How to Install and Use Apache on AlmaLinux

Published , by Jeff Novotny

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AlmaLinux OS is a stable open-source Linux distribution that provides a new alternative to CentOS. As a downstream fork of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) codebase, AlmaLinux guarantees ongoing free availability. CloudLinux experts originally built and designed AlmaLinux, but it is now a community-led project. AlmaLinux supports the same software applications that CentOS does, including the Apache web server. This guide explains how to install, configure, and use Apache on AlmaLinux.

Advantages of AlmaLinux

As a potential replacement for CentOS, AlmaLinux provides many attractive selling points and features.

  • It is fairly quick and easy to migrate from CentOS to AlmaLinux with no significant downtime.
  • AlmaLinux supports the same software that CentOS does, and is compatible with all CentOS services and applications.
  • The current 8.3 version is supported until 2029, with thoroughly tested updates and security patches throughout this period.
  • AlmaLinux is a free open source product with no licenses or restrictions.
  • The user community owns and governs AlmaLinux. AlmaLinux receives sponsorship funds from CloudLinux Inc., which guarantees its viability.
  • It is based on the CloudLinux OS, an RHEL fork that has existed for over ten years. AlmaLinux is a 1:1 binary fork of RHEL.

Before You Begin

  1. Familiarize yourself with our Getting Started with Linode guide and complete the steps for setting your Linode’s hostname and timezone.

  2. This guide uses sudo wherever possible. Complete the sections of Linode’s guide on How to Secure Your Server to create a standard user account, harden SSH access and remove unnecessary network services. Do not follow the Configure a Firewall section yet as this guide includes firewall rules specifically for an OpenVPN server.

  3. Update your system:

     sudo dnf update
    
Note
This guide is written for non-root users. Commands that require elevated privileges are prefixed with sudo. If you’re not familiar with the sudo command, see the Linux Users and Groups guide.

Install and Enable the Apache Web Server on AlmaLinux

To proceed with the Apache installation, AlmaLinux must already be installed. Instructions for switching to AlmaLinux can be found at their GitHub site.

  1. Verify whether there are any updates, using the dnf check-update command. If any updates are available, update the Linode. If any kernel components are updated, reboot the Linode.

     sudo dnf check-update
     sudo dnf update
     sudo reboot
    
  2. Install the necessary Apache packages.

     sudo dnf install httpd httpd-tools
    
  3. Apache does not start automatically when it is installed. Start and enable it using the systemctl utility.

     sudo systemctl start httpd
    
  4. (Optional) To restart Apache every time the system reboots, enable it in systemctl.

     sudo systemctl enable httpd
    
    Created symlink /etc/systemd/system/multi-user.target.wants/httpd.service → /usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service.
  5. Verify the status of Apache using systemctl status. It should be active and display a status of running.

     sudo systemctl status httpd
    
    httpd.service - The Apache HTTP Server
    Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/httpd.service; enabled; vendor prese>
    Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-06-04 13:07:16 UTC; 4min 52s ago
    Docs: man:httpd.service(8)
    Main PID: 5933 (httpd)
    Status: "Running, listening on: port 80"

Configure the AlmaLinux Firewall to Allow Apache Connections

The firewalld service is already installed and enabled as part of AlmaLinux. Additional configuration is required to allow Apache connections to pass through the firewall.

Note

It is strongly recommended that you keep the firewall turned on.

  • To temporarily disable the firewall to debug a problem, enter the command sudo systemctl stop firewalld.
  • The firewall can be restarted using the sudo systemctl start firewalld command.
  • To disable it permanently, use the sudo systemctl disable firewalld command.
  1. Use systemctl to verify whether firewalld is already enabled.

     sudo systemctl status firewalld
    
    firewalld.service - firewalld - dynamic firewall daemon
    Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/firewalld.service; enabled; vendor p>
    Active: active (running) since Fri 2021-06-04 11:15:33 UTC; 2h 22min ago
  2. Add rules to allow Apache HTTP and HTTPS connections through the firewall.

     sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-service=http --permanent
     sudo firewall-cmd --zone=public --add-service=https --permanent
    
  3. Reload firewalld to apply the changes.

     sudo firewall-cmd --reload
    
  4. Confirm that the applications have been registered.

     sudo firewall-cmd --list-all
    
    public (active)
      target: default
      ...
      services: cockpit dhcpv6-client http https ssh
      ...
Note
In addition to firewalld, the security application SELinux comes pre-loaded with AlmaLinux. Under certain conditions, the two applications might conflict with one another. Verify the status of SELinux using the sestatus command. SELinux can be temporarily disabled for debugging purposes using the sudo setenforce 0 command.

Test the Apache Web Server and Host a Web Page

  1. Verify that the Apache server is working as expected. Visit the IP address of the Linode using a web browser. If everything is configured properly, you should see the AlmaLinux Test Page landing page.

    Apache on AlmaLinux landing page

  2. The location for the default web page for the server is /var/www/html. If this directory is empty, Apache displays the test page from /etc/httpd/conf.d/welcome.conf. If your website has a home page, in this case, index.html, copy it into the /var/www/html directory.

     cp path-to-home-page/index.html /var/www/html
    
    Note
    If you do not have an index.html file in /var/www/html directory, you can create one. This is to confirm that the web server is serving the page from this directory.
  3. SELinux is configured to block web access to this directory. Use the chcon command to change the security context for the directory to ensure the web page is accessible.

     chcon -R -t httpd_sys_rw_content_t /var/www/html
    
  4. Navigate to the IP address of the Linode again. You should now see the web page contents for the home page of your domain.

  5. (Optional) You should ideally create a virtual host for each site on the server. For more information on creating virtual hosts on Apache, consult the Linode guide on Apache Configuration Basics.

Learn More About AlmaLinux

AlmaLinux documentation is still evolving, but the AlmaLinux Wiki contains links to several resources along with release notes and a FAQ. There is also an AlmaLinux Forum, and a GitHub page.

More Information

You may wish to consult the following resources for additional information on this topic. While these are provided in the hope that they will be useful, please note that we cannot vouch for the accuracy or timeliness of externally hosted materials.

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