Apache Cookbook (2nd Edition)

Authors: Rich Bowen, Ken Coar
Pages: 306
Publisher: O’Reilly
ISBN: 0596529945


The Apache web server is to many the best web server solution out there. Currently available in three versions (1.3, 2.0 and 2.2), Apache has an enormous install base around the globe. There are quite a lot of quality books detailing all the Apache aspects and “Apache Cookbook” is a unique publication with its own twist. It doesn’t go into all Apache specifics, but better yet, it covers a set of problems and solutions Apache administrators can come across.

About the authors

Ken Coar is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, the body that oversees Apache development. Ken has been responsible for fielding email sent to the Apache project, and his experience with that mailing list provided a foundation for this book.

Rich Bowen is a member of the Apache Software Foundation, working primarily on the documentation for the Apache Web Server.

Inside the book

As I mentioned at the beginning, Apache Cookbook is not your typical guidebook. The book is structured in a way that is easy to comprehend, as the authors split the content into a number of recipes, each of them located in one of the 13 thematic chapters. Every recipe is actually a mini guide that contains a problem (issue), its solution, discussion related to the issue, as well as a reference section that points the reader to some web resources that could come handy.

Before reading the book, I was browsing Amazon and I saw that the book has a majority of very positive reviews, while a couple of readers mentioned that its negative aspect is that it is not intended for beginners. While this may be true as it’s mostly intended for extending your Apache experience in a practical way, I must say that even beginner Apache administrators could without any problems follow the recipes provided throughout the book. The authors were very careful to provide just precise information, so following their problem/solution scenarios shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.

The first 40 pages or so deal with some more generic material, such as Apache installation on different systems, as well as playing with some modules you’ll came across. After this, the authors start the interesting topics such as playing with various logging functions, setting up and troubleshooting Virtual hosts.

The next two chapters – the one on redirecting/rewriting and security – provide a bunch of compelling topics that will surely give some excellent advice on either optimizing Apache under the inbound traffic via different rewrite rules, as well as pumping up the state of your web server’s security.

Some of the later chapters share insides on issues related to proxies, serving dynamic content, error handling, setting up SSL and overall Apache web server performance.

Final thoughts

The book will surely be of great interest to Apache administrators of different levels of expertise. It covers quite a long list of topics and the solutions are often unique.

Some will argue that Google search can replace this type of a book, but this is not the case. “Apache Cookbook” is a centralized publication that provides a number of answers I didn’t come across online and besides this, some of the recipes will definitely give you further ideas on things to do with your Apache web server.

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