Tomcat 6+: Infamous "SEVERE: Error listenerStart" message - How-To debug this error? | MyThinkPond

I’m sure if you have been developing with Java and Tomcat for sometime, you are likely to run into the infamous debug error.

SEVERE: Error listenerStart

You will most likely start Googling it trying to find out what the heck is going on. And in trying to see the extended logging on what that “listenerStart” error means. After some lucky searches, you will see links asking you to drop a “log4j.properties” file under ‘/WEB-INF/classes’ directory inside your WAR to help debug which one of the listeners is throwing this crazy error.

Well, this advise will most likely work for you if you are developing under an earlier version of Tomcat. If you are using versions 6.0 or above then continue to read on…

In Tomcat 6 or above, the default logger is the”java.util.logging” logger and not Log4J. So if you are trying to add a “log4j.properties” file - this will NOT work. The Java utils logger looks for a file called “logging.properties” as stated here: http://tomcat.apache.org/tomcat-6.0-doc/logging.html

So to get to the debugging details create a “logging.properties” file under your”/WEB-INF/classes” folder of your WAR and you’re all set.

And now when you restart your Tomcat, you will see all of your debugging in it’s full glory!!!

Sample logging.properties file:

[sourcecode language=“jscript”] org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.[Catalina].level = INFO org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase.[Catalina].handlers = java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler

[/sourcecode]

and you will most likely see a “class-not-found” exception. ;-)

Look at the bright side, you’re now one step closer to the solution.

Happy coding!

Venkatt Guhesan avatar
About Venkatt Guhesan
Enterprise Software Architect currently working at DataDirect Networks developing a highly scalable monitoring solution called DDN Insight. My passions include all things Open Source including Linux (CentOS, Red Hat, Gentoo, Open Stack, Docker & Ubuntu), embedded ARM processors and microcontrollers (Arduino, UDOO, Cubieboard, BeagleBoard, OnionIO, TI's Zigbee). Coming from an Electrical and Computer Engineering background, working in developing and designing enterprise - distributed, highly scalable software requires a unique set of software skills with a good understanding of the hardware. This makes his work challenging and interesting. In his free time, he spends his time with his family and two children. He also enjoys researching on topics including - world ancient history and yoga. Visit the 'About' section for more details.
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