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How to Set up Apache Server

apache-http-server-logo The Apache Server is the most popular server platform in the world. Some of the reasons for this distinction are platform independence, the fact that it is open source, easy installation, and its stable and robust design. Here is an overview of how to install Apache for your server needs.



Installation is a fairly straight-forward process. There are two basic processes: one for Unix-based systems and one for Windows-based Systems. Solaris, OS2, and others have similar processes.

  • Create or select the Apache root directory
  • Download the current stable version for your operating system and hardware architecture
  • Download patch files, if applicable
  • Download site
  • Verify the integrity of the downloaded file with MD5, PGP or SHA1
  • The directory for Apache is usually in a direct path from the root directory for best security. Typically it is usrlocalapache although this can be changed by editing the configuration file. Download the file only from an Apache.org-approved mirror. If you are using PGP to verify the file, you must download the file from the main distribution directory.

Platform-dependent installation actions:


(Apache HTTP Server – Installation Wizard for Windows)

At the point the installation forks, dependent on the operating system. For Windows, it is simply a matter of running the executable binary and the Windows Installer will take over the remainder of theM process.

For Unix systems and Unix clones:

  • Configure the server
  • Unpack the tarball
  • Unpack the patches, if applicable, and apply them prior to compiling the source
  • Compile the source code
  • Installation of patches can be a bit complicated. In most cases, patching Apache will not be necessary.

Post-installation actions

At this point, there are several security-related actions which should be implemented to control access and prevent unauthorized modification of Apache. Each version and build will have differing procedures. The Apache.org website where you initiated the original download – has instructions. There are several websites which simplify the formal developer language used on the Apache.org site that have step-by-step instructions and tutorials. For example: bytes.com. In most cases, anyone who is installing a server should not be intimidated by the process.

Testing the installation

At this point, invoke or start the Apache server. The command to run Apache is necessarily platform-dependent. The procedures are well-described and detailed on the Apache installation page. There are tens of thousands of Apache servers in operation and every one of them had to be installed. The chance of a situation arising during installation that is not covered on the Apache website is very unlikely, however, if Apache does not run properly, the best choice is to remove it completely, including the original downloaded files, and start from the beginning. Experienced installers can usually have Apache up and running in 15 minutes or less, depending on the time it takes to download and the speed of the processor.

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Vikram is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant who helps small business owners grow their
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