Posts Tagged ‘webserver’

Create and Configure SSL bundle file for GoGetSSL issued certificate in Apache Webserver on Linux

Saturday, November 3rd, 2018


I had a small task to configure a new WildCard SSL for domains on a Debian GNU / Linux Jessie running Apache 2.4.25.

The official documentation on how to install the SSL certificate on Linux given by GoGetSSL (which is by COMODO was obsolete as of time of writting this article and suggested as install instructions:

SSLEngine on
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/ssl.key/server.key
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/yourDomainName.crt
SSLCertificateChainFile /etc/ssl/ssl.crt/

Adding such configuration to domain Vhost and testing with apache2ctl spits an error like:


root@webserver:~# apache2ctl configtest
AH02559: The SSLCertificateChainFile directive (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/the-domain-name-ssl.conf:17) is deprecated, SSLCertificateFile should be used instead
Syntax OK


To make issued GoGetSSL work with Debian Linux, hence, here is the few things done:

The files issued by Gogetssl.COM were the following:



The webserver had already SSL support via mod_ssl Apache module, e.g.:


root@webserver:~# ls -al /etc/apache2/mods-available/*ssl*
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 3112 окт 21  2017 /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.conf
-rw-r–r– 1 root root   97 сеп 19  2017 /etc/apache2/mods-available/ssl.load
root@webserver:~# ls -al /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/*ssl*
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 26 окт 19  2017 /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/ssl.conf -> ../mods-available/ssl.conf
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 26 окт 19  2017 /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/ssl.load -> ../mods-available/ssl.load

For those who doesn't have mod_ssl enabled, to enable it quickly run:


# a2enmod ssl

The VirtualHost used for the domains had Apache config as below:




NameVirtualHost *:443

<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerAlias *

    DocumentRoot /home/the-domain-namecom/www
    SSLEngine On
#    <Directory />
#        Options FollowSymLinks
#        AllowOverride None
#    </Directory>
    <Directory /home/the-domain-namecom/www>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride None
        Include /home/the-domain-namecom/www/htaccess_new.txt
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all

    ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/
    <Directory "/usr/lib/cgi-bin">
        AllowOverride None
        Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all

    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log

    # Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
    # alert, emerg.
    LogLevel warn

    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

#    Alias /doc/ "/usr/share/doc/"
#   <Directory "/usr/share/doc/">
#       Options Indexes MultiViews FollowSymLinks
#       AllowOverride None
#       Order deny,allow
#       Deny from all
#       Allow from ::1/128
#   </Directory>
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/
SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/chain.crt



The config directives enabling and making the SSL actually work are:

SSLEngine On
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/
SSLCertificateFile /etc/apache2/ssl/chain.crt


The chain.crt file is actually a bundle file containing a bundle of the gogetssl CA_ROOT and RSA_Certification_Authority 3 files, to prepare that file, I've used small script found on here I've made a mirror of on here   the script content is as follows:

To prepare the chain.crt  bundle, I ran:


sh _iq-test_cc.crt chain.crt
sh _iq-test_cc.crt >chain.crt
sh COMODO_RSA_Certification_Authority.crt >> chain.crt
sh AddTrust_External_CA_Root.crt >> chain.crt

Then I copied the file to /etc/apache2/ssl together with file earlier generated using openssl command earlier explained in my article how to install RapidSSL certificate on Linux

/etc/apache2/ssl was not previously existing (on Debian Linux), so to create it:


root@webserver:~# mkdir /etc/apache2/ssl
root@webserver:~# ls -al /etc/apache2/ssl/chain.crt
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 20641 Nov  2 12:27 /etc/apache2/ssl/chain.crt
root@webserver:~# ls -al /etc/apache2/ssl/
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6352 Nov  2 20:35 /etc/apache2/ssl/


As I needed to add the SSL HTTPS configuration for multiple domains, further on I've wrote and used a tiny shell script which accepts as argument the domain name I want to add. The script works with a sample Skele (Template) file, which is included in the script itself and can be easily modified for the desired vhost config.
To add my multiple domains, I've used the script as follows:



Here is the complete script as well:


# Shell script to add easily new domains for virtual hosting on Debian machines
# arg1 should be a domain name
# This script takes the domain name which you type as arg1 uses it and creates
# Docroot / cgi-bin directory for the domain, create seperate site's apache log directory
# then takes a file and substitutes a with your domain name and directories
# This script's aim is to easily enable sysadmin to add new domains in Debian
# the directory where the file is
# base directory where site log dir to be created
# owner of the directories
# read arg0 and arg1
if [[ -z $arg1 ]]; then
echo "Missing domain name";
exit 1;


# skele template
echo "#
# (/etc/apache2/sites-available/
<VirtualHost *>

        # Indexes + Directory Root.
        DirectoryIndex index.php index.htm index.html index.cgi index.phtml index.jsp index.asp

        DocumentRoot /var/www/jail/home/www-data/sites/skelecom/www/docs
        ScriptAlias /cgi-bin "/var/www/jail/home/www-data/sites/skelecom/cgi-bin"
        # Logfiles
        ErrorLog  /var/log/apache2/sites/skelecom/error.log
        CustomLog /var/log/apache2/sites/skelecom/access.log combined
#       CustomLog /dev/null combined
      <Directory /var/www/jail/home/www-data/sites/skelecom/www/docs/>
                Options FollowSymLinks MultiViews -Includes
                AllowOverride None
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all
                # This directive allows us to have apache2's default start page
                # in /apache2-default/, but still have / go to the right place
#               RedirectMatch ^/$ /apache2-default/

        <Directory /var/www/jail/home/www-data/sites/skelecom/www/docs/>
                Options FollowSymLinks ExecCGI -Includes
                AllowOverride None
                Order allow,deny
                allow from all

" > $skele_dir/;

domain_dir=$(echo $arg1 | sed -e 's/\.//g');
echo "Creating $new_site_dir";
mkdir -p $new_site_dir;
mkdir -p $sites_base_dir/cgi-bin;
echo "Creating sites's Docroot and CGI directory";
chown -R $username:$username $new_site_dir;
chown -R $username:$username $sites_base_dir/cgi-bin;
echo "Creating site's Log files Directory";
mkdir -p $cr_sep_log_file_d/$domain_dir;
echo "Creating sites's VirtualHost file and adding it for startup";
sed -e "$arg1#g" -e "s#skelecom#$domain_dir#g" $skele_dir/ >> $skele_dir/$arg1;
ln -sf $skele_dir/$arg1 /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/;
echo "All Completed please restart apache /etc/init.d/apache restart to Load the new virtual domain";

# Date Fri Jan 11 16:27:38 EET 2008

Using the script saves a lot of time to manually, copy vhost file and then edit it to change ServerName directive, for vhosts whose configuration is identical and only the ServerName listener has to change, it is perfect to create all necessery domains, I've created a simple text file with each of the domains and run it in a loop:

while :; do sh $i; done < domain_list.txt


Improve Websites SEO: Optimize images to Increase website loading performance on Linux server – Image Compress tools

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Part of our daily life as Web hosting system adminstrators is to constantly strive to better utilize our Linux / Windows hosting servers hardware.
Therefore it is our constant task to look for new better ways to optimize our Apache Sites and Webservers in order to return served application content light fast to keep the Boss and customers happy 🙂

There are things to tune up for better server performance and better CPU / memory utilization on both server Application server side as well as the website programming code backend, html and pictures / images

Thus it is critically important to not only keep the Webserver / PHP engine optimized but keep hosted sites  stored images and source code clean and efficient.

We as admins usually couldn't directly interfere with clearning the source code and often we have to host a crappy written sites with picture upload forms with un-optimized Image files that was  produced on old Photo Cameras, "Ancient" Mobile Mobiles, Win XP MS Paint, various versions Photoshop, Gimp etc.).

It is a well known fact that a big part from a Website User Experience is how fast the user loads a page, thus if HTML / CSS loaded images loads slow has a negative impact on user look & feel about website

Therefore by optimizing the size of hosted sites Images, you Save Network bandwidth and in some cases when Large Gallery sites HDD disk space.

On Linux, there are already a many command line tools to inspect and optimize (compress) the size of PNG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNM, Tiff Images, most famous ones are:

  • optipng – PNG optimizer that recompresses image files to a smaller size, without losing any information.
  • jpegoptim –   lossless JPEG optimization (based on optimizing the Huffman tables) and "lossy" optimization based on setting a maximum quality factor.
  • pngcrush – Recommended tool to use by Stoyan Stefanov (Yahoo Yslow Developer)
  • jpegtran – Recommended to use by Google 
  • gifsicle –  command-line tool for creating, editing, and getting information about GIF images and animations. 

