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Apache: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

Ben Laurie , Peter Laurie
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 8, 1997 1565922506 978-1565922501 1

The freeware Apache Web server runs on about half of the world's existing Web sites, and it is rapidly increasing in popularity. Apache: The Definitive Guide, written and reviewed by key members of the Apache Group, describes how to obtain, set up, and secure the Apache software.

Apache was originally based on code and ideas found in the most popular HTTP server of the time: NCSA httpd 1.3 (early 1995). It has since evolved into a far superior system that can rival (and probably surpass) almost any other UNIX-based HTTP server in terms of functionality, efficiency, and speed. It has several new features (among which are highly configurable error messages, DBM-based authentication databases, and content negotiation). It also offers dramatically improved performance and fixes many bugs in the NCSA 1.3 code.

Contents include:

  • The history of the Apache Group
  • Obtaining and compiling the server
  • Configuring and running Apache, including such topics as directory structures, virtual hosts, and CGI programming
  • The Apache Module API
  • Apache security
  • A complete list of configuration

With Apache: The Definitive Guide, Web administrators new to Apache can come up to speed more quickly than ever before by working through the tutorial demo. Experienced administrators and CGI programmers will find the reference sections indispensable. Apache: The Definitive Guide is the definitive documentation for the world's most popular Web server. Includes CD-ROM with Apache manuals and demo sites discussed in the book.

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Editorial Reviews Review

With distributions for both Unix and 32-bit Windows environments, the Apache Web server boasts reliability, security, and scalability--and it's free. Apache: The Definitive Guide shows Apache administrators how to perform their jobs, detailing the server through version 1.3.

The authors--one of them a member of the Apache development team--begin with an academic discussion of what Web servers do before walking the reader through the process of installing Apache. Installation gets much attention--readers find out, step by step, how to set up a Web site (or several) under Apache, and how to set up Web site security and other preferences properly. The book also provides in-depth discussions of particular aspects of Apache operation, including MIME handling, the Common Gateway Interface (CGI), and security features such as authentication and caching.

For the programmers in the crowd, this book documents the Apache API with discussions of resource pools and their allocation, plus a full API reference. A tutorial explains how to write Apache extension modules in C. In all matters, Apache: The Definitive Guide covers both Unix and Win32 machines, but it places more emphasis on the Unix port. The complete source code of Apache 1.3 appears on the CD-ROM that ships with the book. --David Wall --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


