From:"Sys Admin News" <>
Subject: Sys Admin Magazine -- News and Reviews 01/26/2004
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2004 08:50:32 -0800

                 Sys Admin Magazine -- News and Reviews
                          January 26, 2004


In this first article in his new Apache series, Russell Dyer discusses
the basics of Apache -- what role it plays and how to configure the 
(reprinted with permission from

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Apache Basics
by Russell J.T. Dyer 

The most popular Web service application is the Apache server -- 
it's free and open source, and it's multi-platformed (working on 
MS Windows and every incarnation of Unix and Linux). Apache runs 
primarily off one configuration text file and is highly configurable. 
However, some configuration possibilities can be tricky, and some 
options are unknown to many would-be Apache systems administrators. 
In this new Apache series, I will cover how to configure the Apache 
server for various common and specialized needs, and also discuss 
how to adjust Apache for better performance.

In this installment, I will discuss the basics of Apache -- what 
role it plays and how to configure the essentials. Although this 
article may be a bit basic for some readers, it can help get you 
started and serve as a reference for later articles.

Apache and the Process 

I'll begin with a brief overview of the process by which Web pages 
are made available, requested, and received. In this process, a 
systems administrator first sets up a server with an operating system 
like Linux and connects it up to the Internet by way of network cards 
and routers. On the server, the administrator then places Web pages 
in a separate directory for better security because anonymous users 
will be accessing these files. The administrator then goes to a Web 
site (e.g., and registers a domain name for 
the server. Next, he installs and configures Apache and starts the 
service (i.e., httpd). At this point, the server is ready to receive 
and handle Web traffic and is listening through the network connections 
for client requests for Web pages.

On the client side, a user starts her Web browser and types in the Web 
address of the new Web site. The browser first connects to a domain 
server (DNS) and requests that the domain name entered by the user be 
translated to the server's IP address. A numeric IP address is 
to be able to locate and communicate with another computer through a 
network, which is what the Internet runs on. Next, the client sends a 
for the Web page that the user entered (index.html or the like by 
default) to 
the server that responds to the IP address. The Web server receives the 
request and checks its settings for any authentication rules and for 
as to where the requested page may be located on the server. If 
checks out, it then transmits a copy of the Web page requested to the 
IP address. The server then terminates the process and waits for 
another request. 
The client displays what it was sent in the user's browser and awaits 
request from the user. The entire process is much more complicated than 
I have 
described -- the details involved in the TCP/IP aspects alone can be 
-- but for our purposes, this quick explanation will suffice.

The Configuration File 

The primary configuration file used by Apache is a simple text file, 
usually called httpd.conf. It's located sometimes in the /etc/httpd 
directory, under the sub-directory conf. Of course, the configuration 
file's name and location may be altered. Other configuration files may 
be referenced or included in the primary one. Also, minor files 
called, .htaccess) may be placed in individual directories to alter a 
client's access within a directory containing Web pages. Functionality 
is added to Apache by way of modules, which won't be discussed in 
in this article.

To read the complete article, visit:

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	Sys Admin Call for Papers

Sys Admin magazine is looking for systems administrators who have 
a common problem in an uncommon way and want to share their solution 
with the only people in the world who will understand it: other systems 
administrators. Each issue has a theme, but we’re always interested in 
useful articles on any subject related to managing AIX, BSD, HP-UX, 
Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, and other UNIX/Linux variants. 
For more info, visit:
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