Apache HTTP Server

Compiling and Installing Apache 1.3

This document covers compilation and installation of Apache on Unix systems, using the manual build and install method. If you wish to use the autoconf-style configure interface, you should instead read the INSTALL file in the root directory of the Apache source distribution. For compiling and installation on specific platforms, see

Downloading Apache

Information on the latest version of Apache can be found on the Apache web server at http://www.apache.org/. This will list the current release, any more recent beta-test release, together with details of mirror web and anonymous ftp sites.

If you downloaded a binary distribution, skip to Installing Apache. Otherwise read the next section for how to compile the server.

Compiling Apache

Compiling Apache consists of three steps: Firstly select which Apache modules you want to include into the server. Secondly create a configuration for your operating system. Thirdly compile the executable.

All configuration of Apache is performed in the src directory of the Apache distribution. Change into this directory.

  1. Select modules to compile into Apache in the Configuration file. Uncomment lines corresponding to those optional modules you wish to include (among the AddModule lines at the bottom of the file), or add new lines corresponding to additional modules you have downloaded or written. (See API.html for preliminary docs on how to write Apache modules). Advanced users can comment out some of the default modules if they are sure they will not need them (be careful though, since many of the default modules are vital for the correct operation and security of the server).

    You should also read the instructions in the Configuration file to see if you need to set any of the Rule lines.

  2. Configure Apache for your operating system. Normally you can just type run the Configure script as given below. However if this fails or you have any special requirements (e.g., to include an additional library required by an optional module) you might need to edit one or more of the following options in the Configuration file: EXTRA_CFLAGS, LIBS, LDFLAGS, INCLUDES.

    Run the Configure script:

        % Configure
        Using 'Configuration' as config file
         + configured for <whatever> platform
         + setting C compiler to <whatever> *
         + setting C compiler optimization-level to <whatever> *
         + Adding selected modules
         + doing sanity check on compiler and options
        Creating Makefile in support
        Creating Makefile in main
        Creating Makefile in os/unix
        Creating Makefile in modules/standard
    (*: Depending on Configuration and your system, Configure might not print these lines. That's OK).

    This generates a Makefile for use in stage 3. It also creates a Makefile in the support directory, for compilation of the optional support programs.

    (If you want to maintain multiple configurations, you can give a option to Configure to tell it to read an alternative Configuration file, such as Configure -file Configuration.ai).

  3. Type make.
The modules we place in the Apache distribution are the ones we have tested and are used regularly by various members of the Apache development group. Additional modules contributed by members or third parties with specific needs or functions are available at <http://www.apache.org/dist/contrib/modules/>. There are instructions on that page for linking these modules into the core Apache code.

Installing Apache

You will have a binary file called httpd in the src directory. A binary distribution of Apache will supply this file.

The next step is to install the program and configure it. Apache is designed to be configured and run from the same set of directories where it is compiled. If you want to run it from somewhere else, make a directory and copy the conf, logs and icons directories into it. In either case you should read the security tips describing how to set the permissions on the server root directory.

The next step is to edit the configuration files for the server. This consists of setting up various directives in up to three central configuration files. By default, these files are located in the conf directory and are called srm.conf, access.conf and httpd.conf. To help you get started there are same files in the conf directory of the distribution, called srm.conf-dist, access.conf-dist and httpd.conf-dist. Copy or rename these files to the names without the -dist. Then edit each of the files. Read the comments in each file carefully. Failure to setup these files correctly could lead to your server not working or being insecure. You should also have an additional file in the conf directory called mime.types. This file usually does not need editing.

First edit httpd.conf. This sets up general attributes about the server: the port number, the user it runs as, etc. Next edit the srm.conf file; this sets up the root of the document tree, special functions like server-parsed HTML or internal imagemap parsing, etc. Finally, edit the access.conf file to at least set the base cases of access.

In addition to these three files, the server behavior can be configured on a directory-by-directory basis by using .htaccess files in directories accessed by the server.

Set your system time properly!

Proper operation of a public web server requires accurate time keeping, since elements of the HTTP protocol are expressed as the time of day. So, it's time to investigate setting up NTP or some other time synchronization system on your Unix box, or whatever the equivalent on NT would be.

Starting and Stopping the Server

To start the server, simply run httpd. This will look for httpd.conf in the location compiled into the code (by default /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf). If this file is somewhere else, you can give the real location with the -f argument. For example:
    /usr/local/apache/httpd -f /usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf
If all goes well this will return to the command prompt almost immediately. This indicates that the server is now up and running. If anything goes wrong during the initialization of the server you will see an error message on the screen. If the server started ok, you can now use your browser to connect to the server and read the documentation. If you are running the browser on the same machine as the server and using the default port of 80, a suitable URL to enter into your browser is

Note that when the server starts it will create a number of child processes to handle the requests. If you started Apache as the root user, the parent process will continue to run as root while the children will change to the user as given in the httpd.conf file.

If when you run httpd it complained about being unable to "bind" to an address, then either some other process is already using the port you have configured Apache to use, or you are running httpd as a normal user but trying to use a port below 1024 (such as the default port 80).

If the server is not running, read the error message displayed when you run httpd. You should also check the server error_log for additional information (with the default configuration, this will be located in the file error_log in the logs directory).

If you want your server to continue running after a system reboot, you should add a call to httpd to your system startup files (typically rc.local or a file in an rc.N directory). This will start Apache as root. Before doing this ensure that your server is properly configured for security and access restrictions.

To stop Apache send the parent process a TERM signal. The PID of this process is written to the file httpd.pid in the logs directory (unless configured otherwise). Do not attempt to kill the child processes because they will be renewed by the parent. A typical command to stop the server is:

    kill -TERM `cat /usr/local/apache/logs/httpd.pid`

For more information about Apache command line options, configuration and log files, see Starting Apache. For a reference guide to all Apache directives supported by the distributed modules, see the Apache directives.

Compiling Support Programs

In addition to the main httpd server which is compiled and configured as above, Apache includes a number of support programs. These are not compiled by default. The support programs are in the support directory of the distribution. To compile the support programs, change into this directory and type

Apache HTTP Server