Httpd virtual hosts

I wanted to manage a couple of web sites, let's call them one.dd and two.dd, with my Apache Web Server, and I wanted them to live on the same machine, sharing the same IP address. We know that to do that in the real life, I could not choose randomly a fancy name, like I have just said, but I have to register a proper name under well known limitations. But if I play just on my local machine(s), I can forget about that, and being free and foolish. Still I have to follow a few basic rules.

I am working on a Debian box, on a Apache httpd 2.2 built from scratch, downloading the package from the official Apache site. I reckon you can adapt very easily what I have done to your current setup.

Setting the hosts

The operating system should be aware of the names I want to use on the current machine. This is done in a text file, typically (for *x environments) named /etc/hosts. There we see, among the other things, the standard mapping between and localhost, and we are about to extend it to add our two host names: localhost one.dd two.dd
Setting the httpd configuration

Apache has to know how to manage our virtual hosts, too. The standard http configuration file, conf/httpd.conf, has a commented line that, when activated, includes the specific configuration file for virtual hosts.
# Virtual hosts
#Include conf/extra/httpd-vhosts.conf
It is usually considered a better idea to let the provided example alone, and work on a different file.

This is my virtual host configuration file:
# Virtual Hosts
NameVirtualHost *

<VirtualHost *>
    DocumentRoot /site/www/one.dd

<VirtualHost *>
    DocumentRoot /site/www/two.dd
    ServerName www.two.dd
I guess this is the simplest configuration file one could conceive.

The directive NameVirtualHost says to Apache that we want to attach one or more virtual hosts to the specified address/port. Here I passed a star to it, meaning "anything you get to this point". Usually you want to be more choosy. Besides, I didn't specify any port number. In this case, Apache assumes I expect it to use the one specified in the Listen directive.

Then I have a VirtualHost block for each host I want to define. If anything not matching with the ServerName's specified is getting here, the first one is considered as the default one.

The DocumentRoot says to Apache which directory to use as root for the site. I have created the specified document root directories, and put in both of them an index.html file.

Looks easy, doesn't it? Still, even at this basic level, there are a few thing that could go wrong. And the resulting error messages could look cryptical.


If NameVirtualHost is not matching with any VirtualHost (a different port number is enough) Apache doesn't know what to do of that directive, and a "NameVirtualHost has no VirtualHosts" warning is issued at startup.

I have already noted that if the NameVirtualHost port is not explicitly given, the one specified in the Listen directive is used. But you should ensure to keep the same convention for the associated VirtualHost, too. Otherwise you could get a "VirtualHost mixing * ports and non-* ports with a NameVirtualHost address is not supported, proceeding with undefined results".

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