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Why do I get License Manager Error -96?

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Why do I get the following error? 
ERROR: License checkout failed. Server node is down or not responding. License Manager Error -96

Accepted Answer

MathWorks Support Team
MathWorks Support Team on 23 Jul 2021
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 23 Jul 2021
This error message indicates that there is a problem resolving the hostname of the license manager machine. The license server's hostname must be resolvable for MATLAB to connect to it. 
This article will provide information on:
  • How to test the Hostname Resolution
  • Ping Failed Possible Solutions
  • Ping Successful Possible Solution

How to test the Hostname Resolution

Note: If you are working remotely and your organization requires a VPN, please ensure you are connected to the VPN, then attempt to start MATLAB before continuing.
To test the hostname, we need to use the ping application, which is a command line utility:
  • On Windows 10, press the Windows key to invoke a global search, and then type in "cmd" to open Command Prompt.
  • On Mac OS X, launch the application "Terminal.app," located in the /Applications/Utilities folder.
  • On Linux distributions, launch Terminal.
After launching the command line interface, enter this command:
ping <hostname>
where <hostname> is the hostname of the license server as it appears on the SERVER line of your license file. The license file is named network.lic and is found under $MATLAB/licenses where $MATLAB is your root MATLAB installation directory.
If the output of the above command comes back as 'unreachable' or 'unresolvable', then proceed to the Ping Failed Possible Solutions below.  If the ping is successful and you are still unable to connect, proceed to the Ping Successful Possible Solution below. 

Ping Failed Possible Solutions

1) The best way to resolve the network connection issue is to contact your System Administrator.
2) Alternatively, if you are unable to resolve the hostname of the license server, but can ping the IP Address of the license server, you can replace hostname in the SERVER line of your local license with the IP Address of the license server. To do so:
  1. Navigate to $MATLAB/licenses on your machine.
  2. Open network.lic with WordPad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac). Do not open the file with Notepad.
  3. In the SERVER line, the second item is the hostname. Replace this with the IP address.
  4. Save the file and launch MATLAB to test if MATLAB was able to connect to the license server.
NOTE: If your license server does not have a static IP, then this workaround will stop working when the DHCP lease is updated. You should contact your license administrator to try and resolve the issue with hostname resolution if your license server does not have a static IP.

Ping Successful Possible Solution

If MATLAB is still unable to connect to the license server even though you can ping it successfully, there may be one or more firewalls blocking the connection between the MATLAB client and the MATLAB license server. The network license manager communicates on two ports that must be opened through the firewall(s). If there is a firewall running, contact your System Administrator to open the necessary ports in the firewall.
For more information about the port the license manager uses, see the following Article:
For more information about checking your ports::
  13 Comments
Naif Alsalem
Naif Alsalem on 25 Mar 2020
Thank you very much! I just pinged my hostname and got the echo back. Then I modified my netowrk.lic file by replacing the host name with the ID address of the hostname and saved the file.
I launched it again and it worked just fantasticily

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More Answers (15)

Dharmeshkumar Patadiya
Dharmeshkumar Patadiya on 2 Oct 2014
I am using Matlab R2014a on Ubuntu 12.04 machine in my laboratory. Matlab is provided in my laboratory through institute's central computing department. Matlab was working fine on my computer but it suddenly stopped functioning. I received following error message.
$ matlab
License checkout failed.
License Manager Error -96
MATLAB is unable to connect to the license server.
Make sure that the MATLAB client machine can communicate with the hostname listed in the SERVER line
of the license file, and that the port listed in the SERVER line is not blocked by a firewall.
Troubleshoot this issue by visiting:
http://www.mathworks.com/support/lme/R2014a/96
Diagnostic Information:
Feature: MATLAB
License path: /home/dharmesh/.matlab/R2014a_licenses:/usr/local/MATLAB/R2014a/licenses/license.dat:/usr/local/ MATL
AB/R2014a/licenses/network.lic
Licensing error: -96,7. System Error: 2
$
I visited the link mentioned in error message. I opened network.lic file. It reads
SERVER sunlx2_17 00E0815E826E 27000
USE_SERVER
I followed the procedure suggested:
$ ping sunlx2_17
ping: unknown host sunlx2_17
$
It is working fine with other computers in my laboratory.
  3 Comments
Colin Fraser
Colin Fraser on 9 Dec 2020
If you are still experiencing this issue, please create a service request below.
-Colin Fraser

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Juan Britz
Juan Britz on 29 Sep 2016
Edited: Juan Britz on 29 Sep 2016
I am using Windows 10, and have access to an academic license server. I originally got this error and resolved it as follows:
  1. Move the license.lic or license.dat file into the %Matlab\licenses folder.
  2. This file should be with the network.lic file.
  3. I pinged the server address, (ex. RE412251) and got no response
  4. Contacted admin and got the actual IP address of the server, (ex. 146.000.000.01)
  5. Pinged the server IP instead, got a response
  6. Changed server address in network.lic and license.lic files to IP address (RE412251 to 146.000 etc.)
This seemed to work, which may be mean it's a windows thing or perhaps it was just my network being fickle.

