How To Install Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 with Multiple Domains

How To Install Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 with Multiple Domains

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In this guide we will install and configure Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 Server. You can use this guide for a single domain or multiple domains using Virtual Hosts.

1. Install Apache

Let’s begin by updating the package lists and installing Apache on Ubuntu 20.04. 

Below we have two commands separated by &&. The first command will update the package lists to ensure you get the latest version and dependencies for Apache . The second command will download and install Apache.

Press y and ENTER when asked to continue.

sudo apt update && sudo apt install apache2

Installation may take a few minutes. Once installed, continue to Step 2 to configure the firewall.

2. Configure Firewall

It is highly recommended that you configure a firewall for added security.

We’ll start by adding a firewall rule for SSH because if you are configuring your server remotely, you don’t want to get locked out when enabling the firewall. You may have already done this in the our Initial server setup for Ubuntu 20.04 guide, but it’s no harm adding it again just in case. If the rule already exists, the command will just skip it.

sudo ufw allow OpenSSH

If you get an error “ERROR: could find a profile matching openSSH”, this probably means you are not configuring the server remotely and can ignore it.

Now we can add the firewall rules for Apache.

sudo ufw allow in "Apache Full"

Now enable the firewall if it isn’t already.

sudo ufw enable

Press y if you see a message “Command may disrupt existing ssh connections”.

If the firewall was activated correctly, you should see “Firewall is active and enabled on system startup“.

You can also check the current firewall status with:

sudo ufw status
Status: active

To                         Action      From
--                         ------      ----
OpenSSH                    ALLOW       Anywhere
Apache Full                ALLOW       Anywhere
OpenSSH (v6)               ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)
Apache Full (v6)           ALLOW       Anywhere (v6)

Above we can see the firewall is active and has two rules per service. v6 is short for IPv6. 

3. Test Apache

To see if Apache installed correctly, we can check the current Apache service status.

sudo service apache2 status

If it is up and running, you should see a green active state.

 apache2.service - The Apache HTTP Server
Loaded: loaded (/lib/systemd/system/apache2.service; enabled; vendor preset: enabled)
Drop-In: /lib/systemd/system/apache2.service.d
Active: active (running) since Sat 2020-03-31 08:44:04 CEST; 15min ago
Main PID: 5727 (apache2)
Tasks: 55 (limit: 4915)
CGroup: /system.slice/apache2.service
├─5727 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
├─5728 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start
└─5729 /usr/sbin/apache2 -k start

Mar 31 08:44:04 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Starting The Apache HTTP Server...
Mar 31 08:44:04 ubuntu2004 apachectl[5675]: AH00558: apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using 
Mar 31 08:44:04 ubuntu2004 systemd[1]: Started The Apache HTTP Server.

If you get the above error about a fully qualified domain name, you can ignore it.

You may need to press q to exit the server status.

Now that the Apache service is up and running, you should be able to view the test Apache web page through your web browser. Enter the IP address of your server in the address bar and hit ENTER.

If you don’t know your IP, you can find out with the following command.

ip addr show eth0 | grep inet | awk '{ print $2; }' | sed 's/\/.*$//'

You can find this Apache default welcome page in the folder /var/www/html. To edit this file:

sudo nano /var/www/html/index.html

Press CTRL + X to exit the nano text editor.

4. Configure a Virtual Host

If you want to host multiple domains on your Ubuntu 20.04 server, you should set up a virtual host.

Create a new directory in /var/www/ for your domain. Just replace with your own.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/

Create an index.html file for testing.

sudo nano /var/www/

Enter the following.

      <h1>Welcome to!</h2>

Save and exit (press CTRL + X, press Y and then press ENTER)

Create a virtual host configuration file replacing with your own.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/

Enter the following, replacing with your own.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/
<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/www/
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Save and exit (press CTRL + X, press Y and then press ENTER)

Test for errors.

apachectl configtest

Enable your virtual host replacing with your own.

sudo a2ensite

Disable the default Apache website, otherwise it will override your virtual host.

sudo a2dissite 000-default

Restart Apache.

sudo systemctl reload apache2

As long as you’ve pointed the A record for your domain to the IP of your server, you should now be able to load the site in the browser.

You can now add more domains by repeating Step 4.

5. Configure Apache (Optional)

Now that you have Apache up and running, there may be some common configuration changes that will be useful to you.

5.1. Disable Directory Listing and Enable AllowOverride

Apache by default will list contents of your directories without indexes (index.html, index.php). This is a security risk because it could allow hackers to browse your web server looking for scripts.

You will also find that .htaccess will be ignored by default in Apache. If you need .htaccess, you can enable it by altering the Apache configuration file.

Open the config file.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Press CTRL + W and search for <Directory /var/www/>.

The block should look something like this:

<Directory /var/www/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
        Require all granted

Delete Indexes to stop Apache listing directories and change AllowOverride to All to enable .htaccess. It should now look like this:

<Directory /var/www/>
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride All
        Require all granted

Save and exit (press CTRL + X, press Y and then press ENTER)

Restart Apache.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

5.2. Enable mod_rewrite

If you want to later configure some rules in .htaccess, you will most likely need to enable mod_rewrite.

sudo a2enmod rewrite

Restart Apache.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

What Next?

Now that you have Apache on Ubuntu 20.04 up and running, you can begin installing PHP, MySQL and phpMyAdmin. You might also need a free SSL cert for your domain.

Let me know if this helped. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, or 🍊 buy me a smoothie.

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  1. Great explanation. But I want to know ; if I want a wordpress site to be hosted on another virtualhost, How can I achieve this
    Thank you