Table of Contents:

Error Log Files


General Instructions

DSpace 6.x or below

Finding the Error Message in your Log Files

  1. If the expected information simply never appears, leaving a blank browser screen, the problem is likely with either a servlet (for JSPUI) or an XSLT Theme (for XMLUI). The error message should be in either [dspace]/log/dspace.log OR [tomcat]/logs/. For the XMLUI, you may also want to check the Cocoon logs (see above for path) to see if any extra information can be found there.
  2. If you get an "Internal Server Error" message, you will have to check the log files for a full error listing. If your email address is set up in dspace.cfg (alert.recipient) as the DSpace Administrator, you should receive an email with this full error listing. If not, move into the DSpace log directory ([dspace]/log) and view the end of the log file:
  3. Usually, the culprit error is in the first five to ten lines of the error stack listing. The error stack starts with a line similar to one of the following:

Searching for Fixes to Common Errors

Turning on Debugging (optional)

DSpace 7.x (or above)

Finding the Error Message in the User Interface

In DSpace 7, the User Interface is now built on Javascript (  This means that some errors are only visible in your browser (and therefore will never appear in log files).

To find the errors in your browser, you will want to open your browser's Developer Tools and then try to reproduce the error again.

If the User Interface error is a generic 500 response, that means there's an error that occurred on your backend.  Check your DSpace logs or Tomcat logs for information on the exact error.  See the below section on "Finding error messages in the REST API logs".

Finding error messages in the REST API logs

Some (but not necessarily all) errors will result in logged errors on the backend. Similar to DSpace 6.x and below, the error message should be in either [dspace]/log/dspace.log OR [tomcat]/logs/.

Usually, the culprit error will appear in the logs with a line similar to one of the following:

Debug mode for the REST API (optional)

If you are not seeing the error appear in the REST API logs, and the error information is minimal in the User Interface, you can tell the REST API to always return the entire error stacktrace in any error response.  This is done by temporarily adding the following to your local.cfg (on the backend): 

# This tells the REST API to include a "stacktrace" param in error responses
# This param will include the full Java stacktrace of the error
server.error.include-stacktrace = always

Enabling this setting requires you to reboot your servlet engine (e.g. Tomcat). 

Once this setting is enabled, you can reproduce the error from the User Interface. Now, the error message in your User Interface (in your browser's Developer Tools) may show the entire Java stacktrace that resulted in the error.

WARNING: Keep in mind that you should only enable this setting TEMPORARILY.  Keeping this set to "always" is a security issue in Production scenarios, as it allows anyone to view the detailed stacktrace of any error they cause.  These stacktraces can sometimes leak important information about your underlying system which can help hackers to find vulnerabilities.

Turning on Debug Logging for the REST API (optional)

If none of the above helped, or you are hitting a very strange backend error, you can change the DSpace logger settings to DEBUG which will sometimes provide you with more information about the error. To turn on debugging, visit the [dspace]/config/log4j2.xml file and do the following:

Found an error message! Now what?

Report the Error and Describe How You Encountered It

There are two ways you may choose to report this error. However, we ask that you only choose one, depending on which you prefer.

  1. Post a question on StackOverflow and tag it with "dspace".  See  Guide to Posting Technical Questions to StackOverflow for more information.

  2. OR, email a description of the error along with the error stack listing to

    1. If you are not a member of this list, or want more information about DSpace lists, see Mailing Lists

  3. Other support options detailed on the DSpace Support page

MAKE SURE to include the following information:

  1. Your environment: Operating system, version of DSpace, version of Tomcat, Java, etc.
    1. NOTE: on DSpace 4.x or above, simply running "./dspace version" from the command line will provide much of this information for you.
  2. The exact steps you took to encounter the error, as this will help us in investigating the problem. Often, we need to understand how to replicate the error before we can determine what the underlying cause is.
  3. The error stack that you found in your log file