22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2002
Peter Wainwright has done another fine job of covering the installation, configuration and running of Apache, this
time focussing on version 2.0 of the application.
Much of the material in this book was covered in his previous edition (Professional Apache), though the obvious
emphasis here is on Apache 2.0. However, Apache 1.3 isn't ignored and the book is still useful for anyone using
that version, as well as anyone simply migrating to 2.0.
As before, it starts with a basic overview of the HTTP protocol, TCP/IP and server hardware. These are useful for
beginners, but I'd hope that anyone thinking of running a web server would have this knowledge already.
The section on improving web server security has been expanded into its own chapter and includes plenty of useful
system security and integrity advice not peculiar to web servers, but crucial nonetheless. The chapter on
extending Apache with third-party modules has had an overhaul too, now covering the likes of WebDAV and
mod_python. mod_perl, which has changed drastically for Apache 2.0, is also covered in detail for both versions of
I've recently built an Apache 2.0 server from scratch using nothing but this book, and apart from a couple of
typos I've found it to have covered every step of the way without coming across any errors or omissions (the index
is very good but in the May 2002 print I have some of the entries are one page out). The book is still very
Unix-centric, though there seems to be more specific information for Windows users than in the previous edition.
But then who would run Apache on Windows anyway? The author makes his views clear near the start of the book that
Unix is a preferable platform, but for the masochists there seems to be enough information to get Apache running
If I have any complaints it's that perhaps the chapter on monitoring Apache could have been expanded somewhat in
its description of log analysis tools. Only Analog is covered in any depth, though it is described in plenty of
detail from installation to configuration and is arguably the most useful analyser out there anyway.
Professional Apache 2.0 isn't a bed-time read, but it's an excellent tutorial and reference for the Apache
administrator and far more useful than the online documentation. If you are planning to install or run Apache,
then I highly recommend this book.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2002
Apache's HTTP server has been by many measures the most popular web server on the web, and perhaps the primary application that drives people to Linux and open source. Three years ago, Wrox published the definitive book on running the Apache server by Peter Wainwright. Excellent though the book was, it badly needed updating. In May 2002, Wrox published another book, Professional Apache 2.0, which covers the new generation of Apache server, as well as older 1.3x versions that are still running production servers around the world."
Although Apache changed a great deal in its version 2.0, it is a credit to the Apache folk that the config files and command line options have basically remained the same for sys admins. For this reason, the book seems to include a lot of material (CGI security, building, core modules) from the original book. However, a closer look reveals many changes. Almost every chapter includes a discussion about how features differ in both versions of Apache. The book does a good job of giving an overview of Apache's architectural changes and how the use of multi-processing modules (MPM) allow the admin to choose an optimal implementation of apache. This edition, noticeably bigger than the previous one, contains many more examples of how one can extend apache functionality (configuring for binary distribution, setting up virtual interfaces, load sharing). Many sections have been expanded. The discussion of security and SSL is more detailed, yet more succinct; so is the section on content negotiation, (which is twice as long as the previous book), doing proxy server configurations, rsync and benchmarking performance. The discussion on hardening the server was great and up-to-date, although I wish the book spent more time discussing on patching and upgrading.
What is new to the book? We find a longer discussion of graphic administration tools for Windows and Unix, including webmin (which actually I wanted more of). We also have discussions of newer modules such as mod_ruby, mod_python, mod_dav as well as a brief description on how to install tomcat alongside apache. The discussion of mod_dav was especially helpful and interesting to me (and I was especially glad that the author acknowledged the Subversion DAV module, something which is bound to become more important). The php stuff hasn't changed much (although at the time the book was published, 2.0 compatibility with PHP was still an iffy proposition). The book's discussion of mod_perl isn't significantly different, although it does point out migration issues and some additional features.
Generally, the book is clearly written and contains enough examples to find any configuration you want. A few parts required rereading (especially the part about proxies and proxypasses), and occasionally I needed a better explanation of what the example code was supposed to do.