It is hence useful to first run manually availale Linux image optimization tools (to get an idea what they do) and later automate them to run as scripts to optimize server stored images size and make pictures load faster on websites and thus improve End Users Experience and speed up Image content delivery to GoogleBot / YahooBot / Bing Crawlers which will make Search Engines to position server hosted sites better (more SEO Friendly).


  • How much percents of  space (Mega / Gigabytes ) Pictures compress can save you?

If you run it on 500MB image directory, you can probably save about 20 to 50MB of size, so don't expect extraordinary file reduce, however 5% to 10% reduce in size is not bad too. If you host 100 sites each with half gigas of data this would mean saving of 5GB of data and some 5GB from backups 🙂 At extraordinary cases you can expect 20% to 30% of storage reduce. For even better image compression you can try out GIMP's – Save for Web option.

  • Installing jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush gifsicle on Debian / Ubuntu (deb based) Linux

apt-get install –yes libjpeg-progs optipng jpegoptim pngcrush gifsicle


  • Installing  jpegtran, optpng, jpegoptim, pngcrush, gifsicle on Fedora / CentOS / RHEL (RPM based distros)

yum -y install pngcrush libjpeg-turbo-utils opt-jpg opt-png opt-gif

gifsicle is not availale by default on Redhacks 🙂 but there is a RPM package for fedora from


Some examples of running image compression on GNU / Linux

  • optipng and jpegoptim optimize for all files in directory

cd /home/sites/

find . -iname '*.png' -print0 | xargs -0 optipng -o7 -preserve
find . -iname '*.jpg' -print0 |
 xargs -0 jpegoptim –max=90 –strip-all –preserve –totals

In jpegoptim command, the option –strip-all will strip any metadata including Exif data from images. For websites JPEG metadata is usually not needed, so usually its ok to strip them.

Above jpegoptim example will decrease slightly JPEG image quality to 90%. quality level of 90 is still high enough and website visitors are unlikely to spot any visible quality reduction / defects in the image.


  • pngcrush all files in a directory example

cd /home/sites/

for png in `find $IMG_DIR -iname "*.png"`; do
    echo "crushing $png …"
        pngcrush -rem alla -reduce -brute "$png" temp.png


    # preserve original on error
    if [ $? = 0 ]; then
        mv -f temp.png $png
        rm temp.png

  • Run jpegtran on sites directory

find /home/sites -name "*.jpg" -type f -exec jpegtran -copy none -optimize -outfile {} {} ;


  • Set a script to compress / reduce size of Sites Images

Here is a basic which I used earlier before and was reducing the overall images size just 5 to 10%, then I found the much improved version of optimize images shell script  (useful to  clear up EXIF picture data / And Comments from JPG / PNG files). The script execution could take very long time on large image directories and thus could cause a high HDD disk I/O, however if ran once a week at night time its not such a big deal. 

To set it to run on your server as a cronjob:

cd /usr/sbin/
wget -q
crontab -u root -e 

Sample cron job to run once a month on 10th and 27th in 3 o'clock AM:

 00 3 10,27 * * /usr/sbin/ 2>&1 >/dev/null

Also if you need to further optimize million of tiny sized PNG files Yahoo service could be helpful. For compression maniacs its worthy to check out also TinyPNG Service (however be awre that this service compresses files with significant quality loss) making picture quality visibly deteriorated.

Besides optimizing server stored Pictures, here are some other stuff that helps in increasing server utilization / lower webpages loading time.

Starting up with the installation (when site is to use Apache + PHP) for its backend, the first thing to on the freshlyinstalled Linux server is to implement the following list of Apache common Timeout variables that help better scale the webserver for the CMS-es hosted, enable Webserver caching with (mod_deflate), enable eAccelerator tune PHP common php variable etc.

Other thing  I sometimes use to speed-up performance of Apache child responce time up to 20-30  is to Include into Virtualhost / httpd.conf Apache configuration any htacces mod_rewrite rules.

On too heavily loaded sites On-line stores / Large Company website portals with more than 60 000 – 100 000 unique IP visitors a day it is useful tip to disable completely Apache logging in access.log / error.log.

