The Apache HTTP Server is one of the most commonly-used web servers. This section acts as a quick-start guide to deploying and configuring Apache on Fedora.

Installing HTTPD

This procedure describes the steps to install Apache HTTPD on Fedora.

  1. Install HTTPD packages.

    # dnf install httpd -y
  2. Start the HTTPD service.

    # systemctl start httpd.service

To enable auto start of HTTPD service at boot, execute the following command:

# systemctl enable httpd.service

Navigate to http://localhost to access the Apache test page. You may not be able to access the server from any other host. To access the server from other hosts, see Opening firewall ports.

Securing Apache HTTPD

To enable TLS/SSL support, download and install one of the following packages:

Using mod_ssl

Installing mod_ssl

The mod_ssl package will be automatically enabled post installation. Install the mod_ssl package using the following command:

# dnf install mod_ssl -y

Generating a new certificate

To generate a new certificate, refer to Create a certificate using OpenSSL.

Installing an existing certificate

If you already have a certificate generated on another computer, do the following:

  1. Move the certificate and the key file to the correct folder

    # mv key_file.key /etc/pki/tls/private/myhost.com.key
    # mv certificate.crt /etc/pki/tls/certs/myhost.com.crt
  2. Ensure that the following parameters are correct:

    1. SELinux contexts

      # restorecon /etc/pki/tls/private/myhost.com.key
      # restorecon /etc/pki/tls/certs/myhost.com.crt
    2. Ownership

      # chown root.root /etc/pki/tls/private/myhost.com.key
      # chown root.root /etc/pki/tls/certs/myhost.com.crt
    3. Permissions

      # chmod 0600 /etc/pki/tls/private/myhost.com.key
      # chmod 0600 /etc/pki/tls/certs/myhost.com.crt

After installing the existing certificate, set up the certificate using mod_ssl configuration.

mod_ssl configuration

The default TLS/SSL configuration is contained in the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf. In the ssl.conf file, following are the directives that specify where the TLS/SSL certificate and key are located:

SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/localhost.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/localhost.key

These directives are enclosed in a block defining a virtual host:

<VirtualHost _default_:443>
...
SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/localhost.crt
...
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/localhost.key
...
</VirtualHost>

To define a different location for these files, do the following:

  1. Create a copy of the /etc/httpd/conf.d/ssl.conf file and renew the file to z-ssl-local.conf.

  2. Edit the following lines in the z-ssl-local.conf file:

<VirtualHost _default_:443>
SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/www.myhost.org.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/www.myhost.org.key
</VirtualHost>

This file will override the two settings for the _default_:443 virtual host; all other settings from ssl.conf will be retained.

Settings for individual virtual hosts

To use SSL/TLS for a specific virtual host with a different certificate as default, do the following:

  1. Open that virtual host’s configuration file /etc/httpd/conf.d/hostname.conf.

  2. Insert these lines between <VirtualHost hostname:port> and </VirtualHost>:

    SSLEngine on
    SSLCertificateFile /etc/pki/tls/certs/hostname.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/pki/tls/private/hostname.key</pre>

Installing webapps

You probably want to run something on your web server. Many of the most popular web applications are packaged for Fedora. Using the packaged versions of web applications is recommended. These packages will be configured following the distribution’s best practices which help to ensure the security of the installation.

For instance, by installing static files to locations the web server does not have the ability to write to, and doing access control with configuration files rather than .htaccess files, which are slightly more vulnerable to attack.

Packaged web applications will also be configured to work with SELinux, which provides significant security benefits.

You will also receive updates through the usual Fedora update process, making it easier to keep your installation up to date.

They will also often have the default configuration tweaked according to Fedora’s conventions, meaning you have to do less work to get the application up and running.

Most web applications are simply packaged according to their name. For instance, you can install Wordpress by executing the following command:

# dnf install wordpress

Packaged web applications will usually provide Fedora-specific instructions in a documentation file. For instance, Wordpress provides the files /usr/share/doc/wordpress/README.fedora and /usr/share/doc/wordpress/README.fedora-multiuser.

Packaged web applications usually restrict access by default so you can access them only from the server host itself, to ensure you can run all initial configuration safely and things like administration interfaces are not left accessible to the public. For information on how to broaden access, see Enabling access to web applications.