No book can be everything for everybody, and nobody can accuse the book of not having enough content (it is after all more than 700 pages!). I found myself wishing for other things. The book briefly discussed 2.0's support for ipv6, but I longed for a fuller explanation and a more detailed example (Fortunately, I had seen a good ipv6 tutorial on Linux Journal ). Also, I would have liked more information about other web application servers (like zope that Apache sometimes coexists with, content frameworks (such as cocoon) and other goodies produced by the Apache Foundation. The author might legitimately feel that such subjects lie outside the book's scope, but such topics are becoming more important.
In summary: for newbies who are looking for a guide to start with: this is the definitive book to read. It's definitive and a little imposing, but it is well written and logically arranged.
For people already familiar with Apache 1.3 but looking for more depth about ipv6, php, content frameworks or Tomcat, it might be better to read books on those specific subjects instead of this one. Indeed, Wrox will soon be coming out with a book specifically on Apache and Tomcat.
For experienced system administrators, the material in this book may not be terribly new, but they will still appreciate the variety of configuration examples for managing large numbers of virtual hosts and the convenience of having documentation of the 1.3/2.0 differences at their fingertips.
21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2002
Moving from the IIS environment to the Unix environment; being fairly computer literate and having become quite familiar with basic Unix administration, I was looking for a good source to get me up to speed on Apache.
This book is not it.
It assumes a fairly detailed basic knowledge which most 'newbies' to the Unix/Apache world just do not have. After I had learnt quite a bit about Apache (from another source) I found this book excelent to tune that knowledge. It is however, as the title 'Professional Apache' suggests, for the Professional Apache administrator. Don't get it to learn about Apache, get it when you already know quite a bit about Apache, and need to learn how to refine that knowledge and need to tweak Apache for maximum performance!
Wainwright is incredibly knowledable, but like many knowledgeable people he forgets that for the average Joe to get from A to Z he has to go via BCDE & F and can't start at UVWX & Y. This is not a criticism of Peter but rather is a criticism of the Wrox editorial staff.
I do feel that the editorial staff could, with a little intelligent effort, have helped Peter create a book that could indeed have become the 'bible' of Apache Administration.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2002
Books on Apache version 2 are still thin on the ground so finding this was a blessing.
Wainwright has written a good book that starts with the absolute basics and covers almost everything you will need to know about running an Apache 2.0 web server, including building, installing, configuring and fine tuning. He also takes care to point out the differences between 1.3.x and 2.0 versions and gives you details on the changes between versions - not just between 1.3 and 2.0 but also the differences in 1.3 sub versions.
The sections on security and fine tuning are invaluable, well written and chock full of extremely good advice - ignore this stuff at your peril.
There are some typographic errors, but not many for such a large volume. Some might also find the style dense - some sections deserve reading twice - but this is more that Peter is trying to get so much information in than any real deficiency in his writing.
There are enought examples to make the text understandable without padding the volume out unnecessarily, though a couple of the most annoying typo's were in examples.
It is certainly better than Kabir's 'Apache Server 2 Bible' which does not really cover enough for real world Apache administrator's. I would recommend this book to all Apache administrator's. Even if you don't have a 2.0 server in production (I currently don't) you will find the book essential for starting the testing and migrating. At the moment I'm working on some software in PHP, Perl and Java and I'm finding this book extremely useful as I run 2.0 on a test installation.
I give it only four stars as the information you require is sometimes a little scattered - not badly so but enough that I noticed it when first using the book to configure an Apache 2 server. If you are configuring one from scratch without much knowledge then you might not even notice as this book is laid out in a fairly logical order for that.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2002
I got this book looking for a rich learning experience and was not disappointed. This book has got some in-depth discussions on the installation and configuration options part with usage, performance and scalability in mind. There is a very informative chunk on security which greatly increases the value of this book.
Its great for references on building and configuring apache modules. Its got a good chapter on "Deciding what the client wants" which was really helpful for me fine tune apache. I got some good insight into using WebDAV and fastCGI. This book also has details on a wide variety of CGI/embedded scripting options like mod_ruby, mod_WebDAV, mod_snake apart from mod_php, mod_perl and mod_tcl.
We use Tomcat at work and this book briskly walked me through how to connect (various connector details included) to an Apache server from Tomcat. The SSL and other security feature details were invaluable when I was setting up our internal server at work.