Often when old architecture websites are moved from older Linux OS version to a newer one with newer versions of Apache / PHP often sites are working without major code rework, but use many functions which are already obsolete and thus many WARNING messages crap is logged into php_error.log / error.log. Thus to save disk space and decrease hard disk I/O operations it is good to Disable PHP Notices and Warnings messages

Speed up Apache webserver by including htaccess mod_rewrite rules in VirtualHosts / httpd.conf

Wednesday, November 12th, 2014

There are plenty of Apache Performance Optimization things to do on a new server. However many sysadmins miss  .htaccess mod_rewrite rules whole optimization often leads to a dramatic performance benefits and low webserver responce time, making website much more attractive for both Search Engine Crawlers and End User experience.

Normally most Apache + PHP CMS systems, websites, blogs etc. are configured to use various goodies of .htaccess files (mostly mod_rewrite rules, directory htpasswd authentication  and allow forbid directives). All most popular open-source Content management systems  like Drupal, Joomla, WordPress, TYPO3, Symphony CMS are configured to get use  .htaccess file usually living in the DocumentRoot of a virtualhost ( website/s )httpd.conf , apache2.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/ or whichever config the Vhost resides…

It is also not uncommon practice to enable .htaccess files to make programmers life easier (allowing the coder to add and remove URL rewrite rules that makes URL pretty and SEO friendly, handle website redirection or gives live to the framework like it is the case with Zend PHP Framework).

However though having the possibility to get the advantages of dynamically using .htaccess inside site DocRoot or site's subdirectories is great for developers it is not a very good idea to have the .htaccess turned on Production server environment.


AllowOverride All

switched on for a directory in order to have .htaccess enabled, makes the webserver lookup for .htaccess file and re-read its content dynamically on each client request.
This has a negative influence on overall server performance and makes Apache preforked childs or workers (in case of mpm-worker engine used) to waste time parsing .htaccess file leading to slower request processing.

Normally a Virtualhost with enabled .htaccess looks like so:

ServerName …
DocumentRoot /var/www/website
<Directory /var/www/website>
AllowOverride All …
</Directory> …

And VirtualHost configured to keep permanently loaded mod_rewrite .htaccess rules in memory on Apache server start-up.

ServerName …
DocumentRoot /var/www/website
<Directory /var/www/website>
AllowOverride None
Include /var/www/website/.htaccess …
</Directory> …

Now CMS uses the previous .htaccess rules just as before, however to put more rewrite rules into the file you will need to restart webserver which is a downside of using rewrite rules through the Include directive. Using the Include directive instead of AllowOverride leads to 7 to 10% faster individual page loads.

I have to mention Include directive though faster has a security downside because .htaccess files loaded with Include option (uses mod_include) via httpd.conf doesn't recognize <Directory> … </Directory> set security rules. Also including .htaccess from configuration on Main Website directory, could make any other sub-directories .htaccess Deny / Allow access rules invalid and this could expose site to  security risk. Another security downside is because Include variable allows loading a full subset of Apache directives (including) loading other Apache configuration files (for example you can even override Virtualsthost pre-set directives such as ErrorLog, ScriptAlias etc.) and not only .htaccess standard directives allowed by AllowOverride All. This gives a potential website attacker who gains write permissions over the included /var/www/website/.htaccess access to this full set of VirtualHost directives and not only .htaccess standard allowed.

Because of the increased security risk most people recommend not to use Include .htaccess rules, however for those who want to get the few percentage page load acceleration of using static Include from Apache config, just set your Included .htaccess file to be owned by user/group root, e.g.:

chown root:root /var/www/website/.htaccess

StatusNet – Start your own hosted microblogging twitter like social network on Debian GNU / Linux

Monday, July 14th, 2014
I like experimenting with free and open source projects providing social networking capabilities like twitter and facebook. Historically I have run my own social network with Elgg – Open Source Social Network Engine. I had a very positive impression from Elgg as a social engine as, there are plenty of plugins and one can use Elgg to run free alternative to very basic equivalent of facebook, problem with Elgg I had however is if is not all the time monitored it quickly fills up with spam and besides that I found it to be still buggy and not easy to update.
The other social network free software I heard of isBuddyPress which I recently installed with Multisite (MuSite) enabled.

