I'm running Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 and Web Sharing is turned off in System Prefs.

I don't think this is specifically related to Lion.

Basically, I'm a frontend developer and there are always backend developers messing around in my terminal trying to make my life easier, but not explaining exactly what they're doing. So I suspect someone put something somewhere to explicitly command my Mac to start Apache automatically on startup. Here's all I know:

ps aux | grep apache

shows that Apache is running

launchctl list

doesn't show Apache afaik, but if it did I wouldn't know what it would be called anyway

sudo apachectl stop

returns launchctl: Error unloading: org.apache.httpd

sudo apachectl -k stop

returns httpd (no pid file) not running

Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • 1
    what does ps aux | grep apache actually output? Also, perhaps you installed a secondary Apache installation through other means (MAMP, Macports, ...)?
    – Gerry
    Dec 19, 2011 at 9:10
  • No MAMP or Macports running, but thank you for the suggestion.
    – Tracy Fu
    Dec 19, 2011 at 20:44
  • Please refer to this answer. Read the comments too. Jul 15, 2013 at 3:13

2 Answers 2


Are you sure that it is apache you are seeing running. When you do the

ps aux|grep apache

You will see one process ( the shell process that is looking for the string apache)

A running apache server is not called apache it is called httpd, and you will see multiple instances of this (one parent daemon which in turn spawns workers). The apachectl is reporting correctly that it is not running

  • Thank you for a helpful first time experience on Stack. My systems admin confirmed this morning that what I was seeing (6187 0.0 0.0 2434892 540 s003 S+ 12:19PM 0:00.00 grep apache) wasn't Apache running, but the process as you suggested. My backend devs lied to me out of laziness to walk over to my computer to help me look :)
    – Tracy Fu
    Dec 19, 2011 at 20:31

Apache is part of the Mac OS is is always running (if you have set on websharing). That is, if you've not installed the specific software "Apache". But it's included in Mac OS and runs by default.

So is it causing any performance issues or is your work suffering from it? If not, let it be. It doesn't do any harm. If it does, try looking for a solution in this previous topic.

  • 1
    The OP mentioned that web sharing is turned off. Dec 19, 2011 at 9:38
  • Thank you for your comment. Basically, this foray into figuring out whether or not Apache was running was because my current project is running a tad slow and I'm running a Rails server now, so I didn't want both servers on.
    – Tracy Fu
    Dec 19, 2011 at 20:38
  • NOTE: That OSX Lion removed "Web Sharing" and now runs Apache by default making it difficult to start MAMP, XAMPP, etc.
    – doublejosh
    Jan 3, 2013 at 20:23

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