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November 21, 2003

"Apache Cookbook": Solutions and Examples for Apache Administrators

Sebastopol, CA--The Apache web server is a remarkable piece of software. So state Ken Coar and Rich Bowen, authors of the newly released Apache Cookbook (O'Reilly, US $29.95). And it's a statement that's difficult to argue with when you consider that the Apache server is by far the most widely used web server platform in the world. Free and rock-solid, it runs more than half of the world's web sites, ranging from huge e-commerce operations to corporate intranets and smaller hobby sites. But according to Coar and Bowen, what makes it especially remarkable is that it includes extensibility by design. In short, they say, "If the Apache package right out of the box does not do what you want, you can generally extend it so that it does. If the extensions, or modules, included in the package distribution don't meet your needs, there's an excellent chance that someone among the millions of users in the world has concocted a 'recipe' of changes or enhancements that'll meet your requirements."

The "Apache Cookbook" is a collection of these recipes: more than one hundred problems, solutions, and practical examples for webmasters, web administrators, programmers, and everyone else who works with Apache. All the recipes are drawn from real-life situations, encountered either by the authors or other people who have asked from the authors' help. For every problem addressed in the book, the authors offer a worked-out solution or "recipe"--short, focused pieces of code that you can use immediately. But this book offers more than cut-and-paste code. Readers also get explanations of how and why the code works, so they can adapt the problem-solving techniques to similar situations.

The recipes in the "Apache Cookbook" range from simple tasks, such as installing the server on Red Hat Linux or Windows, to the more complex, such as securing and managing a proxy server, tuning for performance, and fine-tuning password protection. The book contains configuration examples on such topics as:

  • Redirecting and rewriting URLs
  • Denying access to unreferred requests
  • Running CGI scripts as the file's owner
  • Logging errors and accesses in more detail
  • Maintaining separate logs for each virtual host and rotating them each month
  • Determining how much memory your server needs
  • Optimizing symbolic links and process creation
  • Forwarding requests to another server
  • Protecting server files from malicious scripts
  • The impressive collection of useful code in this book is a guaranteed timesaver for all Apache users, from novices to advanced practitioners. Instead of poking around mailing lists, online documentation, and other sources, readers can rely on the "Apache Cookbook" for quick solutions to common problems, then spend their time and energy where it matters most.

    Additional Resources:

    Apache Cookbook
    Ken Coar and Rich Bowen
    ISBN 0-596-00191-6, 234 pages, $29.95 US, $46.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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