Since BuddyPress is WordPress based and it supports all the nice wordpress plugins, my impression is social networking based on wordpress behaves much more stable and since there is Akismet for WordPress, the amount of spammer registrations is much lower than with Elgg.

Recently I started blogging much more actively and I realized everyday I learn and read too much interesting articles and I don't log them anywhere and thought I need a way besides twitter to keep flashy notes of what I'm doing reading, learning in a short notes. I don't want to use Twitter on purpose, because I don't want to improve twitter's site SEO with adding my own stuff on their website but I want to keep my notes on my own local hosted server.

As I didn't wanted to loose time with Complexity of Elgg anymore and wanted to try to something new and I know the open source microblogging social network (Twitter Equivalent) – runs StatusNet – Free and Open Source Social software. StatusNet is well known under the motto of "Decentralized Twitter"


I took the time to grab it and install it to my home brew machine If you haven't seen StatusNet so far – you can check out demo of my installation here – registration is not freely opened because, i don't want spammers to break in, however if you want to give a try drop me a mail or comment below and I will open access for you ..

There is no native statusnet package for Debian Linux (as I'm running Debian) so to install it, I've grabbed statusnet.

To install StatusNet, everything was pretty straight forward and literally following instructionsf rom INSTALL file, i.e.:

# maps to /var/www/status/
cd /var/www/status/
tar -xzf statusnet-0.9.6.tar.gz --strip-components=1
rm statusnet-0.9.6.tar.gz
cd ..
chgrp www-data status/
chmod g+w status/
cd status/
chmod a+w avatar/ background/ file/

mysqladmin -u "root" -p "sql-root-password" create statusnet
mysql -u root -p
GRANT ALL on statusnet.* TO 'statusnetuser'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY 'statusnet-secret-password';

To Change default behaviour of URls to be more SEO friendly and not to show .php in URL (e.g. add so called fancy URLs – described in INSTALL):

cp htaccess.sample .htaccess

Then had to configure a VirtualHost under a subdomain or you can alternatively install and access it in browser via

An important note to open here is you have to set the URLs via which will be accessed further before proceeding with the install, if you will be using HTTPS here is time to configure it and test it before proceeding with install …  Just be warned that if you don't set the URLs properly now and try to modify them further you will get a lot of issues hard to solve which will cost you a lot of time and nervee ..

If you want to enable twitter bridging in Statusnet you will need to get Twitter consumer and secret keys, to get that you have to create new application on afterwards you will be taken to a page containing Consumer Key & Consumer Secret string.
StatusNet installation will auto generate config.php, you can further edit it manually with text editor. Content of my current statusnet config.php is here.

Most important options to change are:

$config['daemon']['user'] = 'www-data';
$config['daemon']['group'] = 'www-data';

www-data is user with which Apache is running by default on Debian Linux.

$config['site']['profile'] = 'private';

By default Status.Net will be set to run as private – e.g. it will be fitted for priv. use – messages posted will not publicly be visible. Here the possible options to choose between are:

$config['site']['profile'] = 'private';
$config['site']['profile'] = 'community';
$config['site']['profile'] = 'singleuser';
$config['site']['profile'] = 'public';

singleuser is pretty self explanatory, setting public option will open registration for any user on the internet – probably your network will quickly be filled with spam – so beware with this option. community will make statusnet publicly visible but, registration will only possible via use creation / invitation to join the network from admin.

vi /var/www/status/config.php
$config['site']['fancy'] = true;

Then to enable twitter to statusnet bridge add to config.php

vi /var/www/status/config.php

$config['twitter']['enabled'] = true;
$config['twitterimport']['enabled'] = true;
$config['avatar']['path'] = '/avatar';
$config['twitter']['consumer_key'] = 'XXXXXXXX';
$config['twitter']['consumer_secret'] = 'XXXXXXXX';
# disable sharing location by default
$config['location']['sharedefault'] = 'false';

Notice, I decided to disable statusnet sharedefault folder, because i don't have a lot of free space to provide to users. If you want to let users be allowed to share files (you the space for that), you might want to set a maximum quote of uploaded files (to prevent your webserver from being DoSed – for example by too many huge uploads), here is some reasonable settings:

$config['attachments']['file_quota'] = 7000000;
$config['attachments']['thumb_width'] = 400;
$config['attachments']['thumb_height'] = 300;


If you want to get the best out of performance of your new statusnet microblogging service, after each modification of config.php be sure to run:


php scripts/checkschema.php

Running checkschema.php is also useful, to check whether adding new plugins to check whether plugin will not throw an error.