The primary weakness in this book was that occasionally I found Peter's narration style a bit complex to catch on to the first time but I guess his command of the subject makes up for it. The GUI utilities are well covered but not as much as I would like. This is a great book if you need to install and configure Apache rather than develop on it(DSO modules). All in all, this is a good book that lives up to its title.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2002
This book was quite impressive. This book has helped me set up several Apache 2.0 servers, all in a very short peroid of time. Any problems I had, the book always had good troubleshooting tips.
The section on mod_python, PHP, and mod_perl were brilliant and things compiled perfectly without any problems. Like I said, everything was up and running much faster with the book to my side.
I tried installing mod_snake and it compiled and was built perfectly. I am glad that there was mod_snake mentioned in the book, as the project has been abandoned, and I have yet to see a book covering the project. Especially now.
Overall, yes, it may seem this book was rushed, but everything you'll need as a systems administrator is mentioned in the book. Wainwright did a good job.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 30, 2002
book.I had earlier read Kabirs Apache 2.0 bible and bought this book expecting to read the chapter on Extending Apache and chapters on forking and threading. While i did find a chapter on extending apache with third party modules i found the read absolutely incomprehensible due to ... conflicting styles and non-uniformity in coverage of each module.I would have also expected to see text on writing custom modules. Afterall extending apache implies future connotations for creating new modules and their subsequent implementation. I found very thin material, almost near to nothing,in the forking/threading or performance boosting areas of Apache 2.0 - this i think falls in the learning domain of a Professional apache administrator.
Negativity apart,i have given this 2 stars because the scale of coverage in relation to the release timing is good.If the above flaws had been mended [in] the Extending apache chapter (i have not read the other ones deeply) it could have walked away with a five star and a great edge over the other thin Apache 2.0 competitors.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2002
Peter Wainwright and the co-authors combine a vast knowledge of the Apache webserver with the talent to share it to a mixed audience.
They also manage to combine some of the many possibilities of the software into new solutions.
I used this book as part of an Apache course and was happy to find many of the answers to unexpected questions from students on special matters.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2002
It was really nice to see this title , especially looking towards the timeframe in which it has covered a latest & hot topic like Apche 2.0
I would like to put 4 stars for it after taking a glance at the whole work done. One should agree on the fact that the coverage is huge.
This is a good *reference* for developers who are deploying their applications "on Apache" , but certainly not for an "Apache developer" !
Putting all the plus points together , I found it a
-Good squence of contents , which maintain the flow with conciseness.
-Covers all the basic-to-intermediate level requirements for the admins with full configuration options,
building , controling contents and maintaining the server.
-A well spanned covergae on all aspects/technologies related to Apache security is a major strength of this title
-Good coverage of all the major topics related to Apache for admin and system architects who are using Apache for
deploying their products like Java using Tomcat,Ruby,PHP,CGI,Perl etc.
-Coverage of topics like Tomcat configuration , WebDAV , What log files DON'T tell you etc. were delighting one.
-Nice to see some very useful info on related points like basics of networking , migrating to IPv6 , hardware choice etc
along with the core subject. They will prove useful for beginners.
But this title certainly deficit in ,
-Detailed underlying execution behavior of Apache, it's modules and the underlying OS.
-Information on mod_jk , AJP and WARP regarding configuration of Tomcat with Apache is very less.
-Little coverage on Apache module development and internals of it.
-Most of the illustarions/illustrative steps are mentioned assuming unix variant OS. For Win32 there are very few tips provided.
-Some snap-shots and more details about configuring a Digital Certificate could have made a lot difference.
-Log Analysers and GUI config tools coverage is quite little. This is another thing which of practical use.
-Few but some serious typographic mistakes are annoying one like APJ (which should be AJP - Apache JServ Protocol) under
on February 12, 2006
This book was good for comparing apache 1.3 and apache 2.0, and that was the end of what helped. I am a programmer and a network administrator, and I am trying to intigrate FreeBSD and Apache into a windows environment. I am amazed by how much this book has overcomplicated simple things in apache. I paid about $22 for the book, and I have never been so disapointed.