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Installing Apache2

Date: Thu Nov 1 2018

Let's install our first web server. First, make sure your machine is up to date before installing Apache2. In the following examples, I'm already logged in as root.

Update system first

# dnf check-update
# dnf update

Install httpd

Now, that the machine is updated. Let's install Apache2. On distributions that use a package management system, such as dnf on Fedora and apt on Ubuntu, we can use those systems to install the relevant software. However, different distributions use different names for the packages. Fedora refers to the Apache2 software as httpd while Ubuntu refers to it as Apache2.

Apache2 is not the only web server available. Later on we'll install nginx. Before we install Apache2, though, let's get some basic info on the package:

# dnf info httpd

Based on the output, and at the time of this writing, it looks like the httpd package refers to the Apache HTTP Server, version 2.4.34. I wanted to highlight this because it's important to know what version of things we're installing, for a couple of reasons at least. First, although Apache2 has its own dependencies, other packages will also depend on it. For example, say we wanted to install Drupal or WordPress, we would first have to install a web server, like Apache2, and it might be the case that Drupal or WordPress require a certain minimum version of Apache2. Second, package management systems are generally conservative, some more or less so. The current version of Apache is 2.4.37. But it's not likely that Fedora will use that or some newer version until the next Fedora upgrade, for example, from Fedora 28 to Fedora 29. For now, however, this is fine, and we can proceed with the install:

# dnf -y install httpd

Basic checks

As our book describes, one of the things that makes Apache2, and some other web servers, so powerful is the library of modules that extend Apache's functionality. We'll come back to modules next week. For now, we're going to make sure the server is up and running, configure some basic things, and then create a basic web site.

To start, let's make sure that Apache2 is enabled and running (note that I truncate some output below using ...:

# systemctl list-unit-files httpd.service
httpd.service   disabled

1 unit files listed.
# systemctl enable httpd.service
# systemctl list-unit-files httpd.service
httpd.service   enabled

1 unit files listed.
# systemctl status httpd.service
Active: inactive (dead)
# systemctl start httpd.service
# systemctl status httpd.service
Active: active (running)

Creating a web page

Now that we have it up and running, let's look at the default web page:

# w3m

The w3m text-mode browser shows the Fedora Test Page. That's a sign that the default install was successful. Let's now create our first web page. To do so, we need to know what directory that Apache2 is using to serve websites. If we read through that Fedora Test Page document, it'll tell us that the default directory is /var/www/html/. Let's go there and create a webpage with out text editor of choice (I'll use vi, but feel free to use nano):

# cd /var/www/html/
# vi index.html

Then write something like this. Of course, modify the content to suit your own interests:

<title>My first web page using Apache2</title>


<p>Welcome to my web site. This is the first web page I have ever created using
Apache2 and Fedora Linux. If you have any questiosn, please email me at <a

Dr. Burns</p>


After you're done, save and close the document. Let's visit our website again with w3m to see if it works:

# w3m


Our book has a section titled Common Configuration Options on page 490. After you've completed the above steps, do the following:

  1. Open /etc/hosts and map a hostname of your choice the IP address for your main network device, not the lo device. (What command do you need to issue to locate that IP address?)
  2. Change the default port number from 80 to 8080. (You'll need to locate the right config file to do this. Hint: it's located somewhere under /etc/httpd/.)
  3. Restart httpd.service and connect to your website with the new port number.


Let's say you map your IP address to the hostname mywebsite. Then:

  1. What happens if you do w3m http://mywebsite?
  2. What modification to the URL (http://mywebsite) do you need to make to connect to your web server?
linux/apache2-intro.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/21 11:24 by seanburns