Advanced Logging Techniques With Apache

Logs in Apache are more configurable than most people realize. Not only can you organize the fields in your logs, but you can also create formats and layouts. Access logs can be split and divided up to make them easier to process by reporting specific items or ignoring those items that have no relevance.The full article provides details on all the logging options provided by Apache.

Log Analysis Basics

You’d be amazed at how much information your machine, operating systems, and applications generate during their normal course of operation. One of my relatively quiet Unix servers, for example, generates about 2 MB of syslog information every week. But that information is completely useless unless it is converted into meaningful data about what is going on on the server. To do this, I need to know about errors, any potential problems, and any failures that could cause the machine to go down or fail at a critical time. In other words, I have to analyze the logs.This article, at ServerWatch.com, covers some of the basics of log analysis, hitting on what we believe are the key points and techniques, so you too can analyzes your voluminous server logs.

Apache Maintenance Basics

You’ve downloaded and configured your Apache server and are ready to move on to the next project. Can it really be left to fend for itself in a darkened room?Yes. To some degree, anyway. With the exception of configuration testing, once Apache is up, you likely need never think about how the Web server is running.On the other hand, completely ignoring your Apache installation would be foolhardy. Doing some regular checks and maintenance on your Apache installation helps identify any issues — usually before they even become issues — and helps you stay up date with the latest security and performance patches. This article covers some of the major steps and maintenance tasks that should be regularly undertaken while the Apache system is running.You can read the full article on ServerWatch.com.

Reverse Proxying With Apache 2.0

The previous Apache-focused tutorial published on ServerWatch discussed the benefits of a proxy server for the network, and how it can speed up access, reduce bandwidth requirements, and perform basic information filtering tasks. This type of proxy is a forward proxy — it forwards requests from a network to the Internet.However, if the proxy model is flipped on its head, a different type of proxy server is created — a reverse proxy. In this instance, instead of requests from a client being forwarded (and optionally cached) through the proxy to the Internet, requests are forwarded (and cached) to one or more Web servers.Read the full article at ServerWatch.com.

Apache 2.0/WebDAV update

One of the problems with Windows XP is that when working with non-Windows servers and services that it supplies the wrong login authentication information. When you are prompted to login to a system like WebDAV, Windows XP wants to send DOMAINUser or user@domain.com – neither of which are particularly useful if you want to connect to a service that doesn’t expect a login in this format. There’s no easy way to get round this, and that can mean that supporting Windows XP WebDAV clients on your Apache server can be impossible.Fortunately, the folks at LuluWARE have an answer. Their Apache 2.0 authorization module will reformat Windows XP style logins into the bare format required by the Basic authentication system used in Apache for authentication.You can download the fix from here.Thanks to Chuck Gentry for this little piece of useful information.

IIS vs. Apache, Looking Beyond the Rhetoric

For some time, Apache and Microsoft have commanded the lion’s share of the Web server market. While Apache is the clear-cut winner in the Netcraft and Security Space monthly surveys, Internet Information Server dominates among Fortune 1000 enterprises.Both are viable choices, and each carries its own set of pros and cons.With Apache 2.0 in production release since mid-2002 and IIS 6.0 shipping since earlier this year, we’ve decided the time has come to run a feature-by-feature comparison of the two servers to help readers better determine which server suits their needs.The full article is on ServerWatch.com.

Performing Configuration Testing Using HTTPD-Test’s Perl Framework

HTTPD-Test is a collection of tools that provide ways of testing HTTP servers in general. The previously covered Flood (see Staying Out of Deep Water: Performance Testing Using HTTPD-Test’s Flood), is one such tool. As the name implies, Flood enables administrators to test the performance of a Web server by flooding it with requests.The Perl Framework, which is part of the same suite, concentrates on testing the configuration and components of Apache (the core binary and its associated support modules) on your platform to ensure the configuration works and the modules have compiled and installed properly. You can read the full article at ServerWatch.com

Staying Out of Deep Water: Performance Testing Using HTTPD-Test’s Flood

Once you’ve set up your server and users are accessing your Web site, the last thing you want to hear about are performance problems with the site. You can test the system manually, but there are limitations to manual-based testing.One major downside of manual testing (aside from the time investment) is that it doesn’t reveal where the real problem with the site lies. Is it a configuration problem with the server, a problem with some dynamic elements, or a more fundamental network performance issue?The Apache HTTP Project includes a sub-project called HTTPD-Test. As the name suggests, it’s a test suite for Apache and HTTP in general. The suite contains a number of different elements, and this article will focus on the one known as Flood. Flood is so named because it is used to flood an HTTP server with requests to test its response times.Flood uses an XML document with the necessary settings — URLs and optional POST data — to send requests to a given server or range of servers. Flood then measures the time it takes to:

  • Open the socket to the server
  • Write the request
  • Read the response
  • Close the socket

With these four criteria being measured, administrators can identify whether the problem is with the Apache configuration (or any other HTTP server), the sheer load and performance of the hardware, or a network bottleneck.See the full article for details on using Flood with your websites.

Integrating Tomcat with Apache

If you write JavaServer Pages or use Servlets to provide the functionality of your Web site, you’re probably already aware of Tomcat. Tomcat is the Apache Foundation’s reference implementation of the JavaServer Pages and Servlet technologies. Tomcat 3 covers the Servlet 2.2 and JSP 1.1 revisions, while Tomcat 4 covers Servlet 2.3 and JSP 1.2. Tomcat itself is part of the Jakarta Project, which is a suite of Java development tools developed through the Apache foundation.Installing Tomcat itself is relatively easy — download the corresponding installer from the Tomcat pages at Apache, expand the files or run the installer, and then use the corresponding script to start up the Tomcat service. Tomcat has its own built-in HTTP service that handles and services requests from clients. We’ll look at the specific steps later in this article. Read on to find out how we can integrate Tomcat with Apache.