3 Apache/httpd Command-Line Options

Juliet Kemp
You can do more with httpd than just stop/start/reload Apache. Here are some command-line options that enable you to manipulate your configuration without changing httpd.conf.

Tip of the Trade: httpd can do more than just stop, start and reload Apache. With these command-line options, you can manipulate your configuration without tinkering with httpd.conf.

NB: Some distributions (e.g., Debian) use apache instead of httpd. The options should all be exactly the same. If in doubt, check the apachectl script to see what the HTTPD variable is set to.

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After you're done with any of these, httpd -k stop; apachectl start will restart with your normal settings.

  1. httpd -k start -c "DocumentRoot /var/www/html_debug/": Start up Apache using an alternative DocumentRoot. This is useful if you're trying out alternative versions of your web site, as it avoids editing the DocumentRoot option. You can also use -c to set any other directive. Note that -c processes the directive after reading the config files (so it will overwrite config file settings), whereas -C will process the directive before the config files.
  2. httpd -k start -f conf/httpd.conf.debug: Start Apache with a different config file. This is in effect an alternative to backing up your old config file and then editing the original. It's particularly useful if you manage config files with Puppet, as it ensures that changes will not be overwritten while you're experimenting.
  3. httpd -D loadmodule: Set the parameter loadmodule, which will then be used when parsing the config file. So if your config file includes this:
    <IfDefine loadmodule>
    	LoadModule my_other_module
    then my_other_module will be loaded only if the parameter is set. You can use this for testing modules before adding them permanently.

This article was originally published on Feb 2, 2009
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