Conquering the Portal: A Troubleshooting Guide for New Liferay Developers

Liferay Version: 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4

Welcome, brave Liferay developer! The world of Liferay DXP offers immense potential for crafting dynamic digital experiences. However, like any complex platform, you might encounter roadblocks along the way. Fear not, for this Liferay troubleshooting guide equips you with the knowledge to tackle common Liferay development challenges!

1. Deployment Woes: When Your Liferay Doesn’t Boot Up

A non-deploying Liferay can be nerve-wracking. Here are some troubleshooting steps:

  • Log Analysis: First stop – the logs! Liferay logs errors and warnings in server.log and other files within <liferay-home>/logs. Scrutinize these files for clues. Common culprits include missing dependencies, database connection errors, or incorrect configuration settings.
  • Version Mismatch: Double-check your Liferay version against the required versions of your plugins, themes, and custom modules. Mismatches can lead to deployment failures.
  • Database Connectivity: Ensure your database credentials in are accurate. Test the connection from a separate database client to verify.

Code Example (


  • Permissions and Ownership: Verify that the Liferay user running the server process has read/write permissions to the Liferay home directory and its subdirectories.

2. The Elusive ClassDefNotFoundException: When Your Code Can’t Find its Dependencies

This infamous error indicates that your code cannot locate a required class. Here’s how to fight back:

  • Missing JARs: Ensure all necessary JAR files for your project are present in the deployment classpath. Check your build configuration and dependencies.
  • Conflicting JARs: Multiple versions of the same class can cause conflicts. Use tools like Maven or Gradle to manage dependencies and ensure you’re using the correct versions.
  • Typos and Case Sensitivity: Java is case-sensitive. Double-check class names and import statements for typos, especially when working with third-party libraries.

Tip: Leverage IDE features like code completion and dependency management to help avoid these issues.

3. The Port Conflict Conundrum: When Another Process Occupies Your Port

Imagine deploying Liferay, only to discover another application has claimed its designated port (default: 8080). Here’s how to reclaim your territory:

  • Identify the Culprit: Use the netstat -a command (Linux/macOS) or task manager (Windows) to identify processes using port 8080. Terminate the conflicting process gracefully.
  • Change the Liferay Port: You can configure Liferay to use a different port by modifying the server.http.port property in

Code Example (


  • Consider a Dedicated Server: For development environments, consider using a dedicated server or virtual machine to avoid port conflicts with other applications running on your machine.

4. NullPointerException Blues: When Your Code Encounters a Missing Object

This error signifies that your code is attempting to use a variable or object that hasn’t been initialized or is null. Here are some strategies:

  • Null Checks: Always check for null references before using objects. Employ conditional statements like if (object != null) to avoid exceptions.
  • Proper Initialization: Ensure objects are assigned values before being used. Consider using default values or initializing objects in constructors.
  • Debugging: Utilize debuggers provided by your IDE to step through your code and pinpoint where null values are being introduced.

Code Example (Null Check):


User user = userService.fetchUser(userId);
if (user != null) {
  System.out.println("Welcome, " + user.getFirstName() + "!");
} else {
  System.out.println("User not found.");

5. The Infinite Loop Labyrinth: When Your Code Gets Stuck

An infinite loop can lock up your application. Here’s how to escape the maze:

  • Logical Errors: Review your code for conditions that might lead to an infinite loop. Ensure loops have termination conditions and update variables within the loop to prevent it from running indefinitely.
  • Debugging: Use breakpoints in your debugger to pause execution within the loop and examine the values of variables. This can help you identify why the loop isn’t terminating as expected. Utilize conditional breakpoints to pause execution only when specific conditions are met within the loop.

Code Example (Guarded Loop):


int counter = 0;
while (counter < 10 && !user.isActive()) {
  // Code to activate the user

In this example, the loop continues iterating as long as counter is less than 10 and the user object is not active. This prevents an infinite loop if user activation fails.

