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Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache

Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache - PCSTATS
Abstract: Apache has been around since 1995 and is the main alternative to Microsoft's Internet Information Server (IIS) web hosting technology.
Filed under: Beginners Guides Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: PCSTATS Apr 11 2006   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Beginners Guides > PCSTATS

Basic Apache configuration

One of the nicest things about Apache as a basic web-hosting program is that it needs next to no configuration from the user once installed. If your website HTML files are ready, open up the 'c:\program files\apache group\apache2\htdocs' folder. This is the folder from which Apache reads the web files, and the default file it looks for is 'index.html' just as with IIS. The 'index' file from the default welcome website currently occupies this directory, along with various versions of the same page in different languages.

Delete these files, or cut and paste them elsewhere, or simply copy your own website HTML files into the directory and replace the existing 'index.html' with your own main page. Remember that the first web page of any website must be labeled 'index', so it may be necessary to rename the introductory HTML page of the website if this is not the case.

Once this is done, fire up a web browser and verify that the web page is displaying correctly (the browser cache may need to be cleared, or the page refreshed a couple of times first). The final step is using an outside Internet connection to verify what Internet visitors will see upon typing in the URL of the website you've just configured, so try that out too.

Exploring the Apache CONF file

Unlike IIS, Apache has no graphical interface. All management of the program is done by editing its configuration files which reside in the 'C:\program files\apache group\apache2\conf' directory.

Editing these configuration files looks initially daunting, and it can be a complicated process if you are looking to configure complicated settings, but fortunately the default program settings are all anyone really needs to begin working with Apache. The main configuration file is 'httpd.doc'. The 'httpd.default' text file is an exact copy, and is intended to provide a fallback to the default settings in case a mistake is made while editing the original.

The httpd.doc file is well documented, so there is help there if you decide to experiment. Let's take a quick look at three of the most relevant configuration file settings, even though these do not have to be changed to get a website up and running.

Apache Home Directory

The first setting we need to get to grips with is Apache server's home directory. This is the directory which will contain the files (documents) making up a web page. Using IIS, this would be located in C:\inetpub, while Apache defaults to the 'c:\program files\apache group\apache2\htdocs' directory.

For the purposes of this PCSTATS Beginners Guide, there's no need to change the default setting, but at some point you'll probably want to create a separate website directory on a dedicated hard drive though. To do this, find the 'documentroot' setting in the httpd.doc file and change it to the directory of your choice. We'll also have to change the same setting again a little further down the page. Read the comments in the file for help.

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Contents of Article: PCSTATS
 Pg 1.  Beginners Guides: Website Hosting With Apache
 Pg 2.  Can anyone host a website?
 Pg 3.  A Networks' Default Gateway
 Pg 4.  Acquiring a DNS Domain Name (URL) for a Website
 Pg 5.  Configuring firewalls for website hosting
 Pg 6.  Creating a Virtual Server
 Pg 7.  Part 2: Installing and using Apache Web server
 Pg 8.  Apache Status and Services
 Pg 9.  — Basic Apache configuration
 Pg 10.  Domain and Server Name

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