How To Install the Apache Web Server on Ubuntu 22.04

This guide will teach you how to install an Apache web server on your Ubuntu 22.04 Edge Server.

Introduction

This guide will teach you how to install an Apache web server on your Ubuntu 22.04 Edge Server. The Apache HTTP server is the world's most widely-used web server, offering a range of powerful features such as dynamically loadable modules, robust media support, and seamless integration with other popular software.

Prerequisites

Before you start, you will need an Ubuntu 22.04 Edge Server with a non-root user with sudo privileges and a firewall enabled to block non-essential ports.

You can learn how to do this by following our base configuration tutorial for Ubuntu 22.04:

pageBase Configuration for Ubuntu 22.04

Once you’re done setting this up, log in as your non-root user and proceed to step 1.

Tutorial

1. Installing Apache

Apache is available within Ubuntu’s default software repositories, making it possible to install it using Ubuntu's standard package management tools.

Begin by updating the local package index to reflect the latest upstream changes:

sudo apt update

Then, install the apache2 package:

sudo apt install apache2

After confirming the installation, apt will install Apache and all required dependencies.

2. Adjusting the Firewall

To test Apache, it is essential to adjust the firewall settings to permit external access to the default web ports. If you have followed the prerequisites, then your Edge Server should already have a UFW firewall in place to restrict access.

When installing Apache, it automatically registers with UFW and provides several application profiles that allow you to manage access to Apache through the firewall.

List the ufw application profiles by running the following:

sudo ufw app list

Your output will be a list of the application profiles:

OutputAvailable applications:
  Apache
  Apache Full
  Apache Secure
  OpenSSH

We can see that there are three profiles available for Apache:

  • Apache: This profile opens only port 80 (normal, unencrypted web traffic)

  • Apache Full: This profile opens both port 80 (normal, unencrypted web traffic) and port 443(TLS/SSL encrypted traffic)

  • Apache Secure: This profile opens only port 443 (TLS/SSL encrypted traffic)

It is recommended that you enable the most restrictive profile that will still allow the traffic you’ve configured. Since you haven’t configured SSL for your Edge Server, you’ll only need to allow traffic on port 80:

sudo ufw allow 'Apache'

You can verify the change by checking the status:

sudo ufw status

The output will provide a list of allowed HTTP traffic:

OutputStatus: active

To                         Action      From
--                         ------      ----
OpenSSH                    ALLOW       Anywhere                  
Apache                     ALLOW       Anywhere                
OpenSSH (v6)               ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)             
Apache (v6)                ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)

We can see that the profile has been activated to allow access to the Apache web server through the firewall.

3. Checking your Web Server

At the end of the installation process, Ubuntu 22.04 with automatically start Apache and your web server will be up and running.

Make sure the service is active by running the command for the systemd init system:

sudo systemctl status apache2
● apache2.service - The Apache HTTP Server
     Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apache2.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
     Active: active (running) since Sat 2023-02-25 23:37:59 UTC; 1min 28s ago
       Docs: https://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.4/
   Main PID: 1500 (apache2)
      Tasks: 55 (limit: 2241)
     Memory: 5.3M
        CPU: 32ms
     CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
             ├─1500 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             ├─1501 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
             └─1502 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

We can see that the service has started successfully. However, the best way to test this is to request a page from your Edge Server in your browser.

You can access the default Apache landing page to confirm that the software is running properly through your Edge Server's IP address. If you do not know your Edge Server’s IP address, you can find it in your Edge Account:

...or you can find it from the command line by writing the following at your Edge Server’s command prompt:

hostname -I

This will return your Edge Server's IP address.

Another option is to use the free icanhazip.com tool. This is a website that, when accessed, returns your machine’s public IP address as read from another location on the internet:

curl -4 icanhazip.com

When you have your Edge Server’s IP address, enter it into your browser’s address bar:

http://your_server_ip

You will see the default Ubuntu 22.04 Apache web page:

If you can see this page, Apache is working correctly. The page also includes some basic information about important Apache files and directory locations.

4. Managing the Apache Process

Now that you have your web server up and running, let’s review some basic management commands using systemctl.

To stop your web server, run:

sudo systemctl stop apache2

To start the web server when it is stopped, run:

sudo systemctl start apache2

To stop and then start the service again, run:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

If you are simply making configuration changes, Apache can often reload without dropping active connections. To do this, use the following command:

sudo systemctl reload apache2

By default, Apache is configured to start automatically when your Edge Server boots. If this is not what you want, disable this behavior by running:

sudo systemctl disable apache2

To re-enable the service to start up at boot, run:

sudo systemctl enable apache2

Apache will now start automatically when your Edge Server boots again.

When using the Apache web server, you can use virtual hosts (similar to server blocks in Nginx) to encapsulate configuration details and host more than one domain from a single server. We will set up a domain called some_domain, but you should replace this with your own domain name.

Info: If you are setting up a domain name with Edge, please refer to the Edge DNS tutorials.

pageIntroduction

Apache on Ubuntu 22.04 has one server block enabled by default that is configured to serve documents from the /var/www/html directory.

While this works well for a single site, it can become unwieldy if you are hosting multiple sites.

