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Fatal Error in Gdn_Session.start(); [UPDATE 2.8.3 to 3.1]

Fatal Error in Gdn_Session.start();

Call to a member function getSession() on null

The error occurred on or near: /var/www/vanilla/library/core/class.session.php

438:         // Now retrieve user information.
439:         if ($this->UserID > 0) {
440:             // Instantiate a UserModel to get session info
441:             $this->User = $userModel->getSession($this->UserID);
443:             $userSignedIn = false;
444:             if ($this->User) {
445:                 $this->permissions->setPermissions($this->User->Permissions);

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Additional information for support personnel:

  • Application: Vanilla
  • Application Version: 2.8.3
  • PHP Version: 7.3.8-1+0~20190807.43+debian9~1.gbp7731bf
  • Operating System: Linux
  • Server Software: nginx/1.10.3
  • User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64; rv:68.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/68.0
  • Request Uri: /utility/update

Hello everyone

I'm here to ask you for help.

I wanted to update vanilla from version 2.8.3 to version 3.1 and since when I want to access https://vanilla.example.com/utility/update, the above message appears.

I work with ngnix.

 I would like to point out that I took the opportunity to update php7.2 to php7.3

Do you have any advice for me, please.

Thank you.


  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    A little late, sorry...

    I do not see an obvious explanation or even a possible explanation for the above error message. So in order of simplicity I would do the following (and retry /utility/update after each step):

    • Delete everything inside the /cache folder
    • Re-upload all files, followed by deleting the contents of the cache folder
    • Disable all plugins and switch to default theme

    Since this is the first time I saw someone mentioning the error above, I would assume that this problem can be eliminated with one of the steps above

  • Excuse me for being late,

    I had some time to test the update again. The page /utility/update tells me that everything is ok

    but when I launch my site address the first time I get a message: The page is not redirected correctly and when, I update: I have the bad gateway message and this message in my log :

    2019/10/14 14:58:04 [error] 24484#24484: *172 upstream sent too big header while reading response header from upstream, client:, server: xxx.xxxxxx.xx, request: "GET /entry/signin?Target=dashboard%2Fhome%2Fupdatemode%3FTarget%3Ddashboard%252Fhome%252Fupdatemode%253FTarget%253Ddashboard%25252Fhome%25252Fupdatemode%25253FTarget%25253Ddashboard%2525252Fhome%2525252Fupdatemode%2525253FTarget%2525253Ddashboard%252525252Fhome%252525252Fupdatemode%252525253FTarget%252525253Ddashboard%25252525252Fhome%25252525252Fupdatemode%25252525253FTarget%25252525253Ddashboard%2525252525252Fhome%2525252525252Fupdatemode%2525252525253FTarget%2525252525253Ddashboard%252525252525252Fhome%252525252525252Fupdatemode%252525252525253FTarget%252525252525253Ddashboard%25252525252525252Fhome%25252525252525252Fupdatemode%25252525252525253FTarget%25252525252525253Ddashboard%2525252525252525252Fhome%2525252525252525252Fupdatemode%2525252525252525253FTarget%2525252525252525253Ddashboard%252525252525252525252Fhome%252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%252525252525252525253FTarget%252525252525252525253Ddashboard%25252525252525252525252Fhome%25252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%25252525252525252525253FTarget%25252525252525252525253Ddashboard%2525252525252525252525252Fhome%2525252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%2525252525252525252525253FTarget%2525252525252525252525253Ddashboard%252525252525252525252525252Fhome%252525252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%252525252525252525252525253FTarget%252525252525252525252525253Ddashboard%25252525252525252525252525252Fhome%25252525252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%25252525252525252525252525253FTarget%25252525252525252525252525253Ddashboard%2525252525252525252525252525252Fhome%2525252525252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%2525252525252525252525252525253FTarget%2525252525252525252525252525253Ddashboard%252525252525252525252525252525252Fhome%252525252525252525252525252525252Fupdatemode%252525252525252525252525252525253FTarget%252525252525252525252525252525253Ddashboard%25252525252525252525252525252525252Fhome%25252525

  • R_JR_J Ex-Fanboy Munich Admin

    That looks like a redirection problem. Please read the official docs on how to set up nginx

  • No one would have an example of a configuration for nginx so that I can compare please

  • whu606whu606 I'm not a SuperHero; I just like wearing tights... MVP
    edited October 2019


    This works for me:

    server {
     listen 80;
     listen [::]:80;
     server_name YOURSITENAME.com www.YOURSITENAME.com;
     root /var/www/html;
     index index.php index.html index.htm index.nginx-debian.html;
     location ~* ^/index\.php(/|$) {
      include fastcgi-php.conf;
      fastcgi_param SCRIPT_NAME /index.php;
           fastcgi_param SCRIPT_FILENAME $realpath_root/index.php;
     fastcgi_split_path_info ^(.+?\.php)(/.*)$;
     fastcgi_param X_REWRITE 1;
       fastcgi_pass unix:/run/php/php7.2-fpm.sock;
    include fastcgi_params;
        location / {
           try_files $uri @vanilla;
     location @vanilla {
           rewrite ^ /index.php$uri last;

    This was based on advice and help from this thread:


    tbh, it took me while to get it working. I can't remember the details, but I know that the order of the lines in the block

    location ~* ^/index\.php(/|$) {

    made a difference,

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