FMS 20.3.2 WebDirect and External Data Source not found

We ran into an issue after upgrading our FileMaker Server to 20.3.2 (from version 18). WebDirect was failing frequently. The symptoms:

  • in the browser, the webDirect page would show "External Data Source Not Found", fields would show <FIELD MISSING> and buttons and scripts on the web page would stop functioning.
  • in the Events.log, we would see this:
    2024-02-27 15:10:31.192 -0800 Warning 30 Client "[WebDirect-38B00] (x.x.32.1) [x.x.32.1]" no longer responding; connection closed. (10)

The problem:

  • the old FMS18 server had several ODBC External Data sources which pointed to databases which were no longer online. These were obsolete and no longer used, but did not cause any issues.
  • when we upgraded the server, we did not bother setting up ODBC at all on the new server, since we were not using it
  • as a result, we had several External Data Sources which were configured as ODBC data sources, but now the DSNs were missing entirely.
  • this did not affect normal FileMaker Pro / FMS operation, but WebDirect did not like it.

The solution:

  • From Manage External Data Sources we deleted the obsolete ODBC data sources. This did not immediately fix the issue.
  • We rebooted the server.

After this point, WebDirect started working normally, and we no longer saw the errors and disconnections.