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Troubleshooting guide

The build passes locally but fails on CircleCI

There are multiple potential causes for this behavior. Here is a compilation of the ones we see most frequently:

  • Different language version. Make sure that you are using the same version of the language on CircleCI and locally. Check out this documentation page for more details.
  • Different versions of packages you rely on. Try explicitly specifying the versions for the packages you are using in your build in your circle.yml. See the doc on installing custom software for more information on how to accomplish that.
  • Timezones. Some testing frameworks may have not timezone-aware modules, which in combination with unset machine timezone can deliver unexpected test failures. You can find an example for setting the timezone for your machine in this doc section.
  • File ordering. Some filesystems maintain an ordered file structure for every directory, which means that all the files are read in a consistent order every time. The filesystem in our build containers is not one of those. Therefore, if your tests rely on a certain autoload order, they may fail on CircleCI and pass locally. See this documentation page for more details.
  • Out Of Memory errors. If a process in your build container uses too much memory, it can be killed by Linux’s OOM killer. Check out this document to see how to deal with such errors.
  • Dependencies. Applications like Elasticsearch and PostgreSQL can take more time to spin up on CircleCI than they do on your local machine, so if you see test failures indicating that a similar application is not available, this might be the reason. Adding a script that actively waits for a database to get online might be a good idea.
  • Third parties. Your tests may assume that third-party services you are using are always up and running, which may not be the case. If you suspect this, it might be a good idea to check the status pages of the services you rely on.

If none of these is the reason

You can SSH into your build container to debug interactively while the build is still running. Consult this guide on using SSH access to learn more.

Please feel free to suggest additional points for this list by emailing us.