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From Joshua Slive <>
Subject update of invoking.html
Date Sat, 20 Jan 2001 23:13:29 GMT
Now that we have html'ized man pages, I would like to remove the duplicate
documentation of command line options in invoking.html and replace it with
more useful information.

A first draft is attached below and available at

What I would like to do with this is

1. Remove the information from install.html that actually has to do with
starting the server and put it in the proper file: invoking.html.

2. Document the technical aspects of starting the server that are
presently not documented anywhere else.  Perhaps there should be
a discussion of of exactly what the server does during the startup process
(eg. check for the existence of documentroot directories, check the syntax
of the config files, etc.)

3. Provide the very basics that a newcomer would need to get apache

4. NOT provide "everything you need to know about unix and the web".
This would be appropriate for tutorials or books, but not for the core

I would greatly appreciate suggestions on items 2 and 3 or anything else
you think should be included in this file.


<TITLE>Starting Apache</TITLE>

<!-- Background white, links blue (unvisited), navy (visited), red (active) -->
<!--#include virtual="header.html" -->
<H1 ALIGN="CENTER">Starting Apache</H1>

<li><a href="#windows">Starting Apache on Windows</a></li>
<li><a href="#unix">Starting Apache on Unix</a>
<li><a href="#after-start">After the Server Starts</a></li>
<li><a href="#errors">Errors During Start-up</a></li>
<li><a href="#boot">Starting at Boot-Time</a></li>
<li><a href="#info">Additional Information</a></li>


<h2><a name="windows">Starting Apache On Windows</a></h2>

<p>On Windows, Apache is normally run as a service on Windows NT, or
as a console application on Windows 95. For details, see <A
HREF="platform/windows.html#run">running Apache for Windows</A>.</p>

<h2><a name="unix">Starting Apache on Unix</a></h2>

<p>On Unix, the <a href="programs/httpd.html">httpd</a> program is run
as a daemon which executes continuously in the background to handle
requests.  It is possible to invoke Apache by the Internet daemon
<CODE>inetd</CODE> each time a connection to the HTTP service is made
(use the <A HREF="mod/core.html#servertype">ServerType</A> directive)
but this is not recommended.</p>

<p>The first thing that <code>httpd</code> does when it is invoked is
to locate and read the <a href="configuring.html">configuration
file</a> <code>httpd.conf</code>.  The location of this file is set at
compile-time, but it is possible to specify its location at run time
using the <code>-f</code> command-line option as in</p>
<blockquote><code> /usr/local/apache/bin/httpd -f
/usr/local/apache/conf/httpd.conf </code></blockquote>

<p>As an alternative to invoking the <code>httpd</code> binary
directly, a shell script called <a
href="programs/apachectl.html">apachectl</a> is provided which can be
used to control the daemon process with simple commands such as
<code>apachectl start</code> and <code>apachectl stop</code>.</p>

<h3><a name="after-start">After the Server Starts</a></h3>

<p>If the <a href="mod/core.html#port">Port</a> specified in the
configuration file is the default of 80 (or any other port below
1024), then it is necessary to have root privileges in order to start
apache, so that it can bind to this privileged port.  Once the server
has started and performed a few preliminary activities such as opening
its log files, it will launch several <em>child</em> processes which
do the work of listening for and answering requests from clients.  The
main <code>httpd</code> process continues to run as the root user, but
the child processes run as a less privileged user.  This is controlled
by Apache's <a href="server-wide.html#process">process creation

<p>If all goes well during startup, the server will detach from the
terminal and the command prompt will return almost immediately.
This indicates that the server is up and running.  You can then
use your browser to connect to the server and view the test
page in the <a href="mod/core.html#documentroot">DocumentRoot</a>
directory.  If the server is running on the default
port (80) then it can be accessed using a URL such as</p>

<h3><a name="errors">Errors During Start-up</a></h3>

<p>If Apache suffers a fatal problem during startup, it will write a
message describing the problem either to the console or to the <a
href="mod/core.html#errorlog">ErrorLog</a> before exiting.  One of the
most common error messages is "<code>Unable to bind to Port
...</code>".  This message is usually caused by either:</p>
<li>Trying to start the server on a privileged port when not
logged in as the root user; or</li>
<li>Trying to start the server when there is another instance
of Apache or some other web server already bound to the same Port.</li>
<p>For further debugging instructions, consult the Apache <a

<h3><a name="boot">Starting at Boot-Time</a></h3>

<p>If you want your server to continue running after a system reboot,
you should add a call to <code>httpd</code> or <code>apachectl</code>
to your system startup files (typically <code>rc.local</code> or a
file in an <code>rc.N</code> directory). This will start Apache as
root. Before doing this ensure that your server is properly configured
for security and access restrictions.  The <code>apachectl</code>
script is designed so that it can often be linked directly as an init
script, but be sure to check the exact requirements of your system.</p>

<h3><a name="info">Additional Information</a></h3>

<p>Additional information about the command-line options of <a
href="programs/httpd.html">httpd</a> and <a
href="programs/apachectl.html">apachectl</a> as well as other support
programs included with the server is available on the <a
href="programs/">Server and Supporting Programs</a> page.</p>

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