What should you do if you get an error similar to the below when starting geth?

Fatal: Error starting protocol stack: Access is denied.

2 Answers 2


This occurs when you have another instance of geth already running.

Use your Operating System's process handler to end the process if there are no visible windows.

This happened to me when I started (and then closed) mist before I had set a private network running.

  • Ubuntu 18.04: I don't have another instance of Geth already running, but I get this error.
    – Andyc
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 9:39

You can have multiple instances of Geth on different ports using the --port flag, and to solve the error message above, just run all Geth instances with the --ipcdisable flag.

Note: ipcdisable is going to disable IPC communication, which is not required if you are using JSON RPC.

  • This didn't work for me, unfortunately.
    – Andyc
    Commented Jul 14, 2021 at 9:40

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