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Apache Maintenance Basics

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You’ve downloaded and configured your Apache server and are ready to move on to the next project. Can it really be left to fend for itself in a darkened room?

You’ve downloaded and configured your Apache server and are pondering what to do next. From log monitoring to configuration management, we overview the major steps and maintenance tasks that merit permanent lines on your to-do list.

Yes. To some degree, anyway. With the exception of configuration testing, once Apache is up, you likely need never think about how the Web server is running.

On the other hand, completely ignoring your Apache installation would be foolhardy.

Monitoring Apache
Log Monitoring
Log Management
Configuration Management
Security and Passwords
Keeping Apache Up to Date
Other Systems and Extensions
Scheduling Maintenance

Doing some regular checks and maintenance on your Apache installation helps identify any issues — usually before they even become issues — and helps you stay up date with the latest security and performance patches. This article covers some of the major steps and maintenance tasks that should be regularly undertaken while the Apache system is running.

Monitoring Apache

The first step of regular Apache maintenance is to keep a close eye on what Apache is doing. Monitoring the logs really only tells you about the status of the Web serving — not the status of the Apache server itself at a moment in time. For live monitoring, use mod_status, which provides a summary of the active processes and threads and their current activity.

The following screenshot is an example of a mod_status report on an intranet server.

mod_status Screen Shot
A mod_status report on an intranet server

What you get is a heap of information about the active processes and their current status, what they are doing, and how busy they have been. Just a getting a response is a good sign that the server is running; the information from mod_status more detailed information. To enable mod_status, add, or uncomment, the following lines on you server config:

LoadModule status_module          libexec/httpd/

         SetHandler server-status
         Order deny,allow
         Deny from all
         Allow from .mcslp.pri

The Allow line must include the hosts, domains, or IP addresses for whom you want to provide access to the information.

Also, although the display does not need to be open continuously, if you suspect something is wrong, it is a good starting point.

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