Instead of modifying /var/www/html, create a directory structure within /var/www for your some_domain site, leaving /var/www/html in place as the default directory to be served if a client request doesn’t match any other sites.

Create the directory for some_domain as follows:

sudo mkdir /var/www/some_domain

Next, assign ownership of the directory to the user you’re currently signed in as with the $USERenvironment variable:

sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /var/www/some_domain

The permissions of your web root should be correct if you haven’t modified your umask value, which sets default file permissions. To ensure that your permissions are correct and allow the owner to read, write, and execute the files while granting only read and execute permissions to groups and others, you can input the following command:

sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www/some_domain

Next, create a sample index.html page using nano or your favorite text editor:

sudo nano /var/www/some_domain/index.html

Add the following sample HTML to the file:

/var/www/some_domain/index.html

<html>
    <head>
        <title>Welcome to some_domain!</title>
        <style>
            body { font-family: Roboto Mono,monospace; color: #0ecc5f; margin-top: 3.75rem; padding: 0 4rem; }
            h1 { margin: 0; font-size: 1.5rem; font-weight: 700; padding-bottom: .5rem; }
            p { font-weight: 400; margin: 0px; font-size: .9375rem; line-height: 1.5rem; opacity: .8; }
        </style>
    </head>
    <body>
        <h1>Success!</h1>
        <p>The some_domain virtual host is working. <a href="https://ed.ge/servers">Edge Servers</a> rock the house!</p>
    </body>
</html>

Save and close the file when you are finished. If you’re using nano, you can do this by pressing CTRL + X, then Y and then ENTER.

In order for Apache to serve this content, we will need to create a virtual host file with the correct directives. Instead of modifying the default configuration file located at /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf directly, make a new one at /etc/apache2/sites-available/some_domaincons:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/some_domain.conf

Add in the following configuration block, which is similar to the default, but updated for your new directory and domain name:

/etc/apache2/sites-available/some_domain.conf

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAdmin webmaster@some_domain
    ServerName some_domain
    ServerAlias www.some_domain
    DocumentRoot /var/www/some_domain
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Notice that we’ve updated the DocumentRoot to our new directory and ServerAdmin to an email that the some_domain site administrator can access. We’ve also added two directives: ServerName, which establishes the base domain that will match this virtual host definition, and ServerAlias, which defines further names that will match as if they were the base name.

Save and close the file when you are finished.

Now enable the file with the a2ensite tool:

sudo a2ensite some_domain.conf

Disable the default site defined in 000-default.conf:

sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

Next, test for configuration errors:

sudo apache2ctl configtest

You should receive the following output:

Syntax OK

Restart Apache to implement your changes:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Apache will now be serving your domain name. You can test this by navigating to http://some_domain, where you will see the following:

6. Familiarising Yourself with Apache Files and Directories

Now that you know how to manage the Apache service itself, you should take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with a few important directories and files.

Content

  • /var/www/html: The actual web content, which by default only consists of the default Apache page you saw earlier, is served out of the /var/www/html directory. This can be changed by altering Apache's configuration files.

Server Configuration

  • /etc/apache2: The Apache configuration directory. All of Apache's configuration files reside here.

  • /etc/apache2/apache2.conf: The main Apache configuration file. This can be modified to make changes to Apache's global configuration. This file is responsible for loading many of the other files in the configuration directory.

  • /etc/apache2/ports.conf: This file specifies the ports that Apache will listen on. By default, Apache listens on port 80 and additionally listens on port 443 when a module providing SSL capabilities is enabled.

  • /etc/apache2/sites-available: The directory where per-site virtual hosts can be stored. Apache will not use the configuration files found in this directory unless they are linked to the sites-enabled directory. Typically, all server block configuration is done in this directory and then enabled by linking to the other directory with the a2ensite command.

  • /etc/apache2/sites-enabled: The directory where enabled per-site virtual hosts are stored. Typically, these are created by linking to configuration files found in the sites-availabledirectory with the a2ensite. Apache reads the configuration files and links found in this directory when it starts or reloads to compile a complete configuration.

  • /etc/apache2/conf-available, /etc/apache2/conf-enabled: These directories have the same relationship as the sites-available and sites-enabled directories but are used to store configuration fragments that do not belong in a virtual host. Files in the conf-availabledirectory can be enabled with the a2enconf command and disabled with the a2disconfcommand.

  • /etc/apache2/mods-available, /etc/apache2/mods-enabled: These directories contain the available and enabled modules, respectively. Files ending in .load contain fragments to load specific modules, while files ending in .conf contain the configuration for those modules. Modules can be enabled and disabled using the a2enmod and a2dismod commands.

Server Logs

  • /var/log/apache2/access.log: By default, every request to your web server is recorded in this log file unless Apache is configured to do otherwise.

  • /var/log/apache2/error.log: By default, all errors are recorded in this file. The LogLeveldirective in the Apache configuration specifies how much detail the error logs will contain.

Conclusion

Now that you have Apache installed on your Edge Server, you have many options for the type of content that you can serve, and the technologies that you can use.

If you’d like to build out a more complete web application stack, you can read this article on how to configure a LAMP stack on Ubuntu 22.04:

Page link coming soon

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