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Configuring Apache httpd

There are two approaches to bundling software for user installation.

"The MicroSoft way" is to use an install wizard that drops each of the elements of the software into the best operational place on the user's system, and configures it there for running straight away.

"The OpenSource way" is to install software into a specific area of the disc so that it can easily be adjusted, configured and experimented with ... without effecting other software on the computer, and giving the installer an "easy out" if he / she wants to try out an alternative.

But neither approach is ideal - I have painted a positive picture above, but I could equally have been negative and pointed out that Microsoft-style software is hard to fully remove later, and that Opensource-style software needs extra work to place certain elements of the software into the best operational areas. There is no ideal.

Yesterday, I was installing Apache httpd (and PHP, and MySQL too!) as part of some LAMP deployment training, and I made a few notes of some of the "gotcha"s / changes from the default install.

1. The server was built with --enable-so as that's a necessary option for the installation of PHP, something that you only discover later on in the process if you don't read right through at the start. (The full line we used was ./configure --enable-so --enable-rewrite --enable-proxy --enable-proxy-http --enable-proxy-balancer with the extra options preinstalled for other topics also to be covered)

2. The User and Group were changed from "daemon" to "apache" which is a daemon account that already exists on Red Hat / Fedora. (This is Apache httpd 2.2.x; under 2.0.x, the defaults of nobody / -1 are much more dangerous that daemon, and the change is all the more critical!) User accounts set up to be in group apache, which is used to set the permissions that the web server has over resources placed on the web site.

3. The Web site itself was moved from the default location in /usr/local/apache2 to /home/websites/default (that latter choice because we we going on to add virtual hosting and have just a tiny default site)

4. Log files moved to /var/log/httpd, and regular timed jobs under crontab set up for log file rotation.

5. apachectl copied to /etc/init.d and symbolic links set up to that file from /etc/rc3.d and /etc/rc5.d (to make the web server start automatically on reboot)

Some other things to note ...

a) You need to install MySQL before you install PHP on your LAMP setup - so that PHP can make use of the MySQL libraries as you load it. And being an Apache module, the PHP install must be after the httpd install.

b) Make sure that you make references to executable files you have just installed with a "dot-slash" in front of their names to run them in the current directory - otherwise you can end up running a version that was provided with the Linux distribution which probably won't be configured / tuned in exactly the way you want. Here's an example showing how forgetting the ./ can lead to the wrong server starting ...

[root@easterton bin]# ./apachectl start
[root@easterton bin]# ps aux | grep httpd
root 4144 0.0 0.1 4236 1944 ? Ss 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
apache 4145 0.0 0.1 4236 1408 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
apache 4146 0.0 0.1 4236 1408 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
apache 4147 0.0 0.1 4236 1408 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
apache 4148 0.0 0.1 4236 1408 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
apache 4149 0.0 0.1 4236 1408 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start
root 4151 0.0 0.0 3916 688 pts/1 S+ 10:04 0:00 grep httpd
[root@easterton bin]# ./apachectl stop
[root@easterton bin]# apachectl start
[root@easterton bin]# ps aux | grep httpd
root 4160 9.6 0.9 24588 9820 ? Ss 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4161 0.0 0.4 24720 4716 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4162 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4163 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4164 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4165 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4166 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4167 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
apache 4168 0.0 0.4 24720 4712 ? S 10:04 0:00 /usr/sbin/httpd -k start
root 4170 0.0 0.0 3920 688 pts/1 S+ 10:04 0:00 grep httpd
[root@easterton bin]# which apachectl
/usr/sbin/apachectl
aroot@easterton bin]#

