Professional Apache Book Review

Professional Apache Book Review

Professional Apache

Professional Apache is the book for anybody who needs to get the most out of the Apache Web Server. If you're thinking of setting up Apache for the first time, or of moving an existing web site to a dedicated machine, then this book will help you get the server you want. It's also full of information on how to add new capabilities to existing servers, like security, PHP, or server-side Java support.

You'll learn from the author's real-world knowledge of Apache's intricacies and quirks, including undocumented information gleaned from the Apache source-code and his administration experience. With this book, you'll avoid the pitfalls and do it right the first time. This book gives web server administrators and developers the information they need to apply Apache to real world problems, using real examples, without bogging down in excessive detail about every configuration directive.

The key theme is 'Apache the way you want it' - through extensive examples, this book gives you the information you need to build, configure and extend Apache to suit your requirements. What better way to sum up the contents of this book then right off the back blurb.

What does this book cover?

Professional Apache covers installation, configuration, customization and virtually anything you'd want to know of the Apache Web server. Focusing on Apache 1.3.x server, it covers a wide variety of topics: Installations from build or source, configuration and tuning to suit your needs, efficient and secure usage of Apache, an SSL encryption walk through and throw coverage pertaining to redirection, performance optimization, virtual hosting, PHP and CGI implementation. Just to name a few.

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter 1: Apache and the Internet Chapter 2: Getting Started with Apache Chapter 3: Building Apache the Way You Want It Chapter 4: Configuring Apache the Way You Want It Chapter 5: Deciding What The Client Needs Chapter 6: Delivering Dynamic Content Chapter 7: Hosting More Than One Web Site Chapter 8: Improving Apache's Performance Chapter 9: Monitoring Apache Chapter 10: Securing Apache Chapter 11: Extending Apache Appendix A: Useful RFCs Appendix B: Apache Variants Appendix C: The Apache License Appendix D: Environment Variables Appendix E: Server Side Includes Appendix F: Regular Expressions Appendix G: Third Party Apache Modules Appendix H: HTTP Headers and Status Codes Appendix J: Directives by Module Appendix K: Directives by Name Index

My favorite chapters and sections

Chapter 6: Delivering dynamic content - CGI security issues (pg 211) This section discuses the security issues surrounding dynamic content and CGI in particular, listing the most common security errors and how to circumvent them. Another great addition to this chapter is the "Security check list" (pg 224). The listing of security measures are kept to a minimal (17 in total), however, they are all excellent points to keep in mind. Chapter 10: Securing Apache (pg 345) The chapter dedicated towards securing Apache is one of the largest in the book and also one of the most informative. Not only does it get straight to the point on specific issues, but it covers pretty well every key security aspects a system administrator should be aware of. Included in this chapter is a 20-page walk through of Secure Socket Layer (SSL), which I'm sure all administrators will appreciate.

Helpful tips and information

Chapter 4 - Handling the neighbors. (page 132) This section introduces you to search engine robots. Listing methods of control in HTML, access control, attraction, indexing, known and bad robots. If you're a webmasters or server administrator, this will defiantly appeal to you. Appendix H - HTTP Header and status codes. (page 523) Although this won't be exciting for everyone, I found it worthy of note. It is a listing of all HTTP server status codes and a brief explanation.

About the Author

Peter Wainwright is a software consultant and developer. He gained most of his early programming experience on Solaris, writing C applications. He then discovered Linux, shortly followed by Perl and Apache, and has been programming happily there ever since. When he is not developing software or writing professionally, he spends much of his free time pursuing his interest in space tourism and maintaining the ever growing Space Future website, which is based on a Linux server running Apache, naturally. (We do not have an e-mail address for Peter; the book did not list one)


Professional Apache aims to take you beyond the realm of on-line documentation. The in-depth, straight to the point approach is something we can all appreciate. It's jam packed with undocumented information and real world experience that everyone can learn from.

The easy to understand and read explanations take the chore out of learning and truly make this book a pleasure. It begins with a couple of introductory chapters that cover the anatomy of Apache and basic network concepts. Gradually building up from a general overview to a complete and informative plethora of tips, configurations schemes and how-to methods on a wide variety of topics. All in all, Professional Apache is complete and informative. I recommend it.


The Good - Pros
  • Practical and smooth approach

The Bad - Cons
  • Focus on Apache 1.3.x (limited life span)

The Ugly - Issues
  • N/A

The Verdict - Opinion

A great buy - I recommend it.

Cost & Value:
Learning Curve: