commands in this file, and updating our LD_LIBRARY_PATH permanently.
If the library in question is still missing, it may be due to your system lacking corresponding packages. In which case, installation might be necessary. The apt package manager is our tool for this job:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install libname
Just replace ‘libname’ with the name of the missing library and this should resolve the issue.
And that’s it! We’ve demystified the “error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory” error and provided an easy method for resolution. So the next time you encounter a similar issue, don’t panic! Just remember the steps discussed here and your Debian web server should be back on track in no time.