Over in the Development Environment section we described the “happy path” of when everything goes right as you set up your Dataverse development environment. Here are some common problems and solutions for when things go wrong.

context-root in glassfish-web.xml Munged by Netbeans

For unknown reasons, Netbeans will sometimes change the following line under src/main/webapp/WEB-INF/glassfish-web.xml:


Sometimes Netbeans will change / to /dataverse. Sometimes it will delete the line entirely. Either way, you will see very strange behavior when attempting to click around Dataverse in a browser. The homepage will load but icons will be missing. Any other page will fail to load entirely and you’ll see a Glassfish error.

The solution is to put the file back to how it was before Netbeans touched it. If anyone knows of an open Netbeans bug about this, please let us know.

Configuring / Troubleshooting Mail Host

If you have trouble with the SMTP server, consider editing the install script to disable the SMTP check.

Out of the box, no emails will be sent from your development environment. This is because you have to set the :SystemEmail setting and make sure you’ve configured your SMTP server correctly.

You can configure :SystemEmail like this:

curl -X PUT -d 'Davisverse SWAT Team <>' http://localhost:8080/api/admin/settings/:SystemEmail

Unfortunately for developers not at Harvard, the installer script gives you by default an SMTP server of but you can specify an alternative SMTP server when you run the installer.

You can check the current SMTP server with the asadmin command:

./asadmin get server.resources.mail-resource.mail/

This command helps verify what host your domain is using to send mail. Even if it’s the correct hostname, you may still need to adjust settings. If all else fails, there are some free SMTP service options available such as Gmail and MailGun. This can be configured from the GlassFish console or the command line.

  1. First, navigate to your Glassfish admin console: http://localhost:4848
  2. From the left-side panel, select JavaMail Sessions
  3. You should see one session named mail/notifyMailSession – click on that.

From this window you can modify certain fields of your Dataverse’s notifyMailSession, which is the JavaMail session for outgoing system email (such as on user signup or data publication). Two of the most important fields we need are:

  • Mail Host: The DNS name of the default mail server (e.g.
  • Default User: The username provided to your Mail Host when you connect to it (e.g.

Most of the other defaults can safely be left as is. Default Sender Address indicates the address that your installation’s emails are sent from.

If your user credentials for the SMTP server require a password, you’ll need to configure some Additional Properties at the bottom.

IMPORTANT: Before continuing, it’s highly recommended that your Default User account does NOT use a password you share with other accounts, as one of the additional properties includes entering the Default User’s password (without concealing it on screen). For you can safely use an app password or create an extra Gmail account for use with your Dataverse dev environment.

Authenticating yourself to a Mail Host can be tricky. As an example, we’ll walk through setting up our JavaMail Session to use as a host by way of SSL on port 465. Use the Add Property button to generate a blank property for each name/value pair.

Name Value
mail.smtp.auth true
mail.smtp.password [user’s (app) password*]
mail.smtp.port 465
mail.smtp.socketFactory.port 465
mail.smtp.socketFactory.fallback false

*WARNING: Entering a password here will not conceal it on-screen. It’s recommended to use an app password (for users) or utilize a dedicated/non-personal user account with SMTP server auths so that you do not risk compromising your password.

Save these changes at the top of the page and restart your Glassfish server to try it out.

The mail session can also be set from command line. To use this method, you will need to delete your notifyMailSession and create a new one. See the below example:

  • Delete: ./asadmin delete-javamail-resource mail/MyMailSession
  • Create (remove brackets and replace the variables inside): ./asadmin create-javamail-resource --mailhost [] --mailuser [test\@test\.com] --fromaddress [test\@test\.com] --property mail.smtp.auth=[true]:mail.smtp.password=[password]:mail.smtp.port=[465]:mail.smtp.socketFactory.port=[465]:mail.smtp.socketFactory.fallback=[false]:mail.smtp.socketFactory.class=[] mail/notifyMailSession

These properties can be tailored to your own preferred mail service, but if all else fails these settings work fine with Dataverse development environments for your localhost.

  • If you’re seeing a “Relay access denied” error in your Glassfish logs when your app attempts to send an email, double check your user/password credentials for the Mail Host you’re using.
  • If you’re seeing a “Connection refused” / similar error upon email sending, try another port.

As another example, here is how to create a Mail Host via command line for Amazon SES:

  • Delete: ./asadmin delete-javamail-resource mail/MyMailSession
  • Create (remove brackets and replace the variables inside): ./asadmin create-javamail-resource --mailhost --mailuser [test\@test\.com] --fromaddress [test\@test\.com] --transprotocol aws --transprotocolclass --property mail.smtp.auth=true:mail.smtp.user=[aws_access_key]:mail.smtp.password=[aws_secret_key]:mail.transport.protocol=smtp:mail.smtp.port=587:mail.smtp.starttls.enable=true mail/notifyMailSession

Rebuilding Your Dev Environment

If you have an old copy of the database and old Solr data and want to start fresh, here are the recommended steps:

  • drop your old database
  • clear out your existing Solr index: scripts/search/clear
  • run the installer script above - it will create the db, deploy the app, populate the db with reference data and run all the scripts that create the domain metadata fields. You no longer need to perform these steps separately.
  • confirm you are using the latest Dataverse-specific Solr schema.xml
  • confirm http://localhost:8080 is up
  • If you want to set some dataset-specific facets, go to the root dataverse (or any dataverse; the selections can be inherited) and click “General Information” and make choices under “Select Facets”. There is a ticket to automate this:

You may also find and related scripts interesting because they demonstrate how we have at least partially automated the process of tearing down a Dataverse installation and having it rise again, hence the name “phoenix.” See also “Fresh Reinstall” in the Installation section of the Installation Guide.


If you are seeing Response code: 400, [url] domain of URL is not allowed it’s probably because your dataverse.siteUrl JVM option is unset or set to localhost (-Ddataverse.siteUrl=http://localhost:8080). You can try something like this:

./asadmin delete-jvm-options '-Ddataverse.siteUrl=http\://localhost\:8080'

./asadmin create-jvm-options '-Ddataverse.siteUrl=http\://'

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