Fix: Exim error-exim dead but subsys locked

Problem Statement
The php mail scripts were not working in Linux VPS.

Error Message
exim dead but subsys locked

The first thing we verified was whether the Exim service was working or not by issuing the following command in SSH.

Service exim status
We noticed that the Exim service was dead and showing the following error - exim dead but subsys locked 

We attempt to start the Exim service by issuing the following command

service exim start

We received the following error while we were trying to start it.

Starting exim: 2016-01-13 12:55:12 Cannot open main log file "/var/log/exim_mainlog": No such file or directory: euid=0 egid=0
2016-01-13 12:55:12 cwd=/ 5 args: /usr/sbin/exim -bd -q1h -oP /var/spool/exim/
2016-01-13 12:55:12 Cannot open main log file "/var/log/exim_mainlog": No such file or directory: euid=0 egid=0
exim: could not open panic log - aborting: see message(s) above

This error tells us that the necessary error log files to start Exim services were missing, so we created the following files manually –


We attempted to start the Exim service, and we received the following error again – exim dead but subsys locked

Upon research, we came to know that there are primarily two reasons for the occurrence of this error –

  1. The presence of /etc/eximdisable file. 
    To verify the existence of this file, we navigated to /etc/ directory and ensured that this file was not there.

  2. The server has the necessary disk space available to start the Exim service.
    To verify it, we issued the following command – 

df -h 

We noticed that the customer's VM used 97% of the total disk space. So, we asked our customers to remove unwanted data and release more disk space. The customer released some disk space, and Exim service was started immediately. As soon as Exim service started, all queued emails were released.


Was this answer helpful?

« Back


/* */