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The domain already exists in the Apache configuration : Causes and Fix

Billing automation tools like “WHMCS” help Web Hosts to create and edit accounts in a jiffy.

But things like high server load, database connection errors etc. can cause WHMCS to fail which results in partial creation or removal of domains.

And such partial entries on the server can cause domain recreation to fail with the error :

“The domain “” already exists in the Apache configuration.”

As part of our Dedicated Support Services, we often see this error when customers try to migrate domains, or change domain as main account etc.

Today let us discuss 3 scenarios where this error pops up and how we fix them.


What causes the error “The domain already exists in the apache configuration.”?

On new domain creation, cPanel first checks if the domain name is already present in any of the server configuration files.

And if a match is found, it aborts domain creation with the error “The domain already exists in the apache configuration.”

We’ll now see the common reasons for cPanel to show “Domain already exists” error.


1. Addon Domain Creation

Addon domain creation or deletion from cPanel works correctly in most cases.

But when there are server issues like bad disk, high load etc., domain deletion process can get stuck half-way.  And then, addon domain entries are not properly removed from the server files.

When a customer tries to add the same domain again, it will result in the error shown in the image below:



But the domain never shows up under Addon Domains in cPanel.

The same error can happen even with domain migration or backup-restore as well.


2. Add new domain that matches server hostname

By default, cPanel adds an entry for server name in the Apache configuration file.

Some VPS server owners set the server name as their domain name itself. In such servers, when customers try to create a domain that matches server name, it shows the error “Domain already exists in the Apache configuration”.

It is important to ensure that server name is set as something like and not Then there will not be any issues while creating new domain


3. WHMCS Module Command error

WHMCS can malfunction when there are connectivity issues with server and this causes tasks to fail.

Due to such issues, if a webhosting provider re-submits the ‘create account’ button,  it results in the error :

Module Command Error:

The domain “” already exists in the Apache configuration.


How to fix “Domain already exists in the apache configuration”

Although there are many situations where this error pops up, the fix is to correct the duplicate entries for the domain.

Our Hosting Support Engineers check the server and remove entries for conflicting domain in Apache configuration file, httpd.conf. Then we rebuild Apache on the server.

But we’ve seen situations where error still exists due to domain entries present in cPanel user data files.

In such cases, we remove the user related files from /var/cpanel/userdata/ and clear user related cache. That fixes the error and domain creation works fine.


The presence of duplicate records for the domain in the Web server files results in account creation errors. We’ve discussed couple of scenario where server complains “Domain already exists” and how our Dedicated Support Engineers fix them.


cPanel MySQL optimization – How it benefits your server

1, 2, 3.. If your site still doesn’t load, it’s obviously not a good sign for your business..

Many server owners get servers with excellent specifications and wait for magic to happen. But server specs alone, cannot guarantee fast websites.

GBs of memory and GHz of CPU go wasted, if they are not optimized to suit your business purpose.  (more…)

“My IP is blacklisted. How to remove it?” – Experts answer

Help! My IP is blacklisted. All my mails are bouncing. How to remove it?

This is a common support request we resolve here at our Server Administration Services support desk.

Website owners wake up one day to find all their business mails bouncing, citing the reason that the server is a source of spam. (more…)

MySQL “stop: Unknown instance:” error – Why it happens and how to fix

Server errors are no fun.

And it is especially frustrating when the error is cryptic, like “Unknown instance“.

What does it mean, really?

A common error people face in VPS, Cloud and Dedicated servers is MySQL failing with “stop: Unknown instance:(more…)

How to fix the error “A dns entry for the domain already exists”

"A DNS entry for already exists, You must remove this DNS entry from all servers in the dns cluster to proceed."


Resellers and server owners in cPanel/WHM servers come across this error message when creating domains in their server.

As part of our Outsourced Technical Support for web hosts, we routinely resolve such cPanel/WHM account related errors.


Errors with cPanel Remote Mail Exchanger? Here’s how to fix them

Up until a few years ago, domains had both mails and websites set up on the same server.

