Used inside a cftry tag. Together, they catch and process exceptions in ColdFusion pages. Exceptions are events that disrupt the normal flow of instructions in a ColdFusion page, such as failed database operations, missing include files, and developer-specified events.


Exception handling tags


<cfcatch type = "exception type"> 
    Exception processing code here</cfcatch>

See also

cftry, cferror, cffinally, cfrethrow, cfthrow,onError; Handling Errors in the Developing ColdFusion Applications


ColdFusion MX:

  • Changed SQLSTATE value behavior: the SQLSTATE return value in a cfcatch tag depends on the database driver type:

    • Type 1 (JDBC-ODBC bridge): the value is the same as in ColdFusion 5.

    • Type 4 (100% Java, no native methods): the value might be different.

    If your application depends on SQLSTATE values for flow control, the application might produce unexpected behavior with ColdFusion MX.

  • Changed the behavior of this tag when type="any": it is not necessary, when you include a cfcatch tag with type="any", to do so in the last cfcatch tag in the block, to ensure that all other tests are executed before it. ColdFusion finds the best-match cfcatch block.

  • Changed the behavior of the cfscript tag: it includes try and catch statements that are equivalent to the cftry and cfcatch tags.

  • Changed object modification: you cannot modify the object returned by cfcatch.

  • Changed thrown exceptions: the cfcollection, cfindex, and cfsearch tags can throw the SEARCHENGINE exception. In earlier releases, an error in processing these tags threw only an UNKNOWN exception.









  • application: catches application exceptions

  • database: catches database exceptions

  • template: catches ColdFusion page exceptions

  • security: catches security exceptions

  • object: catches object exceptions

  • missingInclude: catches missing include file exceptions

  • expression: catches expression exceptions

  • lock: catches lock exceptions

  • custom_type: catches the specified custom exception type that is defined in a cfthrow tag

  • searchengine: catches Verity search engine exceptions

  • any: catches all exception types


You must code at least one cfcatch tag within a cftry block. Put cfcatch tags at the end of a cftry block. ColdFusion tests cfcatch tags in the order in which they appear. This tag requires an end tag.

If type="any", ColdFusion catches exceptions from any CFML tag, data source, or external object. To get the exception type use code such as the following:


Applications can use the cfthrow tag to throw developer-defined exceptions. Catch these exceptions with any of these type options:

  • "custom_type"

  • "Application"

  • "Any"

The custom_type type is a developer-defined type specified in a cfthrow tag. If you define a custom type as a series of strings concatenated by periods (for example, "MyApp.BusinessRuleException.InvalidAccount"), ColdFusion can catch the custom type by its character pattern. ColdFusion searches for a cfcatch tag in the cftry block with a matching exception type, starting with the most specific (the entire string), and ending with the least specific.

For example, you could define a type as follows:

<cfthrow type = "MyApp.BusinessRuleException.InvalidAccount">

If you have the following cfcatch tag, it handles the exception:

<cfcatch type = "MyApp.BusinessRuleException.InvalidAccount"> 

Otherwise, if you have the following cfcatch tag, it handles the exception:

<cfcatch type = "MyApp.BusinessRuleException"> 

Finally, if you have the following cfcatch tag, it handles the exception:

<cfcatch type = "MyApp"> 

You can code cfcatch tags in any order to catch a custom exception type.

If you specify type = "Application", the cfcatch tag catches only custom exceptions that have the Application type in the cfthrow tag that defines them.

The cfinclude, cfmodule, and cferror tags throw an exception of type = "template".

An exception that is thrown within a cfcatch block cannot be handled by the cftry block that immediately encloses the cfcatch tag. However, you can rethrow the currently active exception with the cfrethrow tag.

The cfcatch variables provide the following exception information:

cfcatch variable



Type: Exception type, as specified in cfcatch.


Message: Exception’s diagnostic message, if provided; otherwise, an empty string; in the cfcatch.message variable.


Detailed message from the CFML interpreter or specified in a cfthrow tag. When the exception is generated by ColdFusion (and not cfthrow), the message can contain HTML formatting and can help determine which tag threw the exception.


An array of tag context structures, each representing one level of the active tag context at the time of the exception.


Applies to type="database". Native error code associated with exception. Database drivers typically provide error codes to diagnose failing database operations. Default value is -1.


Applies to type="database". SQLState associated with exception. Database drivers typically provide error codes to help diagnose failing database operations. Default value is ‑1.


Applies to type="database". The SQL statement sent to the data source.


Applies to type="database". The error message as reported by the database driver.


Applies to type="database". If the query uses the cfqueryparam tag, query parameter name-value pairs.


Applies to type="expression". Internal expression error number.


Applies to type="missingInclude". Name of file that could not be included.


Applies to type="lock". Name of affected lock (if the lock is unnamed, the value is "anonymous").


Applies to type="lock". Operation that failed (Timeout, Create Mutex, or Unknown).


Applies to type="custom". String error code.


Applies to type="application" and "custom". Custom error message; information that the default exception handler does not display.


<!--- The cfcatch example that uses TagContext to display the tag stack. ---> 
<h3>cftry Example</h3> 
<!--- Open a cftry block. ---> 
    <!--- Notice misspelled tablename "employees" as "employeeas". ---> 
    <cfquery name = "TestQuery" dataSource = "cfdocexamples"> 
        SELECT * 
        FROM employees 
    <!--- Other processing goes here. ---> 
    <!--- Specify the type of error for which we search. ---> 
    <cfcatch type = "Database"> 
        <!--- The message to display. ---> 
        <h3>You've Thrown a Database <b>Error</b></h3> 
            <!--- The diagnostic message from ColdFusion. ---> 
            <p>Caught an exception, type = #CFCATCH.TYPE#</p> 
            <p>The contents of the tag stack are:</p> 
            <cfdump var="#cfcatch.tagcontext#">