Getting Started with Apache 1.3 Page 9

By Ken Coar (Send Email)
Posted Jun 1, 2000

By default, following an Apache installation the main page in your DocumentRoot directory will say something reassuring -- to you -- about the success of the installation. It's sort of like the ReadMe.txt file you get to see after installing an application on Windows; it's just there to a) give the installer (you) a warm, fuzzy feeling that everything worked, and b) provide something other than a list of files to anyone who hits the site before it's ready. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people on the Internet that don't understand how the Web works, or the whole idea of clients and servers, and if they see that page saying 'Apache has been successfully installed!' they're going to think it's beein installed on their desktop system. Or, if you just upgraded an existing Web site, they're going to think the Apache Software Foundation has just invaded you and taken over your site.

So please, please, please replace the default index.html* file (or files) with something of your own, perhaps saying something like "Welcome to Joe's Web Pages. They're off getting dusted and cleaned right now, but they'll be back soon. Please come back in a couple of days!" Or something like that.

One way to do this, of course, is to modify the index.html.en file itself, since this is the one Apache will display by default. Another way is to create another directory somewhere, such as /usr/local/web/apache/realdocs (or C:\Progam Files\Apache Group\Apache\realdocs, if you're using Windows), put your own content files in it, and change the DocumentRoot line in your httpd.conf file to point to it. You'll need to change all occurences in the config file of the old htdocs directory to your new realdocs one, and restart the server after saving the file, but this is probably the cleaner solution.

Testing Your Installation

If you didn't get any errors when you started Apache, hopefully that means it's running. Try it out; use a browser to access the default page: <URL:http://localhost/>. You should see a page declaiming that the installation was a success. If you don't, make a note of what you see instead, and the contents of the error log under the ServerRoot location, in the logs subdirectory. It's called 'error_log' on Unix, but 'error.log' on Windows. With that information, go search the Apache FAQ or other resources listed under Going Further. If all else fails, you can send me email, but please try to find a ready-made answer elsewhere first!

Reloading After Changes

Whevever you make changes to the server configuration files (such as httpd.conf, they won't take effect until the server is restarted and reloaded. On Unix, the command to do this is:

    # /usr/local/web/apache/bin/apachectl graceful

On Windows, the equivalent command (run in a DOS window) is:

    C:\Program Files\Apache Group\APACHE>apache -k restart

Going Further

Once you've got your Apache Web server up and running, the first hurdle has been surmounted. Now you can move on to exploring its capabilities and features. Here are some pointers to resources for further investigation:

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