Things have changed nowadays and many people use custom mail servers like Google, Outlook etc. to handle mails for their domains.

To make this happen, server management tools like cPanel provide a setting called “Remote Mail Exchanger”.

But setting up “Remote Mail Exchanger” is not intuitive to many website owners, and they often face mail bounces or mail errors due to misconfiguration of this setting.

As part of our Outsourced Technical Support for web hosts, we routinely resolve such email errors.

Today let’s go through the top two issues we’ve seen while setting up a Remote Mail Exchanger.


How things go wrong with cPanel Remote Mail Exchanger

In cPanel servers, there is an option called “Email routing” which decides how mail is handled for a domain.

By default, new accounts created on the server have mails handled by the same server.

But when the domain need to use another server for mail, the email routing has to be set as “Remote Mail Exchanger”.

Here’s how Email Routing is set for a domain in cPanel servers.

cPanel Remote Mail Exchanger - Email Routing


Mail server tries to send mails to another server after checking the Remote Mail Exchanger setting for the domain.

Listed below are the situations where mails fail due to this setting.


1. Remote Mail Exchanger not set

To enable external mail servers for a domain, website owners simply  set the custom mail servers (MX) records for the domain.

Unfortunately, that is not enough for mails to show up in the external mail servers.

Mails from website forms or other domains hosted on the same server still fail. This happens as the mail server tries to deliver the mails within the server.

To fix the problem, our Dedicated Support Engineers set the correct email routing as per the MX records of the domain.

Also we ensure that the correct values are present in the mail server configuration files like /etc/localdomains and /etc/remote domains as well.


2.  Incorrect value for Remote Mail Exchanger

Cpanel maintains two domain lists :

  • Domains whose mails are on the same server
  • Domains whose mails are on remote server.

When we change email routing for a domain, cPanel automatically adjusts these lists.

For example, when we set Remote Mail Exchanger for a domain, cPanel removes domain from local domains list and automatically adds to remote domains list.

But this may not work always due to bad server settings.

And when a customer wants to change their domain’s MX  to a different provider, say Google, he will set MX in dns records and change email routing to “Remote Mail Exchanger”.  Normally, this is enough for mails to show up at Google.

But if for some reason cPanel fails to remove this domain from the local domains list, mail server will still try to deliver all mails from other domains on the same server locally. This will result in email error “Recipient Not Found” as the original recipient exists at Google.

In such cases, for mail to work properly, our Dedicated Support Engineers do the following :

  1. Set mail routing to “Remote Mail Exchanger”
  2. Remove entries for the domain from the list of local domains
  3. Add the domain to the list of remote domains


Wrong setting of the cPanel Remote Mail Exchanger can cause mail issues for the domain. We’ve discussed two causes our Dedicated Hosting Engineers often see in the servers that we manage and how we fix them.


cPanel DNS cluster – The Pros and the Cons!

A slow website can harm your business as much as a broken site – And you wouldn’t want either of these to happen to you!

That’s where clusters and High Availability setup helps.

As part of our Dedicated Support Services, we configure and maintain High availability clusters for our customers who are web hosts.

A commonly configured one is the cPanel DNS cluster.


What is “Optimize Website” in cPanel? Is it enough?

Websites that load in 2 seconds are the new norm in SEO.

Google’s website auditor marks 1.2 seconds [1] as the ideal speed score, and it won’t be long before all business sites fall in line.

That brings us to the question : How do you improve your site speed? (more…)

5 causes for “SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO” error, and the fixes

Email errors can be really bothersome – they can hit you hard and unexpected, when you attempt to send an urgent mail.

As part of our Outsourced Hosting Support services for web hosting providers, we resolve email errors faced by website owners. (more…)

How to fix “550-previous (cached) callout verification failure” email error

Spammers have made life difficult for us all.

These days even legitimate mails get snagged in the vast array of anti-spam defenses deployed by companies.

One such commonly misclassified anti-spam bounce is:
SMTP error from remote mail server after RCPT TO:<>:
host [x.x.x.x]: 550-Verification failed for <>
550-Previous (cached) callout verification failure
550 Sender verify failed