| ## Web Server Installation and Configuration
## Jim Mock <>
Okay, so you've got a system, and you've installed FreeBSD on it, and
now you want to make it a web server. The most common web server is
, which is the server I'll be
discussing in this article.
The easiest way to install the Apache server is from the ports
collection. If you haven't got the ports collection installed, run
/stand/sysinstall (as root) from the prompt, choose Configure, then
Distributions, and scroll down through the distributions until you get
to ports, and click the space bar to check it. Scroll down to Exit
this menu (returning to previous). You'll then be asked to choose
the installation media. If you have the cd's from Walnut Creek, put
the proper disk in your cd-rom drive and choose the cd-rom install.
If you don't have a FreeBSD cd, choose one of the other options, FTP
would probably be the most common choice. Next you'll be asked to
choose an FTP distribution site. Choose the one closest to you. If
your machine is already set up and you just didn't install the ports
collection during the FreeBSD install, you'll get a message saying
"Running multi-user, assume that the network is already configured",
choose yes, and you should be well on your way. If you have problems,
see the .
After the ports collection is installed, or if you already had it
installed previously, it's time to install Apache. The first thing
you'll want to do is go to the /usr/ports/www directory..
[root@hendrix:~]# cd /usr/ports/www
Next you'll want to "make" Apache..
[root@hendrix:/usr/ports/www]# make apache13
Once the port is done compiling and you're sent back to the prompt,
it's time to install it..
[root@hendrix:/usr/ports/www]# cd apache13
[root@hendrix:/usr/ports/www/apache13]# make install
Okay, Apache is now installed. The next thing you'll need to do is
configure it. To start the configuration, you'll need to be in the
directory where Apache was installed. With the version I have
installed, it's /usr/local/etc/apache. If that directory doesn't
exist, you can do a find for the conf files. From the prompt, type
[root@hendrix:~]# find / -name httpd.conf -print
That'll give you the directory where httpd.conf is located. Change to
that directory and once you're in it, type ls to see if the other
Apache configuration files are there as they should be..
access.conf-dist httpd.conf-dist srm.conf-dist mime.types-dist
A good idea would be to keep a copy of the dist-files even though it's
not necessary. I usually make a dist_files directory and copy all of
[root@hendrix:/usr/local/etc/apache]# mkdir dist_files
[root@hendrix:/usr/local/etc/apache]# cp *-dist dist_files
The next thing you'll want to do is rename all of the *-dist files to
access.conf, httpd.conf, srm.conf, and mime-types..
[root@hendrix:/usr/local/etc/apache]# mv access.conf-dist access.conf
Do the same with the remaining three files. Now it's time to edit the
conf files, in this case, I'll only show httpd.conf (the main
configuration file) for space reasons. See for more info. Open up httpd.conf with your
favorite editor. I use pico, so at the prompt I'd type..
[root@hendrix:/usr/local/etc/apache]# pico httpd.conf
Once you have it opened up, scroll down until you find the following..
# ServerType is either inetd, or standalone.
You'll most likely want to keep that as is, unless you want to run
Apache from inetd for some reason. Let's assume that we keep it set
to standalone. Underneath those lines, you'll be able to set the port
number you wish Apache to listen on. The default is 80. We'll leave
that as is too.
The next part you'll see is HostnameLookups. This is set to off by
default. If you want Apache to log the names of clients instead of
their ip numbers, turn this on. For example, phrantic.phear.net (on),
or 22.214.171.124 (off).
After the HostnameLookups are the User and Group. The defaults are..
We'll leave those as is for the example. You can also create a
separate user and group that you'd like Apache to run as. For
example, www. If you do decide to run it as a different user and
group, you'll have to initially start httpd as root and then it'll
Next is ServerAdmin. Set this to the address where problems with the
server should be mailed. Example, [email protected], where
foo.bar.com is your domain.
After setting the ServerAdmin, the next question is the ServerRoot.
The default should be /usr/local. We'll leave it as that.
The next few sections deal with logging. The comments in the
httpd.conf file are self-explanatory and the default values for each
should be fine. If you'd like more detailed logs, visit
for more logging
After logging, the next few sections should be ok set to the defaults.
They are PidFile, ScoreBoardFile, and LockFile.
The next section is important. It is where you'll specify the name
you want your web server to run as. For example, on one of my
machines, the hostname is phrantic.phear.net, but I want to run Apache
so when people go to my web site they can go to www.phear.net instead
of phrantic.phear.net. I'd specify this in the ServerName section..
ServerName www.foo.com (where foo is your domain)
You cannot just invent hostnames! The name that you specify must be a
valid DNS entry for your host. If you're confused about this, talk to
the person who handles your name server.
The section after ServerName is UseCanonicalName, which is new in
Apache version 1.3 and higher. If this is turned on, whenever Apache
needs to construct a self-referencing URL, it will use ServerName and
Port to form a canonical name. With this setting off, Apache will use
the hostname:port that the client supplied if possible. It also
explains this in the comments in httpd.conf.
CacheNegotiatedDocs is the next section. By default, it is
commented out, and Apache asks proxy servers not to cache the
document. If you uncomment the line, it will disable this, and
proxies will be able to cache the documents.
All of the following sections from Timeout down to VirtualHost should
be ok set to the defaults. I'll cover Virtual Hosts (Virtual Servers)
in next month's article (unless someone else decides to write an
article on it).
Well, that was the bulk of configuring Apache. You'll still need to
go through access.conf and srm.conf to see if you need to make any
changes specific to your server, but those shouldn't be much for a
basic Apache install. See for configuration details with access.conf and
Now it's time to start httpd. The installation should've put the
httpd binary into /usr/local/sbin. You can start httpd manually a few
different ways. The first is using apachectl (1.3 and up)..
[root@hendrix:~]# /usr/local/sbin/apachectl start
And the second is starting it directly from /usr/local/sbin like so..
[root@hendrix:~]# cd /usr/local/sbin
Either will work if everything is configured correctly. If you'd like
to start Apache on boot up, there are a few ways to do it, but the way
I've always done it is by adding a line to /etc/rc.local. Change
directories to /etc and open up rc.local with your favorite text
editor (again, I use pico)..
[root@hendrix:/usr/local/sbin]# cd /etc
[root@hendrix:/etc]# pico rc.local
When rc.local opens, look for this line..
# put your local stuff here
And underneath it enter the following..
# put your local stuff here
This will tell Apache to start when rc.local is read on boot up. Now
check to see if Apache is running by typing ps auxw |grep httpd from
the prompt. You should see a few different httpd processes running.
If you do, good, you're done! If you don't, go back over the steps
and make sure everything is configured correctly and try restarting
If you find any errors in this document, please
them to me so I can post the
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