(written 2008-07-12)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
A602 - Web Application Deployment - Apache httpd - Sourcing, Installation, Testing
  [4437] Adding a PHP build option, rotating an image based on camera data, and a new look at thumbnails in PHP - (2015-02-22)
  [3426] Automed web site testing scripted in Ruby using watir-webdriver - (2011-09-09)
  [2520] Global and Enable - two misused words! - (2009-11-30)
  [2184] Choosing the right version of Java and Tomcat - (2009-05-16)
  [2096] Where is my new Apache httpd installed - (2009-03-22)
  [2080] Using ApacheBench and jconsole to test and monitor Tomcat - (2009-03-14)
  [1945] Summary - Apache httpd build on Linux - (2008-12-14)
  [1768] What is built in to this httpd and PHP? - (2008-08-23)
  [1731] Apache httpd, MySQL, PHP - installation procedure - (2008-08-01)
  [1455] Connecting to MySQL 5 from PHP on Mac OSX Leopard - (2007-12-03)
  [1449] Upgrade Mac OSX to Leopard, Web Server Apache httpd config lost - (2007-11-29)
  [1292] DHCP automatic IP address v Static IP - (2007-08-06)
  [1095] Apache httpd , browser, MySQL and MySQL client downloads - (2007-02-28)
  [982] Notes from the white board - (2006-12-14)
  [907] Browser -> httpd -> Tomcat -> MySQL. Restarting. - (2006-10-28)
  [660] Stopping and restarting Apache httpd cleanly - (2006-03-29)
  [550] 2006 - Making business a pleasure - (2006-01-01)
  [526] Apache httpd - serving web documents from different directories - (2005-12-12)
  [523] Apache httpd release 2.2 - (2005-12-10)

A603 - Web Application Deployment - Further httpd Configuration
  [4307] Identifying and clearing denial of service attacks on your Apache server - (2014-09-27)
  [4001] Helping search engines with appropriate 400 error codes - (2013-02-11)
  [3955] Building up from a small PHP setup to an enterprise one - (2012-12-16)
  [3862] Forwarding a whole domain, except for a few directories - Apache http server - (2012-09-17)
  [3635] Parse error: parse error, unexpected T_STRING on brand new web site - why? - (2012-03-03)
  [3449] Apache Internal Dummy Connection - what is it and what should I do with it? - (2011-09-19)
  [3133] An image from a website that occasionally comes out as hyroglyphics - (2011-01-14)
  [2900] Redirecting a page - silent, temporary or permanent? - (2010-08-03)
  [2478] How did I do THAT? - (2009-10-26)
  [2272] Monitoring and loading tools for testing Apache Tomcat - (2009-07-07)
  [2060] Database connection Pooling, SSL, and command line deployment - httpd and Tomcat - (2009-03-01)
  [1974] Moving a directory on your web site - (2009-01-03)
  [1955] How to avoid duplicating web page maintainance - (2008-12-20)
  [1954] mod_rewrite for newcomers - (2008-12-20)
  [1939] mod_proxy_ajp and mod_proxy_balancer examples - (2008-12-13)
  [1778] Pointing all the web pages in a directory at a database - (2008-08-30)
  [1767] mod_proxy and mod_proxy_ajp - httpd - (2008-08-22)
  [1762] WEB-INF (Tomcat) and .htaccess (httpd) - (2008-08-20)
  [1636] What to do if the Home Page is missing - (2008-05-08)
  [1619] User and Group settings for Apache httpd web server - (2008-04-22)
  [1566] Strange behaviour of web directory requests without a trailing slash - (2008-03-06)
  [1564] Default file (MiMe types) for Apache httpd and Apache Tomcat - (2008-03-04)
  [1554] Online hotel reservations - Melksham, Wiltshire (near Bath) - (2008-02-24)
  [1551] Which modules are loaded in my Apache httpd - (2008-02-23)
  [1381] Using a MySQL database to control mod_rewrite via PHP - (2007-10-06)
  [1377] Load Balancing with Apache mod_jk (httpd/Tomcat) - (2007-10-02)
  [1355] .php or .html extension? Morally Static Pages - (2007-09-17)
  [1351] Compressing web pages sent out from server. Is it worth it? - (2007-09-14)
  [1207] Simple but effective use of mod_rewrite (Apache httpd) - (2007-05-27)
  [1121] Sharing the load with Apache httpd and perhaps Tomcat - (2007-03-29)
  [1080] httpd.conf or .htaccess? - (2007-02-14)
  [1009] Passing GET parameters through Apache mod_rewrite - (2006-12-27)
  [934] Clustering, load balancing, mod_rewrite and mod_proxy - (2006-11-21)
  [853] To list a directory under httpd on a web server, or not? - (2006-09-02)
  [755] Using different URLs to navigate around a single script - (2006-06-11)
  [662] An unhelpful error message from Apache httpd - (2006-03-30)
  [649] Denial of Service ''attack'' - (2006-03-17)
  [631] Apache httpd to Tomcat - jk v proxy - (2006-03-03)
  [466] Separating 'per instance' data from binaries and web sites - (2005-10-16)
  [345] Spotting a denial of service attack - (2005-06-12)


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