How to Configure Apache Web Server on Linux

July 26, 2009 by 
Filed under: HowTolinuxweb development

I’ve shown previously how to install a LAMP server in Ubuntu. If the purpose of your LAMP installation was to set up your own web development environment, then you may want to do some further configuration to your system. ThisApache howto is not intended to cover Apache configuration in depth. This is just some basic configuration to help you set up a web development environment in Linux. For more information, see theofficial Apache documentation.

Why Change the Apache Configuration?

By default, Apache is set up for your web site’s files to be in the /var/www directory. This is fine if you only want to work on one website and access it through http://localhost/. But what if you want to work on several websites at the same time? Well, one solution is to create different directories under/var/www like /var/www/site1 and then access it through http://localhost/site1/. I prefer a more elegant solution.

I prefer to build websites in a directory under my own ID. I can then configure the Apache http server to point to the site directories with URLs like http://site1/http://site2/, etc.

Creating a Web Development Directory

Lets start off by creating a folder structure for the development environment. You can do this from your file manager. I prefer the terminal.

mkdir webdev
cd webdev
mkdir site1 site2[/code]
We now have a directory called webdev under our home directory. Within the webdev directory are two directories called site1 and site2.

Create Some Test Files

Now we're going to create some basic test files so that we know our Apache configuration worked. Again, I'm going to use the terminal to create these files, but feel free to use your favorite text editor.

cd ~/webdev/site1
echo 'Site1 works!' > index.html
cd ../site2
echo 'Site2 works!' > index.html

Enable the Sites in Apache

OK, we're now ready to do the actual Apache configuration. Go to /etc/apache2/sites-available.

cd /etc/apache2/sites-available

As root, copy the default file as site1.

sudo cp default site1

Repeat the process to create a site2 file.

As root, edit the site1 configuration file.

sudo nano site1[/code]

Edit the file to look like this (the changes are in bold).

ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName site1

DocumentRoot /home/yourID/webdev/site1/

Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/

AllowOverride None
Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log

# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
LogLevel warn

CustomLog /var/log/apache2/access.log combined

Alias /doc/ "/usr/share/doc/"

Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride None
Order deny,allow
Deny from all
Allow from ::1/128


Note: The line that changes AllowOverride None to AllowOverride All is required if you want to enable URL re-writes through a .htaccess file. You need this if you want to utilize pretty permalinks in WordPress.

You now need to enable your new site.

sudo a2ensite site1

You should get a message telling you that you need to reload Apache to activate the new configuration. But first you need to edit your /etc/hosts file.

sudo nano /etc/hosts

Edit the first line adding site1 to the end of the line so it looks something like this and save the file. localhost site1[/code]

You can now reload Apache.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload

Site1 is now enabled. Check it by browsing to http://site1/. If everything worked right, you should see a web page that says "Site1 works!"

Repeat the procedure to enable site2, etc.

Edit 12-Dec-09
If you get an error like “apache2: Could not determine the server’s fully qualified domain name, using for localhost,” you can fix it with this command.

echo "ServerName localhost" | sudo tee /etc/apache2/conf.d/fqdn[/code]

Then, reload Apache to eliminate the error.

sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 reload[/code]