Emad Eiisa
Emad Eiisa on 19 May 2020
Edited: Emad Eiisa on 19 May 2020
I got the same error I just had to connect to my school VPN since the license bought under school name, so if you have the same situation log in to the owner VPN and you will be good to go.

randy mada
randy mada on 8 Jan 2015
I am using Matlab R2013a on windows 7. I use matlab for data processing of my research focuses on fuzzy logic and its application to the determination of the amount. In the install process goes well but when it finishes installing and want me to open, a message like above.
License checkout failed.
License Manager Error -96
MATLAB is unable to connect to the license server.
Make sure that the MATLAB client machine can communicate with the hostname listed in the SERVER line
of the license file, and that the port listed in the SERVER line is not blocked by a firewall.
Troubleshoot this issue by visiting:
http://www.mathworks.com/support/lme/R2014a/96
Diagnostic Information:
Feature: MATLAB
License path: /home/dharmesh/.matlab/R2014a_licenses:/usr/local/MATLAB/R2014a/licenses/license.dat:/usr/local/ MATL
AB/R2014a/licenses/network.lic
Licensing error: -96,7. System Error: 2
Like Dharmeshkumar Patadiya, I visited the link mentioned in error message. I opened network.lic file. It reads
SERVER sunlx2_17 00E0815E826E 27000
USE_SERVER
I followed the procedure suggested:
ping sunlx2_17
and when i clicking the enter emerging
ping request could not find host sunlx2_17. Please check the name and try again.
I tried to find another solution, and I get the following ways:
I tried to follow the command and the response I get is:
please help me...

Christopher Andrews
Christopher Andrews on 16 Feb 2015
The ping test just means you can get tot he the server, you will also need to test the port access. On a Windows computer you can use the Telnet Client to test this (this might need to installed, see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc771275(v=ws.10).aspx) then you need to use the license server name and port from the license file you have been given. Start a cmd window and type:
telnet servername serverport
For example:
telnet matlablicensing 27000
You will either get:
  • A blank screen - this is a successful connection, no firewalls in the way
  • "Connecting To matlablicensing ...Could not open connection to the host, on port 27000: Connect failed" - you have the wrong port or there is a firewall blocking you.
Even after getting the firewall port working, you could still get the -96 error. The Flexera licensing software that MathWorks uses is very picky. The following line from the MathWorks answer is super important:
"2. Open network.lic with WordPad (Windows) or TextEdit (Mac). Do not open the file with Notepad."
Notepad and Wordpad use different kinds of line breaks. I had to open my network.lic file on my client with Wordpad and then save it. I made no changes to the contents. Suddenly MatLab works correctly and can talk to the license server. May be MathWorks could generate a better error message. It would be trivial for them to code a ping check, port check and line break check of the license file. Also may be talk to Flexera about this issue and

Ricardo Terini
Ricardo Terini on 3 Mar 2016
I am trying to use Mathlab R2015a-win64, but I am having troubles with licence.
I tried to use HOST adress from network.lic file, like explained before. Image shows what I get...
So, what can I do now ?

Mukesh Jadhav
Mukesh Jadhav on 9 Oct 2016
your matlab might be instolled on server if their are comes on clients , restart server to solve the problem. otherwise reinstolled matlab on client, make sure that you not use creak version of matlab

Awik Dhar
Awik Dhar on 16 May 2019
Edited: MathWorks Support Team on 18 Jun 2019
I used a guide to edit the 'hosts' file in C:\WINDOWS\System32\drivers\etc\hosts
Added the line : 10.0.137.114 WIN-M5CNITGRVDB at the end
Could be different for you.
It works now.

ayudita ardila
ayudita ardila on 30 Apr 2020
licence manager error-96
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 30 Apr 2020
The reasons are explained above, along with debugging steps and solutions. What did you find when you used the debugging steps described?

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Robert Plemmons
Robert Plemmons on 28 Sep 2020
VPN needs to be updated on my computer.

BHULI DHAKER
BHULI DHAKER on 31 Oct 2020
Error using ==> open at 164 invalid figure file format
  1 Comment
BHULI DHAKER
BHULI DHAKER on 31 Oct 2020
please how to remove this problem help me

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Sabelo Mthembu
Sabelo Mthembu on 12 Dec 2020
Matlab doesnt wanna open it say troubleshoot licence

RAMKHELAVAN KANAUJIYA
RAMKHELAVAN KANAUJIYA on 17 Feb 2021
mathwork support
  1 Comment
Walter Roberson
Walter Roberson on 17 Feb 2021
This is not an official support venue. You should contact Mathworks Support for free license assistance.

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Andy Turner
Andy Turner on 15 Sep 2021 at 10:23
Just to add some help. While im relatively new to linux we installed the lmtools onto a centos7 server. We initially got a -96 error on the initial machine we installed MatLab. I installed it onto my own workstation to test (im a sys admin so didnt actually need it!). I got a -15 error with slightly different text. The fix for us was DNS name resolution. While we assumed our server was called (for example "centos") the DNS resolution was not dynamic so after speaking to our network admin he informed me that the server had a different name so we had an addtitional dns entry to line up with the licence file. Ironically when we tried to switch to the ip in the licence config file that didnt work. Hope this helps someone out there...

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