'Co-authored by Ben Laurie, one of the elite of programmers who code Apache, this really is the definitive text on how to get and use the Apache Web Server.... This is a clear road map for anyone considering setting up an Apache web server and an indispensable reference for all Apache users.' - Pat Crawford, Computer Bulletin, May 2000 'I have no reason to doubt its claim as the definitive guide and the 2nd edition is probably justified. If your intention is to use Apache, then Lauries' book is probably not just definitive, but essential. It takes the reader through from the design of the simplest possible 'hello world' site to a complex application involving on-line forms etc.' - Joe McCool, Cvu, January 2000 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (March 8, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565922506
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565922501
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,680,518 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 53 people found the following review helpful
I am a computer professional and I got the book in order to install and run Apache on our company web servers. I do know my way around UNIX and NT, but I'm no system administrator.
I was shocked at the bad reviews. I found this book to be a great read and organized as should be.
The only reason I think someone would not like this book is if they are use to GUI tools in the Windows world. If you know UNIX/LINUX and aren't scared of OS command lines, this book is great.
If you are a Windows geek, this book may not be that great, but let's face it, Apache and TCP/IP is UNIX at it's best.
I found this book a good training source and reference manual.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Useful for Apache beginners March 12, 2000
As O'Reilly books go, Apache: The Definitive Guide is really rather weak. There's enough information to get an Apache installation up and running, but there's nowhere near enough depth for it to be called a 'definitive' guide. It's also a little out of date.
A far better book is Wrox's 'Professional Apache' which covers everything the O'Reilly book does and much more.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's good for linux user December 2, 1999
By A Customer
This is a very good book for apache. When I first got the book, I agreed with other readers' complain of poor organization. However, after 1 hour of reading it, I began to realized that I was wrong. The unique part of this book is that instead of teaching you about install and configure apache on the first shot. It actually teaches you the more detailed configuration by trying different option one at a time. This way, you learn more about the internal of the apache instead of compile and install based on the original options set by This way, you can avoid many problems that might occur later on. By the way, if you don't know much about linux/unix, don't bother to install apache on a linux/unix machine.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent start for Web Administrators August 30, 2000
O'Reilley and Associates seems to have a knack at publishing good, solid technical manuals -- and "Apache: The Definitive Guide" is no exception.
One of the best features of this book is the assumption that the reader knows nothing about web servers, and builds a good solid knowledge of apache, the most popular web server on the internet today (and one of only a few offering true HTTP-compliance). The book guides the reader through the purpose of Apache, the HTTP protocol, and then on to writing Apache config files from scratch (once you learn how to do this, you'll never want to use the default config). From there, the book goes on to discuss advanced topics such as server-side includes, Secure socket layer, and even a reference into the Apache API.
The only suggestion I'd add -- when you try the examples in this book, make sure you have a clean install of Apache. If you're on linux, don't use the version of Apache that shipped with your system -- start from scratch, follow the book. For windows users, don't be intimidated by the lack of a visual front-end (this is actually a benefit on a real production web server). Follow the book and all the special notes for Win32, and you'll be an Apache guru in no time.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not too useful for standard Linux installations July 19, 2000
I would imagine that the book might be easier to follow if I had done exactly what the authors do, which is to install FreeBSD and then install Apache with the included CD-ROM. But that's not really an option in most cases unless you can afford to have a separate machine that doesn't have the standard Linux installation on it, just for following the book. I've learned a lot more about how to set up Apache to properly on Linux (Redhat 6.2) by searching around the web and reading the online documentation than from this book. This is so disappointing, because like others, I usually love anything that is published by O'Reilly. The only thing that stops me from giving it a lower rating is that some of the information is kind of useful. I have Professional Apache on order now, and I'm hoping for more from that.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Something of a Lemon July 9, 2000
An unwelcome reminder that not everything that comes from O'Reilly is top notch.
This book seems to have been written half heartedly. The explanations of many of the directives in the configuration file seem to be repetitions of online manual contents with the authors not taking the time to provide really useful insights or clarify difficult concepts.
The attitude of the book seems to be: "This is what we did to get Apache running on BSD and Windows. If it helps you, great, if not, tough !"
I also have a doubt about the technical credibility of the authors. Their advice seems glib and dubious at times.
I have run Apache on Windows before without consulting documentation and I expected to learn something useful from this book. Not in the 1st three chapters.
Not a great tutorial. Not a very good reference manual.
One of the few books I would lend to someone and probably not worry about it being returned.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for Newbies or Windows Users December 29, 2002
Really, this book can be described as the Apache httpd manual in much greater detail.
The book covers pretty much everything you might want to know about running Apache on a *nix or Windows Operating System, but the basic attitude toward Windows users is "If it doesn't work for you - tough luck", which is fine, since Apache really isn't meant to run on Windows as anything more than a test server anyway. Still, I fear that a lot of the Windows folks who are jumping into the Open Source craze may pick this book up and be greatly disappointed.
Another problem I had with the book was the fact that it plays out as more of a step by step manual for setting up specific features of Apache. This makes it fairly difficult to use it for reference later on, but perhaps the idea was that once you got through this book, you could use the web and the manual as a reference instead.
All in all, the book is fairly useful, it just takes some getting used to. If you plan to use it to set up a Windows server, you'd probably be better off braving the various forums and threads out there available to Apache users. However, if you have a good Operating System (BSD, Unix, or Linux), and you want some extra help setting up your Apache server, or setting up specific parts of your Apache server, by all means give this book a shot. It's an above average book, but it's below average by O'Reilly standards.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Very basic, generalized. Not much there.
If you've used Apache without even reading about any detailed configurations, you'd still not see anything new in this book. Read more
Published on May 10, 2003 by Tim Greer
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Intro Book
Apache the Definitive Guide 2nd Edition
I think this book was exactly what I needed. Coming over from the M$ world where everything is a GUI, the httpd. Read more
Published on September 9, 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the Big Picture
The authors jump in with an example configuration, but never explain how each element of the configuration relates to the rest. Read more
Published on April 10, 2002 by Duncan J. Kenzie
3.0 out of 5 stars Thought would be a usual "O really!?" :-(
I had been dealing with Apache before I purchased this book, and I tell you, learnt a lot. The feature of the book that I liked the most was illustration servers that they build on... Read more
Published on November 28, 2001 by "sherzodr"
2.0 out of 5 stars Outdated and Poorly Targeted
This book is targeted at the wrong people. It's written at a level of detail that falls somewhere between what you'd need if you already know how to work with Apache and that you'd... Read more
Published on October 29, 2001 by E. Scoles
2.0 out of 5 stars Less than expected
I have to agree with many of the reviews. This book is not up to par with other O'Reilly editions. It is a good reference, though not worth the price considering the on-line docs... Read more
Published on October 24, 2001
2.0 out of 5 stars I need something better
I did not like this book. I think you can do much better with another Apache book. The authors basically wrote a diary of setting up a webserver from start to finish. Read more
Published on September 19, 2001 by Gene Ballard
1.0 out of 5 stars You'd Be Better Off Printing the Apache Online Help
This book, unlike virtually every other O'Reilly book I own, almost completely fails in its effort to educate the reader. Read more
Published on September 17, 2001 by James W. Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars For those new to Apache...
I respectfully disagree with most of the reviews I've read in this book. As the back of
the book states it is designed primarily for those who are "new" to Apache (as I am). Read more
Published on August 2, 2001 by M Terrell Denman
5.0 out of 5 stars If there's a better intro to Apache, I haven't found it
For anyone new to Apache, The Definitive Guide is, by far, the best bet. In a little over an hour, I understood enough about Apache to confidently add it to my resume under... Read more
Published on July 18, 2001
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