Linux Apache SSL PHP/FI frontpage mini-HOWTO
This document is about building a multipurpose webserver that will support dynamic web content via the PHP/FI scripting language, secure transmission of data based on Netscape's SSL, secure execution of CGI's and M$ Frontpage Server Extensions
- 3.1 Apache modules to try
- 3.2 Giving CGI's more security
- 3.3 Compiling and installing the server daemon
- 3.4 Adding frontpage support to a web
- 3.5 Starting the daemon
- 3.6 Some considerations left
- 3.7 Known bugs
- 3.8 The final word
Before you start reading: I am not a native speaker, so there are probably spelling/grammatical errors in this document. Feel encouraged to inform me of mistakes.
The webserver you hopefully will get after having read this howto is composed of several parts, the original apache sources with some (well, many) patches and some external executables. I recommend using the software versions I tried, they will probably compile without greater problems and result in a fairly stable daemon. If you are courageous, you can try to compile all the latest-stuff-with-tons-of-new-features, but don't blame me if something fails ;-). However, you may report other working configurations to be included in future versions of this document. All of the steps were tested on a linux 2.0.35 box, so the howto is somewhat linux-specific, but you should be able to use it for other unixes as well.
You do not necesserily have to compile in all components. I tried to structure this howto so that you can skip the parts you are not interested in.
The document is neither a user manual to Apache, SSL, PHP/FI nor frontpage. Its prime intention is to save webservice providers some headaches when installing their server and to do my little contribution to the linux community.
PHP is a scripting language that supports dynamic HTML pages. It is a bit like Apache's SSI, but by far more complex and has database modules for many popular dbs. The GD libraries are needed by PHP.
SSL is an implementation of Netscape's Secure Socket Layer that allow secure connections over insecure networks, e.g. to transmit credit card numbers to web based forms.
frontpage is a wysiwyg web authoring tool that makes use of some server-specific extensions called webbots. Some people think frontpage is cool because you can create feedback forms and discussion webs without having to know a bit about html or cgi. It even protects the designer from uploading his/her site via ftp by using a builtin publisher. If you wish to support frontpage but do not like to setup a windows server, the apache server extensions are your choice.
Though this document has been downloaded some 100 times since I published it, I received only little feedback. In particular, noone told me of other working combinations. Combinations that work for me are:
- Linux 2.0.31, Apache 1.2.4, PHP 2.0.0, SSL 0.8.0, fp 98 3.0.3 (*)
- Linux 2.0.33, Apache 1.2.5, PHP 2.0.1, SSL 0.8.0, fp 98 3.0.3 (*)
- Linux 2.0.35, Apache 1.2.6, PHP 3, SSL 0.8.0, fp 98 3.0.4
v0.0/Apr 98: Preview version
v1.0/Jun 98: Now using Apache 1.2.6, updated fp section, minor corrections
v1.1/Jul 98: Sgmlized and restructered version
You can find the latest version of this document at http://www.faure.de
You will need:
- Apache 1.2.6 http://www.apache.org/dist/apache_1_2_6.tar.gz
- PHP/FI Extensions http://php.iquest.net/files/download.phtml?/files/php-2.01.tar.gz
- GD Library http://siva.cshl.org/gd/gd.html
- SSL 0.8.0 ftp://ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto/SSL/SSLeay-0.8.0.tar.gz
- SSL patch for Apache 1.2.6 ftp://ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/crypto/SSL/apache_1.2.6+ssl_1.17.tar.gz
- frontpage 98 server extensions and install script http://www.rtr.com/fpsupport/download.htm
Get the sources you want. Untar apche, php, gd and ssl to
/usr/src. Untar the SSL patch to
cd to /usr/src/gd1.2 and type make. This will build
the GD library
libgd.a, that should be copied to
php-2.0.1 and run
The relevant questions are:
Would you like to compile PHP/FI as an Apache module? [yN] y Are you compiling for an Apache 1.1 or later server? [Yn] y Are you using Apache-Stronghold? [yN] y Does your Apache server support ELF dynamic loading? [yN] y Apache include directory (which has httpd.h)? [/usr/local/include/apache] /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src Would you like to build an ELF shared library? [yN] y Additional directories to search for .h files : /usr/src/gd1.2 Would you like the bundled regex library? [yN] n
Like the frontpage extensions, phtml includes a security problem because it is run under the uid of the webserver. Be sure to turn on safe mode in src/php.h and restrict the search path to a save value. There are some other options in php.h you may want to edit. If you are very concerned about security, compile php as a cgi. However, this will be a performance loss and not as smart as the module version.
make to build all files. When the compilation is
/usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src Add a line
Module php_module mod_php.oto the end of
-lphp -lm -lgdbm -lgdto the
EXTRA_LIBSin the same file,
application/x-httpd-php phtmlto Apache's
AddType application/x-httpd-php .phtmlto Apache's
You may also want to add
DirectoryIndex in that file so that a file index.phtml
is automatically loaded when its directory is requested.
cd /usr/src/SSL-0.8.0; ./Configure linux-elf; make; make
rehash This will create libraries needed by apache. You may
make test to verify the compilation. You have to
apply a patch to apache. It is important that you apply it before
the frontpage patch, otherwise frontpage will not work.
/usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src and issue
patch < /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/SSLpatch. Set
Configuration. Make sure that
proxy_module is disabled otherwise Apache won't compile. If
you are in need of a proxy, go for Squid http://squid.nlanr.net/
make certificate to generate
fp30.linux.tar.Z file to
fp30.linux.tar.gz, otherwise the install script will
not find it. Run
./fp_install to copy the extension
/usr/local/frontpage. zcat can usually be
invoked as /usr/bin/zcat.
You now have to apply the FP patch.
/usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src and type
This will create the
mod_frontpage.* files and do some
Configuration etc. The 1.2.5 patch
will work with both apache 1.2.5 and 1.2.6. Skip the part about
installing webs, you can do that later
The modules I use besides SSL, PHP and frontpage are:
Module env_module mod_env.o Module config_log_module mod_log_config.o Module mime_module mod_mime.o Module negotiation_module mod_negotiation.o Module dir_module mod_dir.o Module cgi_module mod_cgi.o Module asis_module mod_asis.o Module imap_module mod_imap.o Module action_module mod_actions.o Module alias_module mod_alias.o Module rewrite_module mod_rewrite.o Module access_module mod_access.o Module auth_module mod_auth.o Module anon_auth_module mod_auth_anon.o Module digest_module mod_digest.o Module expires_module mod_expires.o Module headers_module mod_headers.o Module browser_module mod_browser.o
If you are an ISP (you probably are when you read this) you will
want to improve security. The suexec utility allows you to do so;
it will execute cgi's under the UID of the webowner instead of
executing it under the webservers UID. Go to
chmod 4711 suxec and copy it to the
location specified in
../src/httpd.h which is
/usr/local/etc/httpd/sbin/suexec by default. If the
path seems a little cryptic to you - it did to me - edit
httpd.h and set the path to a more comfortable value.
/usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src and edit
Configuration to set all the Modules you want to
include in your Apache daemon. When done, run
make. This is the last
(and most complicated) compilation step, so cross your fingers. If
cp httpsd to
daemon is somewhat big, consider this when assembling your
webserver. Create the directory
srm.conf-dist to suit your needs and copy them to
mime.types. Copy the
make certificate to
/var/httpd/conf. Use the following
Depending on the modules compiled in, not all directives may be
available. You can retrieve a list of available directives with
/usr/local/frontpage/version3.0/bin and load
apache-fp. The next questions should be answered the
Enter server config filename: /var/httpd/conf/httpd.conf Enter host name for multi-hosting : www.virt2.com Starting install, port: www.virt2.com:80, web: "" Enter user's name : virt2admin Enter user's password: Confirm password: Creating root web Recalculate links for root web Install completed.
The user name must be the unix login of the webowner. The password
does not necessarily have to match the system password. You have to
sendmailcommand:/usr/sbin/sendmail %r to
your users will not be able to send web-generated eMails.
kill -HUP your
httpsd to make fp reread
its config. You can now access
www.virt2.com with your
Under some circumstances
fpsrvadm complaints that a
root web has to be installed first. This is pretty useless, but you
should do so to silence
Start Apache with
/var/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. You can now access
www.virt1.com both through http and https which is
pretty cool. Of course you have to pay for a real certificate if
you want to offer webwide SSL or users might laugh at you.
Copy one of the demo files from the php examples directory to
virt1 to test phtml.
Do not use frontpage 97 extensions. They do not work, at least
under Linux. When installing specific versions of the c++
libraries, they appear to work but your logs will soon fill with
premature end of script headers and your mailbox will
fill with complaints. Do not use frontpage 98 extensions before
version 184.108.40.2060. Do not be confused, version numbers are
somewhat inheterogenous. When telnetting to port 80, typing "get /
http/1.0" and hitting return twice, you get a version number 3.0.4
You can find out the more specific
version number by executing
-version. Older versions have a nasty bug that requires
httpd.conf to be writable by the gid of the webserver. This should
make you scream if you are at all concerned about security.
Versions since 220.127.116.110 are more usable.
Recalculate Links in the frontpage
client, the server starts a process that consumes 99% cpu cycles
and some 10 mb of memory. But even for medium-sized webs and fast
machines, the client sometimes recieves a timeout message, though
the calculation will be finished correctly. Inform frontpage users
to be patient and not to hit
Recalculate Links several
times. Inform yourself to equip the server with at least 64MB.
Please note that at the time of writing both SSL and frontpage work, but not at the same time, that means you can neither publish your web using ssl nor make use of the webbots through https. You can publish your web on port 80 and access it encrypted on port 443, but your counters etc. will be broken. I consider this a bug. This problem shall be fixed in SSL 0.9.0.
For those who think the title of this howto is nearly as long as the document: Did you ever listened to Meat Loaf?
O.K. readers, you're done for today. Feel free to send me your feedback, eternal gratitude, flowers, ecash, cars, oil sources etc.