Multi Site Manager error - open base restriction is the fix

Multi Site manager (MSM) is a ExpressionEngine utility for building sites and editing them from one control panel and one EE installation. This doesn’t mean that every one of your MSM sites need to be similarly designed and structured however. The user interface is very familiar but the flexibility is still very much there. The problem with EE can sometimes be, setting it all up. Whilst all you really do is add 3 files to your core EE installation and set the path in index.php from the other sub sites there can be issues. We have came across this multiple times now and it's well stated in the MSM documentation it's the open base issue.

We were seeing this error message on one of the sub sites:

Your system folder path does not appear to be set correctly. Please open the following file and correct this:

In the single index.php file there's this setting :

 $system_path = '/var/www/vhosts/REPLACEDdomain.com/httpdocs/systemREPLACE/'; 

Double check that it's correct. If you are still seeing the above error message then it's likely that its a open base restriction.

For security many web hosts and in particular Plesk which is the software that controls many Linux based hosting boxes has this enabled by default.

The Fix:

Remove the open base restriction from your website server settings. In out case the site was running on a managed VPS, so we simply sent a support ticket through for it to be lifted. However upon confirmation they had removed it we were still seeing the error. We were convinced we were right in our assumptions of the open base restriction so we then went to check if indeed the hosts had lifted it.

How do you check?

We simply put a phpinfo.php file, (which displays information about the server and php set up), in the web root and had this code in it.

They had not, the open base restriction was still in effect and in the left local column it read. In the below image you can see the incorrect and the correct settings.

open base php infoopen base php info

If you are on a dedicated werver then you can do this with SSH commands, its out with this post to describe butDave Brook has done so has done so here http://davebrookes.com/journal/disable-php-safe-mode-open-base-dir-restrictions-on-media-temple-dv-4-0/