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From "Pitfield, Nickolas" <>
Subject RE: [users@httpd] Apache 2.0 questions
Date Mon, 14 Apr 2003 15:54:00 GMT

>Hmmm.... If that is your "100% sure" then I hate to see your answers when
>you are only 99% sure ;-)

Ouch :-)

>The following page:
>shows that ncsa operates in exactly the same way as apache.  That is, when
>started as root, it binds to the port as root, but serves requests under
>the userid specified in the User directive.

I checked the Upgrade page for NCSA and can find no mention anywhere of the
User directive being added so I guess I was wrong after all - and I'm big
enough to admit it :-( 

damn & blast - I hate being wrong :-(

>Since almost everyone runs on the default port, almost everyone needs to
>start apache (and ncsa in its time) as root.

Is this true that they mostly run on port 80 ? I know it makes perfect sense
especially when trying to guess a URL, but I saw a lot of servers running on
8888, 8080, 8000 etc in the past and as I haven't been running them myself
recently I tended not to notice port numbers any more. Obviously if using
port 80 then running as root (before switching) is a must. Actually don't
answering - I can only think of a few servers recently that used anything
other than port 80.

>The simple answer: people don't like needing to include the port number in
>the URL.  This: is much uglier than this:

I agree (see comments above).

>The other issue is that if you bind to a non-root accessible port, then
>you need to be aware that other users could steel that port away from you,
>for example, during server restarts.  That is why well-known services are
>run from root-only ports.


Thanks for your answers - as I said I was trying to understand the reasons,
and I think I now do.


    Nick Pitfield
Configuration Management Engineer
T: +44 (0)20 7348 1569 E:
MetaSolv Software Limited
Avon House, Kensington Village, Avonmore Road, London W14 8TS
T: +44 (0)20 7348 1500 F: +44 (0)20 7348 1501

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