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Linux Apache SSL PHP/FI frontpage mini-HOWTO


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Dedicated Servers - Setting up a Dedicated Server

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

__________ ______ ____ __________ ______ ____ ________

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

1.1 Description of the components

1.2 Working configurations

1.3 History

2. Component installation

2.1 Preparations

2.2 Adding PHP

2.3 Adding SSL

2.4 Adding frontpage

3. Putting it all together

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

__________ ______ ____ __________ ______ ____ ________

1. Introduction

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.

1.1 Description of the components

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.

1.2 Working configurations

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


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

(*) version 3.0.3 is ``not recommended''

1.3 History

v0.0/Apr 98: Preview version

v1.0/Jun 98: Now using Apache 1.2.6, updated fp section, minor


v1.1/Jul 98: Sgmlized and restructered version

You can find the latest version of this document at


2. Component installation

2.1 Preparations

You will need:

Apache 1.2.6 <>

PHP/FI Extensions


GD Library <>

SSL 0.8.0 <>

SSL patch for Apache 1.2.6


frontpage 98 server extensions and install script


Get the sources you want. Untar apche, php, gd and ssl to /usr/src.

Untar the SSL patch to /usr/src/apache_1.2.6.

2.2 Adding PHP

cd to /usr/src/gd1.2 and type make. This will build the GD library

libgd.a, that should be copied to /usr/lib. Now cd to php-2.0.1 and

run ./install.

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.

Type make to build all files. When the compilation is done, copy

mod_php.* and libphp.a to /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src Add a line

Module php_module mod_php.o

to the end of /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src/Configuration, add

-lphp -lm -lgdbm -lgd

to the EXTRA_LIBS in the same file,

application/x-httpd-php phtml

to Apache's mime.types and

AddType application/x-httpd-php .phtml

to Apache's srm.conf.

You may also want to add index.phtml to DirectoryIndex in that file so

that a file index.phtml is automatically loaded when its directory is


2.3 Adding SSL

cd /usr/src/SSL-0.8.0; ./Configure linux-elf; make; make rehash This

will create libraries needed by apache. You may issue 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. cd to /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src and issue

patch < /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/SSLpatch. Set

SSL_BASE=/usr/src/SSLeay-0.8.0 in Configuration. Make sure that Module

proxy_module is disabled otherwise Apache won't compile. If you are in

need of a proxy, go for Squid

Now make certificate to generate SSLconf/conf/httpsd.pem.

2.4 Adding frontpage

Rename the 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 files to /usr/local/frontpage. zcat can usually be invoked

as /usr/bin/zcat.

You now have to apply the FP patch. cd to /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/src

and type patch < /usr/src/frontpage/version3.0/apache-fp/fp-patch-

apache_1.2.5 This will create the mod_frontpage.* files and do some

modifications to 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

3. Putting it all together

3.1 Apache modules to try

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

3.2 Giving CGI's more security

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 /usr/src/apache_1.2.6/support and

make suexec. 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.

3.3 Compiling and installing the server daemon

Enter /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

Configure and make. This is the last (and most complicated)

compilation step, so cross your fingers. If it succeeds, cp httpsd to

/usr/sbin. The daemon is somewhat big, consider this when assembling

your webserver. Create the directory /var/httpd with subdirectories

cgi-bin, conf, htdocs, icons, virt1, virt2 and logs. In

/usr/src/apache_1.2.6/conf edit access.conf-dist, mime.types and

srm.conf-dist to suit your needs and copy them to

var/httpd/conf/access.conf, srm.conf and mime.types. Copy the

httpsd.pem you created with make certificate to /var/httpd/conf. Use

the following httpd.conf:

ServerType standalone

Port 80

Listen 80

Listen 443

User wwwrun

Group wwwrun


ServerRoot /var/httpd

ErrorLog logs/error_log

TransferLog logs/access_log

PidFile logs/


MinSpareServers 3

MaxSpareServers 20

StartServers 3

SSLCACertificatePath /var/httpd/conf

SSLCACertificateFile /var/httpd/conf/httpsd.pem

SSLCertificateFile /var/httpd/conf/httpsd.pem

SSLLogFile /var/httpd/logs/ssl.log




DocumentRoot /var/httpd/virt1

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /var/httpd/virt1/cgi-bin/


ErrorLog logs/virt1-error.log

TransferLog logs/virt1-access.log

User virt1admin

Group users




DocumentRoot /var/httpd/virt1

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /var/httpd/virt1/cgi-bin/


ErrorLog logs/virt1-ssl-error.log

TransferLog logs/virt1-ssl-access.log

User virt1admin

Group users

SSLCACertificatePath /var/httpd/conf

SSLCACertificateFile /var/httpd/conf/httpsd.pem

SSLCertificateFile /var/httpd/conf/httpsd.pem

SSLLogFile /var/httpd/logs/virt1-ssl.log

SSLVerifyClient 0






DocumentRoot /var/httpd/virt2

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /var/httpd/virt2/cgi-bin/


ErrorLog logs/virt2-error.log

TransferLog logs/virt2-access.log


Depending on the modules compiled in, not all directives may be

available. You can retrieve a list of available directives with

httpsd -h.

3.4 Adding frontpage support to a web

Enter /usr/local/frontpage/version3.0/bin and load ./fpsrvadm. Choose

install and apache-fp. The next questions should be answered the

following way:

Enter server config filename: /var/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Enter host name for multi-hosting []:

Starting install, port:, 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

manually add sendmailcommand:/usr/sbin/sendmail %r to

/usr/local/frontpage/, otherwise 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 with your

frontpage client.

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 fpsrvadm.

3.5 Starting the daemon

Start Apache with httpsd -f /var/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. You can now

access 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.

3.6 Some considerations left

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 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 for frontpage.

You can find out the more specific version number by executing

/usr/local/frontpage/currentversion/exes/_vti_bin/shtml.exe -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

are more usable.

3.7 Known bugs

When touching 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.

3.8 The final word

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.

Politica de confidentialitate



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