FAQ: Can't Access the Server

When I run Sawmill, it tells me that the server is started (it shows me the URL), but when I try to access that URL, the browser says it's not available. How can I fix this?

Short Answer

You may be using a proxy server which prevents you from accessing a server running on your own machine. Try reconfiguring the proxy to allow it, or try running Sawmill on IP (the loopback interface).

Long Answer

If you're running Windows 2003 and using Internet Explorer, look at Can't access server with Windows 2003 and IE first, and return here if that doesn't help.

When you first start Sawmill in web server mode, it tries to start a web server, running on the local machine, using port 8988. If this fails, it should give you an error message; if it succeed, it should give you a URL. If you're seeing a URL when you start Sawmill, it generally means that the Sawmill server started successfully, and is ready to answer web browser requests.

Sometimes, though, when you actually try to access that URL, you may find that the server doesn't answer. Your browser may tell you that there's a DNS error, or that it couldn't contact the server, or that there's some other kind of error. If Sawmill displayed a URL, the server itself is probably working fine-- the problem is not with the server, but with the network connection to the server. This can happen, for instance, if you're using a web server proxy or cache server, and it doesn't know about the IP address of your own machine. When you contact the cache and ask to connect to your own machine, it gets confused, because normal web requests come from inside machines contacting outside machines, and this one is an inside machine contacting another inside machine (itself). A well-configured proxy server can handle this, but one that is not configured to handle internal requests may attempt to get the URL from the outside, and may give an error when it doesn't find it there. Some proxies/caches/firewalls will also refuse to let through traffic on port 8988 (Sawmill's default port), regardless of other settings.

There are several solutions. One choice is to reconfigure the proxy or cache server to allow HTTP connections from internal machines to other internal machines, on port 8988. Then Sawmill will be able to operate in its preferred mode, on port 8988 of the machine's first IP address.

If that's not an option, you may be able to get Sawmill to work by running it on the loopback interface (IP, or on port 80 (the standard web server port). The easiest way to find a working solution is to use the command-line interface to Sawmill, at least until you have it working; you can go back to using the graphical version later. From the command line, run Sawmill like this:

  sawmill -ws t -sh -wsp 80

This will attempt to start Sawmill's web server on IP (the loopback interface), using port 80. This will only work if there is not a web server already running on the system-- only one server can use port 80 at a time. If you already have a web server running, use port 8988 instead. Try the command above with different IP addresses (, and any IP addresses you know belong to your computer), and different ports (try 8988 first, then 80). With a little luck one of the choices will start a server that you can connect to. Once you've got the Sawmill interface working in your web browser, you can set it to use that IP and port permanently in the Preferences, from the Administrative Menu. Once you've set the IP and port in the Preferences, you can quit the command-line Sawmill, and start using the graphical version, if you prefer.

If that still doesn't work, check if there is a firewall on your system or on your network, which is blocking traffic from your machine to itself, on port 8988. If there is, try disabling the firewall temporarily (or reconfigure it to allow the traffic), and see if it works then. If it works with the firewall disabled, and doesn't work with the firewall enabled, then the firewall is probably blocking the necessary traffic. You'll probably want to reconfigure the firewall to let the network traffic through on 8988.

If none of these work, and you have a web server running on your system there is always CGI mode. Sawmill can run under any running web server in CGI mode; if you can connect to the web server itself, you'll be able to use Sawmill by running Sawmill under your local server as a CGI program.

Finally, if you can't get Sawmill to work to your satisfaction, please contact support@sawmill.net.