Name based virtual hosting with Apache2 on Ubuntu

I often find it necessary to setup a temporary server for testing web applications. The easiest way to support this is often to create an integration (beta) test server that can be configured to support multiple hosts.

Initial Installation:

sudo apt-get install apache2
sudo a2enmod proxy
sudo a2enmod proxy_http
sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo chmod 755 /var/www

To add a new site:

cd /etc/apache2/sites-available
sudo cp 000-default.conf
sudo vi
(change values as appropriate)
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/
sudo chmod 755 /var/www
sudo vi /var/www/
(add some fluff)
sudo chown -R YOURUSER:YOURGROUP /var/www/
sudo a2ensite
sudo service apache2 reload
sudo service apache2 restart

NOTE: replace YOURUSER and YOURGROUP with appropriate values for your server.

Enabling .htaccess in Apache 2.x

There may come a time when you want to change server behaviors for a specific path on your web server. Often times this becomes necessary if you host web sites that the customer wants to manage externally.

There are only a few small changes required:

  1. In your httpd.conf file…
    # use .htaccess files for overriding,
    AccessFileName .htaccess
    # and never show any file starting with .ht
    <files ~ "^\.ht">
    Order allow,deny
    Deny from all
  2. The for the paths (or virtual hosts, you’ll need to add this line):
    AllowOverride All
  3. Add the appropriate .htaccess files where needed.

DISCLAIMER: This technique CAN result in performance improvements, but should be put in your main server configuration file (httpd.conf), rather than in .htaccess files. .These files, by their very nature, cause performance degradation on your website, and so should be avoided whenever possible as they require an increase in file I/O (reads) on the server.