Web applications commonly require the use of a database server. This wiki contains information on installing and configuring PostgreSQL and MariaDB on Fedora.

Configuring Apache HTTPD

/etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf is the main Apache configuration file. Custom confirguration files are specified under /etc/httpd/conf.d/*.conf. If the same settings are specified in both /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf and a .conf file in /etc/httpd/conf.d/, the setting from the /etc/httpd/conf.d/ file will be used.

Files in /etc/httpd/conf.d/ are read in alphabetical order: a setting from /etc/httpd/conf.d/z-foo.conf will be used over a setting from /etc/httpd/conf.d/foo.conf. Similarly, a setting from /etc/httpd/conf.d/99-foo.conf, will be used over a setting from /etc/httpd/conf.d/00-foo.conf.

As a best practice, do not modify /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf or any of the /etc/httpd/conf.d files shipped by Fedora packages directly. If you make any local changes to these files, then any changes to them in newer package versions will not be directly applied. Instead, a .rpmnew file will be created, and you will have to merge the changes manually.

It is recommended to create a new file in /etc/httpd/conf.d which will take precedence over the file you wish to modify, and edit the required settings. For instance, to change a setting specified in /etc/httpd/conf.d/foo.conf you could create the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/z-foo-local.conf, and place your setting in that file.

After making any changes to your server configuration, execute the following command:

# apachectl reload

Certain changes may require Apache to be fully restarted. To fully restart Apache, execute the following command:

# systemctl restart httpd.service

Enabling access to web applications

By default Fedora-packaged web applications are usually configured such that, access is allowed only from the localhost. This is defined by the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/webapp.conf which contains the following settings:

<Directory /usr/share/webapp>
    <IfModule mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.4
        Require local
    </IfModule>
    <IfModule !mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.2
        Order Deny,Allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from 127.0.0.1
        Allow from ::1
    </IfModule>
</Directory>

Before allowing general access to the webapp, ensure to do the following:

  • Webapp has been configured correctly

  • Administration interface and other sensitive areas are not accessible without appropriate authentication

  • Database configuration is secure, if the application uses a database

To broaden access to the application, create a file /etc/httpd/conf.d/z-webapp-allow.conf. To allow access to all systems on a typical local network, add the following lines into the file:

<Directory /usr/share/webapp>
    <IfModule mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.4
        Require local
        Require ip 192.168.1
    </IfModule>
    <IfModule !mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.2
        Order Deny,Allow
        Deny from all
        Allow from 127.0.0.1
        Allow from ::1
        Allow from 192.168.1
    </IfModule>
</Directory>

Once the application is correctly configured, add the following configuration to allow access from any host:

<Directory /usr/share/webapp>
    <IfModule mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.4
        Require all granted
    </IfModule>
    <IfModule !mod_authz_core.c>
        # Apache 2.2
        Order Deny,Allow
        Allow from all
    </IfModule>
</Directory>

Opening firewall ports

This exposes your computer to the Internet and potential attackers. Secure your system and your Apache installation properly before exposing your server to the Internet.

Apache uses port 80 for plain http connections and port 443 for TLS/SSL connections by default. To make this service available from other computers or the Internet, allow Apache through the firewall using any one the following commands:

To allow Apache through the firewall at each boot:

  • For plain HTTP connections:

    # firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=http
  • For TLS/SSL connections:

    # firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=https

To allow Apache through the firewall instantly:

  • For plain HTTP connections:

    # firewall-cmd --add-service=http
  • For TLS/SSL connections:

    # firewall-cmd --add-service=https
If your server is running in a network with a NAT router, you will also need to configure your router to forward the HTTP and HTTPS ports to your server, if you wish to allow access from outside your local network.

Disabling Test Page

To disable the test page, comment out all the lines in the file /etc/httpd/conf.d/welcome.conf using # as follows:

# <LocationMatch "^/+$">
#    Options -Indexes
#    ErrorDocument 403 /.noindex.html
# </LocationMatch>

# <Directory /usr/share/httpd/noindex>
#    AllowOverride None
#    Require all granted
# </Directory>

# Alias /.noindex.html /usr/share/httpd/noindex/index.html

Additional resources