How to fix clamav update database error

How to fix clamav update database error

In our role as Outsourced server support specialists for web hosts, we secure and maintain the servers from attacks and viruses. There are several tools that come in handy, for securing various services.

ClamAV is an open source email scanning program that has an antivirus engine for detecting trojans, viruses, malware & other malicious threats in emails. ClamAV is usually integrated along with popular mail servers such as Exim.

See how we help web hosting companies

Recently, we were contacted by a web host who was getting these errors related to ClamAV, from his server:

WARNING: update of clamav database is disabled; please see
for information how to enable the periodic update resp.

ClamAV stores the virus definitions in its database, which is used to match and filter out viruses. This database is kept updated using a tool called ‘freshclam’, which periodically checks for new database releases and keeps the database up to date.

When this clamav database update is disabled in the server or not working well, the customer would get the above warning message.

[ You don’t have to lose your sleep over server errors. Our expert server support specialists are online 24/7/365 to help you fix all server errors. ]

How to fix clamav update database error

The virus database is usually updated many times per week and the server checks for the update in database every hour. This is configured by setting cron jobs in the server.

If this update is not enabled, it can cause errors. By default, the freshclam update is disabled as a security measure to avoid network access without prior activation.

To activate the freshclam update, we removed the last line (REMOVE ME) from ‘/etc/sysconfig/freshclam’ config file.

# vi /etc/sysconfig/freshclam
## ‘disabled-warn’  …  disables the automatic freshclam update and
##                         gives out a warning
## ‘disabled’       …  disables the automatic freshclam silently
### !!!!! REMOVE ME !!!!!!
### REMOVE ME: By default, the freshclam update is disabled to avoid
### REMOVE ME: network access without prior activation
FRESHCLAM_DELAY=disabled-warn    # REMOVE ME


This enabled the ‘freshclam’ update in the server. After manually running the update once, we then configured a cron job to run it every hour to update the ClamAV database.

In servers where there are busy mail servers, updating the ClamAV database every hour can add to the server overhead. In such cases the frequency of the cron job is modified accordingly.

[ Use your time to build your business. We’ll take care of your servers. Hire Our server experts to solve any server related issue. ]

At Bobcares, our 24/7 server specialists constantly monitor all the services in the server and proactively audit the server for any errors or corruption in them.

With our systematic debugging approach for service or other software errors, we have been able to provide an exciting support experience to the customers.

If you would like to know how to avoid downtime for your customers due to errors or other service failures, we would be happy to talk to you.


Get your servers stable and error-free!

Worried about upgrades and service errors in your web servers? Let us help you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.