6. The Unhandled Exception Enigma: When Your Code Encounters Unexpected Errors

Unhandled exceptions can crash your application. Here’s how to handle them gracefully:

  • Try-Catch Blocks: Surround critical code sections with try-catch blocks. The try block contains the code that might throw an exception. The catch block handles the exception if it occurs.
  • Specific Exception Handling: Use specific exception types in your catch blocks to handle different kinds of errors appropriately.
  • Log Exceptions: Log the exception details for further investigation. This can help identify the root cause of the error and fix it in future deployments.

Code Example (Try-Catch Block):


try {
  User user = userService.fetchUser(userId);
  System.out.println("Welcome, " + user.getFirstName() + "!");
} catch (NoSuchUserException e) {
  System.err.println("User with ID " + userId + " not found.");
} catch (Exception e) {
  System.err.println("An unexpected error occurred: " + e.getMessage());
  // Log the exception details for further investigation
  log.error("Error fetching user", e);

In this example, the code attempts to fetch a user. It handles two potential exceptions: NoSuchUserException if the user doesn’t exist, and a generic Exception for any other unexpected errors.

7. The Missing Permission Quandary: When Your Portlet Misbehaves

Sometimes, your portlet might not function as expected due to missing permissions. Here’s how to diagnose the issue:

  • Review Portlet Permissions: Ensure your portlet has the necessary permissions to access resources (e.g., read/write access to specific entities) defined in the Liferay security model.
  • Verify User Roles: Double-check that the user accessing the portlet has the required roles assigned to them. Roles grant specific permissions within Liferay.
  • Debug with Impersonation: Use Liferay’s impersonation feature to test your portlet functionality as a user with different roles. This can help identify permission-related issues.

8. The Theme Mishap: When Your Custom Theme Doesn’t Display Correctly

Custom themes can add a unique touch to your Liferay portal, but styling issues can arise. Here’s how to tackle them:

  • Clear Browser Cache: Browser cache can sometimes hold onto old theme files. Clear your browser cache and hard refresh the page (Ctrl+Shift+R) to ensure you’re loading the latest theme styles.
  • Theme Structure Validation: Liferay provides tools to validate your theme structure against Liferay’s theme definition. Use these tools to identify any structural errors in your theme’s code.
  • Inspect with Browser Developer Tools: Leverage browser developer tools to inspect the applied styles and identify any conflicts or missing CSS rules that might be causing display issues.

9. The Hook Misfire: When Your Custom Hook Doesn’t Fire

Liferay hooks allow you to extend Liferay’s functionality at specific points in the application lifecycle. Here’s how to debug hook-related problems:

  • Verify Hook Registration: Double-check that your hook class is properly registered in the liferay-hook.xml file and includes the correct events it intends to listen for.
  • Logging: Implement logging statements within your hook methods to track execution. This can help verify if the hook is being called at the expected time.
  • Conditional Logic: Ensure your hook logic only executes under specific conditions to avoid unexpected behavior.

10. Beyond the Basics: Utilizing Community Resources

The Liferay community is a valuable resource for troubleshooting challenges. Here’s how to tap into it:

  • Liferay Forums: The Liferay forums are a great place to search for solutions or post your specific development questions for help from experienced Liferay developers.
  • Liferay Stack Exchange: The Liferay Stack Exchange is a platform for asking and answering Liferay-related questions. Search for existing solutions or post your own query for community assistance.
  • Liferay Blogs and Articles: Numerous blogs and articles from Liferay enthusiasts and solution providers offer valuable insights and troubleshooting tips. Explore these resources to find solutions or gain a different perspective on your development challenges.

Remember, troubleshooting is an iterative process. By following these steps, systematically analyzing errors, and leveraging community resources, you’ll develop your debugging skills and become a more confident Liferay developer.

Bonus Tip for Liferay Troubleshooting: Embrace Version Control!

Using a version control system like Git allows you to track changes to your codebase, revert to working versions if needed, and collaborate effectively with other developers. This can significantly streamline troubleshooting and prevent issues during development.

This guide equips you with a solid foundation for tackling common Liferay development challenges. As you delve deeper into Liferay development, keep exploring the documentation, and experimenting, and don’t hesitate to seek help from the Liferay community. Happy Liferaying!

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Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !