Note: You are currently viewing documentation for Moodle 3.1. Up-to-date documentation for the latest stable version of Moodle is probably available here: Apache.
When most people refer to Apache they are talking about the "Apache HTTP Server Project". In fact Apache is really the "Apache Software Foundation" which hosts a long list of projects of which the HTTP server is just one, albeit the best known.
The Apache HTTP Server enables web pages to be published on the internet (or an intranet or even on a single test machine). The PHP scripting language, in which Moodle is developed, is tightly integrated with the Apache HTTP Server. A web server is a required component of a Moodle installation. There are two distinct developments of the Apache HTTP Server, version 1 and version 2. Although version 2 should have replaced version 1, the architectures are so different that they both continue to be supported. Either are fully supported by PHP and Moodle.
The Apache HTTP Server Project describes itself thus:
"The Apache HTTP Server Project is an effort to develop and maintain an open-source HTTP server for modern operating systems including UNIX and Windows NT. The goal of this project is to provide a secure, efficient and extensible server that provides HTTP services in sync with the current HTTP standards.
Apache has been the most popular web server on the Internet since April 1996. The November 2005 Netcraft Web Server Survey found that more than 70% of the web sites on the Internet are using Apache, thus making it more widely used than all other web servers combined."
apt-get install apache2
See the documentation for your particular distro for the instructions. Apache is straightforward to build from source if required and the PHP documentation contains an article on building both Apache and PHP together.
Apache can be tuned to make pages load faster by specifying how the browser should cache the various page elements. How to do this varies slightly between OSes but there are two basic steps
- Install and enable mod_expires - refer to documentation or man pages
- Add this code to the virtual server config file within the section for the root directory (or within the .htaccess file if AllowOverrides is On):
The effect is to make everything stay in the cache except HTML and XML, which change dynamically. It's possible to gain a several hundred percent decrease in load times this way
More info: www.metaskills.net
Apache serves webpages by spawning new child processes (smaller sub-programs) to deal with each connection. The number of these that you allow to run and to be kept in reserve has a big impact on how fast your server will run. The risk (especially on a server with a small amount of memory, such as a VPS) is that the available RAM will run out and the system will end up using the far slower hard disk as swap memory instead. To prevent this, you need to tell Apache only to have a certain number. Here is a sample set of configuration directives for a VPS server with 128MB of RAM (with up to 384 burstable), which apparently works quite well (more info here)
Make a back up of your httpd.conf first. It’s generally found at /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf, then open the file with your editor e.g.
Then look for these values, which may be spread about a little and change them:
Timeout 200 KeepAlive On MaxKeepAliveRequests 200 KeepAliveTimeout 3 MinSpareServers 5 MaxSpareServers 15 StartServers 5 MaxClients 20 MaxRequestsPerChild 2000 HostnameLookups Off
If you find that you are running out of memory (type
if using Linux and look at the swap figure), just lower some of the numbers. Similary, if you have extra memory, you can afford to raise them a bit. Remember to combine tuning of Apache with tuning of your database app.
If you want your website not to be hackable, you need to enable SSL so that your moodle password cannot be easily read by others as it is transmitted (as normal internet communications normally can be). There are 2 options - generate a self-signed certificate, which stops casual network sniffing, but which can ultimately be compromised with enough effort, or purchase a certificate from a vendor (about $35 per year from the cheap ones). Below are instructions for install of a self-signed certificate.
Debian and Apache2
1. generate a certification:
for debian etch, apache2-ssl-certificate is no longer available, use make-ssl-cert instead:
make-ssl-cert /usr/share/ssl-cert/ssleay.cnf /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.pem
2. edit /etc/apache2/ports.conf:
Listen 80 Listen 443
3. copy /etc/apache2/sites-available/default to /etc/apache2/sites-available/default-ssl, and change /etc/apache2/sites-available/default:
NameVirtualHost *:80 <VirtualHost *:80> ... </VirtualHost>
and also /etc/apache2/sites-available/default-ssl:
NameVirtualHost *:443 <VirtualHost *:443> ... SSLEngine on SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/apache.pem ... </VirtualHost>
4. symbolic link the ssl file:
5. don't forget to symbolic link the ssl module:
6. restart apache and test the connection (e.g. https://localhost/):