Using Apache Virtual Hosts, you can encapsulate configuration details and host multiple websites on a single server. Using it you can customize each website by creating separate document root, security policy and different SSL certificates. This tutorial covers how to set up Apache Virtual Hosts on CentOS 8 server.
- A CentOS 8 server with a non-root user with sudo privileges.
- Apache should installed and configured, as shown in How to Install Apache on CentOS 8.
- A domain name should pointing to your server IP address.
Create Directory Structure
First, we will create a directory where website code files of a domain will store and serve response to visitors. Generally, it called
DocumentRoot. You can set the document root to any location as per your choice but it’s best practice to set in directory structure. Commonly, at
│ └── public_html
│ └── public_html
Here, we need to create separate directory inside
/var/www directory for each domain which we want to host on our server.
sudo mkdir -p /var/www/example1.com/public_html
For testing purpose we will create a
index.html file inside the domain document root directory. This page will be show by default when visitors will visit your site.
Creating a new
index.html file using your favorite text editor by typing :
sudo nano /var/www/example1.com/public_html/index.html
Add the below lines into it:
<!DOCTYPE html> <html> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Welcome!!</title> </head> <body> <h1>Success! example1.com set up completed!</h1> </body> </html>
Since all commands are executed as sudo user, so newly created files and directories are owned by the root user. We will change document root directories ownership to avoid permission issue for our regular user. Therefore, regular user can modify files in our web directories without any issues.
sudo chown -R apache: /var/www/example1.com
Creating Virtual Host Files
There are multiple ways to set up a virtual host. You can make separate file for each Virtual Host Directive or you can add all Virtual Host Directives in a single file. It’s recommended to make separate file for each domain because of it’s maintainability.
On CentOS, Apache will load all
.conf files from
/etc/httpd/conf.d/ directory because of it’s default configuration. So now we will create a separate virtual host.
Create a new file using your choice text editor by typing :
sudo nano /etc/httpd/conf.d/example1.com.conf
<VirtualHost *:80> ServerName example1.com ServerAlias www.example1.com DocumentRoot /var/www/example1.com/public_html <Directory /var/www/example1.com/public_html> Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks AllowOverride All </Directory> ErrorLog /var/log/httpd/example1.com-error.log CustomLog /var/log/httpd/example1.com-access.log combined </VirtualHost>
- ServerName: This should be your domain name and match with virtual host configuration.
- ServerAlias: All other domains or subdomains that should match for this virtual host as well, usually the www subdomain.
- DocumentRoot: Path of virtual host directory that from which Apache will serve the domain files.
- Options: This directive controls which server features are available in a specific directory.
- -Indexes: It will prevent directory listings.
- FollowSymLinks: Apache will follow the symbolic links if this option is enabled.
- AllowOverride: Specifies which directives declared in the
.htaccessfile can override the configuration directives.
- ErrorLog, CustomLog: Specifies the location for log files.
You can give any names to your configuration file but it’s recommended to give file name same as domain name.
Next, check the syntax by type :
sudo apachectl configtest
It will show below output if there are no errors:
You must restart apache2 service to make active newly created virtual hosts :
sudo systemctl restart httpd
Finally, you can verify by opening your
http://example1.com to your web browser and it will show you as following :
In this tutorial you have learned how to create and set up Apache Virtual Hosts on CentOS 8 system. You can repeat same steps for multiple domains.
Please leave a comment below, if you have any question or feedback.