Can't run Confluence due to com.atlassian.config.ConfigurationException: Failed to parse config file

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After changes in Confluence's MySQL database URL, Confluence is not running and following appears in the catalina.out:

2015-03-24 07:45:29,857 ERROR [localhost-startStop-1] [atlassian.config.bootstrap.DefaultAtlassianBootstrapManager] init Home is not configured properly: 
com.atlassian.config.ConfigurationException: Failed to parse config file: Error on line 23 of document  : The reference to entity "zeroDateTimeBehavior" must end with the ';' delimiter. Nested exception: The reference to entity "zeroDateTimeBehavior" must end with the ';' delimiter.
	at com.atlassian.config.xml.DefaultDom4jXmlConfigurationPersister.load(
	at com.atlassian.config.xml.DefaultDom4jXmlConfigurationPersister.load(
	at com.atlassian.config.ApplicationConfig.load(
	at com.atlassian.config.bootstrap.DefaultAtlassianBootstrapManager.init(
	at com.atlassian.config.util.BootstrapUtils.init(
	at com.atlassian.confluence.setup.ConfluenceConfigurationListener.initialiseBootstrapContext(
	at com.atlassian.confluence.setup.ConfluenceConfigurationListener.contextInitialized(
	at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext.listenerStart(
	at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardContext.startInternal(
	at org.apache.catalina.util.LifecycleBase.start(
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase$
	at org.apache.catalina.core.ContainerBase$
	at java.util.concurrent.FutureTask$Sync.innerRun(Unknown Source)
	at Source)
	at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor.runWorker(Unknown Source)
	at java.util.concurrent.ThreadPoolExecutor$ Source)
	at Source)
Caused by: org.dom4j.DocumentException: Error on line 23 of document  : The reference to entity "zeroDateTimeBehavior" must end with the ';' delimiter. Nested exception: The reference to entity "zeroDateTimeBehavior" must end with the ';' delimiter.
	at com.atlassian.config.xml.AbstractDom4jXmlConfigurationPersister.loadDocument(
	at com.atlassian.config.xml.DefaultDom4jXmlConfigurationPersister.load(
	... 16 more


Confluence can't start due to the special character in the XML file (&). In above scenario, there is a delimiter ';' before zeroDateTimeBehavior entity.

This has also been observed when special characters are present in the database password string:  hibernate.connection.password


  1. Shut down Confluence.
  2. Open confluence.cfg.xml in text editor.
  3. Shut down Confluence.
  4. Edit <confluence-home>/confluence.cfg.xml file and change the "hibernate.connection.url" and remove '&' from the URL:


    (info) Please replace <EntityFromError> to your entity.

  5. Start Confluence.
  6. Clear Confluence plugins cache.
  7. Try to generate backup.

Last modified on Jun 26, 2020

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