Fix Exim error-exim dead but subsys locked

Problem Statement

php mail scripts were not working in Linux VPS.

Error Message

exim dead but subsys locked


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

service exim status

We noticed that Exim service was dead and throwing following error.

exim dead but subsys locked 

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

service exim start

We received following error while we try 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 that necessary error log files to start Exim services were missing so we created following files manually.

We attempted to start the Exim service and we received following error again.

exim dead but subsys locked

Upon research, we came to know that, there are mainly 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 made sure that this file is not there.
  2. The server has necessary disk space available to start the Exim service. To verify it, we issued the following command.

    df -h 
    We noticed that customers VM was using 97% of total disk space. We asked our customers to remove unwanted data and release some disk space. Customer released some disk space and Exim service was started immediately. As soon as Exim service started, all queued emails were released.

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