Apache Cookbook
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: November 2003
Pages: 256

Apache is far and away the most widely used web server platform in the world. Both free and rock-solid, it runs more than half of the world's web sites, ranging from huge e-commerce operations to corporate intranets and smaller hobby sites, and it continues to maintain its popularity, drawing new users all the time. If you work with Apache on a regular basis, you have plenty of documentation on installing and configuring your server, but where do you go for help with the day-to-day stuff, like adding common modules or fine-tuning your activity logging?

The Apache Cookbook is a collection of problems, solutions, and practical examples for webmasters, web administrators, programmers, and everyone else who works with Apache. For every problem addressed in the book, there's a worked-out solution or "recipe"--short, focused pieces of code that you can use immediately. But this book offers more than cut-and-paste code. You also get explanations of how and why the code works, so you can adapt the problem-solving techniques to similar situations.

The recipes in the Apache Cookbook range from simple tasks, such installing the server on Red Hat Linux or Windows, to more complex tasks, such as setting up name-based virtual hosts or securing and managing your proxy server. The two hundred plus recipes in the book cover additional topics such as:

  • Security
  • Aliases, Redirecting, and Rewriting
  • CGI Scripts, the suexec Wrapper, and other dynamic content techniques
  • Error Handling
  • SSL
  • Performance
The impressive collection of useful code in this book is a guaranteed timesaver for all Apache users, from novices to advanced practitioners. Instead of poking around mailing lists, online documentation, and other sources, you can rely on the Apache Cookbook for quick solutions to common problems, and then you can spend your time and energy where it matters most.
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(2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Inspiring Cookbook

By tomaszn

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Apache Cookbook:

Apache HTTP Server is The Number One HTTP server on the Internet - as stands on its website. You can say - every user will find Apache one day. This book lets you to start an adventure with it, providing detailed installation instructions for some operating systems (with additional modules). Later, you will find about built-in logging subsystem, virtual hosts, security, performance, etc.

This is a cookbook, so for every topic (about 20 per chapter) you have "ingredients" and "procedure"... Oh, there are really "problem", "solution" and "discussion" parts. Discussions are very detailed, with description of every command line parameter and diverse examples.

Such a formula has several drawbacks. The most important is similar content in different questions - you see a way to do some specific, but related things but can't see a longer description of more advanced configurations. I presume that author could write just a long descriptive chapter but decided to make "a cookbook". Anyway such approach leaves some insufficiency on new subjects. Fortunately, many recipes have a "See also" part that links to other recipes and some Internet URLs.

As a security systems analyst I can review the "Security" chapter. It shows a wide range of tips - you can find ways to specify advanced file access permissions, find about how to prevent hot-linking and "denial of service" attacks, using some authentication mechanisms etc. That's really inspiring choice of possibilities! On the other hand, you will not find anything about OpenID authentication or federating sites for single sign-on. Although this functionality is provided by external modules, mentioning it could inspire readers, which haven't heard about these technologies.

This book is really good for webmasters-beginners or users that would like to verify their skills (how would I solve each problem?). One can see that he can make his life much easier when he realizes problems that were overlooked. For me, reading the "Apache Cookbook" was fun, especially in "one topic per tram stop" mode.

(2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Apache Cookbook Review

By Crouse

from Undisclosed

Comments about oreilly Apache Cookbook:

Reviewer: Crouse

Website: http://www.usalug.org

The Book:

Apache Cookbook

By Ken Coar & Rich Bowen

254 pages

1st Edition November 2003

ISBN: 0-596-00191-6

Book Link: http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/apacheckbk/

This book is a must have for anyone with an understanding of the Apache Web Server. It is basically a compilation of about 100 real life problems and the answers dealing with the Apache Web Server. Page after page of interesting problems and the solutions, all written in an easy to understand format. Starting with the preface, this book is very informative, and just keeps getting better as you read. Even those not very familiar with the Apache Web Server, would be able to understand most of what is written, it is explained that well.

Alot of ground is covered in these 254 pages. Everything from installing Apache from source, to more advanced topics, like "Sharing Load Between Servers using mod_proxy". While it isn't meant to be read cover to cover, and is more a "reference" for making the Apache Web Server do what you want it to do, it is a very easy to read book. If you want alot of knowledge of Apache, in a concise package, this book provides it in abundance. One of the few "reference" type books that I can actually read cover to cover, even though it's not really meant to be.

The book doesn't just cater to those running their own web servers. Many of the applications listed in the book can be very useful to those webmasters stuck in private directories on someone else's server. This is because of the wonderful properties of the .htaccess file. Many of the scenarios listed in the book can be applied by using the .htaccess file. So if your a webmaster, this book is useful for you too, if you have a web host that use's Apache. You don't even have to be a Linux nut like me.

What's in the book? Well the chapter titles say alot.

Chapter 1. Installation

Chapter 2. Adding Common Modules

Chapter 3. Logging

Chapter 4. Virtual Hosts

Chapter 5. Aliases, Redirecting, and Rewriting

Chapter 6. Security

Chapter 7. SSL

Chapter 8. Dynamic Content

Chapter 9. Error Handling

Chapter 10. Proxies

Chapter 11. Performance

Chapter 12. Miscellaneous Topics

The appendix's could very well have been just two more chapters. They have an

abundance of information themselves.

Appendix A. Using regular expressions

Appendix B. Troubleshooting

I believe Chapter 6, alone, is worth the price of this entire book. This was by far and away the most interesting section of this book for me. Maybe because security is job #1 when running a web server. This chapter covers alot of ground and answers alot of questions when it comes to security. This is the one section that I wish the author had alloted even more space to. Even so, this particular section of the book was extremely informative.



6. Security

6.1 Using System Account Information for Web Authentication

6.2 Setting Up Single-Use Passwords

6.3 Expiring Passwords

6.4 Limiting Upload Size

6.5 Restricting Images from Being Used Off-Site

6.6 Requiring Both Weak and Strong Authentication

6.7 Managing .htpasswd Files

6.8 Making Password Files for Digest Authentication

6.9 Relaxing Security in a Subdirectory

6.10 Lifting Restrictions Selectively

6.11 Authorizing Using File Ownership

6.12 Storing User Credentials in a MySQL Database

6.13 Accessing the Authenticated Username

6.14 Obtaining the Password Used to Authenticate

6.15 Preventing Brute-Force Password Attacks

6.16 Using Digest Versus Basic Authentication

6.17 Accessing Credentials Embedded in URLs

6.18 Securing WebDAV

6.19 Enabling WebDAV Without Making Files Writable by the Web User

6.20 Restricting Proxy Access to Certain URLs

6.21 Protecting Files with a Wrapper

6.22 Protecting All Files Except a Subset

6.23 Protecting Server Files from Malicious Scripts

6.24 Setting Correct File Permissions

6.25 Running a Minimal Module Set

6.26 Restricting Access to Files Outside Your Web Root

6.27 Limiting Methods by User

6.28 Restricting Range Requests

Ever want to know how to do any of the above? It's in there. A complete listing of the Table of Contents is located here :

http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/apacheckbk/toc.html

So if you use Apache, and aren't an Apache guru,or even if you are, this book is a must have. I know I won't be parting with my copy any time soon.

This book gets the maximum 5/5 bigrins

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