Tips on How to Install Apache on Linux

The process isn't as hard as you think

Localhost Screenshot
Localhost Screenshot. Jennifer Kyrnin

So you have a website, but now you need a platform to host it on. You could use one of the many website hosting providers out there, or you could try to host your website yourself with your own web server.

Since Apache is free, it's one of the most popular web servers to install. It also has several features that make it useful for many different types of websites. So, what is Apache? In a nutshell, it is a server used for everything from personal web pages to enterprise level sites.

It is as versatile as it is popular.

You will be able to get the facts on how to install Apache on a Linux system with this article's overview. Before you begin, however, you should at least be comfortable working in Linux - including being able to change directories, using tar and gunzip and compiling with make (I'll discuss where to get binaries if you don't want to try compiling your own). You should also have access to the root account on the server machine. Again, if this confuses you, you can always turn to a commodity hosting provider instead of doing it yourself.

Download Apache

I recommend downloading the latest stable release of Apache as you begin. The best place to get Apache is from the Apache HTTP Server download site. Download the source files appropriate to your system. Binary releases for some operating systems are available from this site as well.

Extract the Apache Files

Once you've downloaded the files you will need to uncompress them:

gunzip -d httpd-2_0_NN.tar.gz
tar xvf httpd-2_0_NN.tar

This creates a new directory under the current directory with the source files.

Configuring Your Server for Apache

Once you have the files available, you need to instruct your machine where to find everything by configuring the source files. The easiest way to do this is to accept all the defaults and just type:

./configure

Of course, most people don't want to accept just the default choices that are presented to them. The most important option is the prefix=PREFIX option. This specifies the directory where the Apache files will be installed. You can also set specific environment variables and modules. Some of the modules I like to have installed include:

  • mod_alias - to map different parts of the URL tree
  • mod_include - to parse Server Side Includes
  • mod_mime - to associate file extensions with its MIME-type
  • mod_rewrite - to rewrite URLs on the fly
  • mod_speling (sic) - to help your readers who might misspell URLs
  • mod_ssl - to allow for strong cryptography using SSL
  • mod_userdir - to allow system users to have their own web page directories

Please keep in mind that these aren't all the modules I might install on a given system - the particular project will depend on what I install, but this above list is a good starting point. Read more about the details about the modules to determine which ones you need.

Build Apache

As with any source installation, you'll then need to build the installation:

make
make install

Customize Apache

Assuming that there were no problems with your install and build, you are ready to customize your Apache configuration.

This really just amounts to editing the httpd.conf file. This file is located in the PREFIX/conf directory. I generally edit it with text editor.

vi PREFIX/conf/httpd.conf

Note: you'll need to be root to edit this file.

Follow the instructions in this file to edit your configuration the way you want it. More help is available on the Apache website. You can always turn to that site for additional information and resources.

Test Your Apache Server

Open a web browser on the same machine and type http://localhost/ in the address box. You should see a page similar to the one in the partial screen shot above (the image that accompanies this article). It will say in big letters "Seeing this instead of the website you expected?" This is good news, as it means your server is installed correctly.

Start Editing/Uploading Pages to Your Newly Installed Apache Web Server

Once your server is up and running you can start posting pages.

Have fun building your website!

Original article by Jennifer Krynin. Edited by Jeremy Girard on 6/8/17

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Kyrnin, Jennifer. "Tips on How to Install Apache on Linux." ThoughtCo, Jun. 8, 2017, thoughtco.com/tips-on-installing-apache-on-linux-3464022. Kyrnin, Jennifer. (2017, June 8). Tips on How to Install Apache on Linux. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-on-installing-apache-on-linux-3464022 Kyrnin, Jennifer. "Tips on How to Install Apache on Linux." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/tips-on-installing-apache-on-linux-3464022 (accessed November 20, 2017).