Here is some extra useful config.php plugins to enable:

addPlugin('Gravatar', array());

If you expect to have quickly growing base of users it is recommended to also check out whether your MySQL is tuned with mysqltuner and optimize it for performance

Another useful think you would like to do is to increased the number of Statusnet avatars in the 'following' – 'followers' – 'groups' sections on my profile page by editing




line 36 in both files.
To get the full list of possible variables that can be set in config.php run in terminal:

 php scripts/setconfig.php -a

If you happen to encounter some oddities and issues with StatusNet after installation, this is most likely to some PHP hardering on compile time or some PHP.ini functions disabled for security or some missing component to install which is described as a prerequirement in statusnet INSTALL file

to debug the issues enable statusnet logging by adding in config.php

$config['site']['logdebug'] = true;
$config['site']['logfile'] = '/var/log/statusnet.log';

By default logs produced will be quite verbose and there will be plenty of information you will probably not need and will lead to a lot of "noise", to get around this, there is the LogFilter Plugin for some reasonable logging use in config.php:

addPlugin('LogFilter', array( 'priority' => array(LOG_ERR => true,
LOG_INFO => true,
LOG_DEBUG => false),
'regex' => array('/About to push/i' => false,
'/twitter/i' => false,
'/Successfully handled item/i' => false)

If you want tokeep log of statusnet it is a good idea to rorate logs periodically to keep them from growing too big, to do this create in /etc/logrotate.d new files /etc/logrotate.d/statusnet with following content:

/var/log/statusnet/*.log {
rotate 7
create 770 www-data www-data
/path/to/statusnet/scripts/ > /dev/null
/path/to/statusnet/scripts/ > /dev/null

You will probably want to to add new Links, next to StatusNet main navigation links for logged in users, this is possible by adding new line to




You will have to add a PHP context like:

                              _m('MENU','Pc-Freak.Net Blog'),
                              _('A pC Freak Blog'),

Once you're done with installation, make sure you change permissions or move install.php from /var/www/status, otherwise someone might overwrite your config.php and mess your installation …

chmod 000 /var/www/status/install.php There is plenty of other things to do with StatusNet (Support for communication with Jabber XMPP protocol, notification via SMS etc. There are also some plugins to add more statusnet functionality.

Enjoy micro blogging ! 🙂

Apache SSLCertificateChainFile adding SSL with Certificate Chain / What is Certificate Chain

Friday, January 31st, 2014


If you work in a big company with large network infrastructure who has to deal with SSL Certificates you will sooner or later will have to learn about existence of SSL Certificate Chains.
Its worthy thus to know what is SSL Certificate Chains and how such a chain is configured in Apache?

Personal SSL certificates (certificates issued to an individual or a company) can be used by clients to uniquely identify themselves when they are involved in starting an SSL connection.
SSL Certificate file contains X.509 certificate, which, in turn, contains a public key used for encryption.
Each personal certificate has zero or more certificate chains of certification authority certificates that extend back to the root certification authority.

Certificate R (Root Certification Authority)
    | represents issuer of
Certificate I1 (Intermediate Certification Authority)
    | represents issuer of
Certificate I2 (A subsidiary Intermediate Certification Authority)
    | represents issuer of
Certificate I3 (A further subsidiary Intermediate Certification Authority)
    | represents issuer of
Certificate P (A personal certificate that is used to identify its owner 
               on an SSL handshake)

Certificate chains are used to verify the authenticity of each certificate in that chain, including the personal certificate. Each certificate in the chain is validated using its 'parent' certificate, which in turn is validated using the next certificate up the chain, and so on, from the personal certificate up to the root certification authority certificate.

Now after explaining thoroughfully what is SSL Certificate Chain, here is how to configure a SSL Certificate in Apache Webserver.

Open apache2.conf or httpd.conf (depending on GNU / Linux distribution) and add to it;

  SSLEngine On
   SSLCertificateFile conf/cert/webserver-host.crt
   SSLCertificateKeyFile conf/cert/webserver-host.key
   SSLCertificateChainFile conf/cert/internet-v4.crt
   # SSLCertificateChainFile conf/cert/intranet-v3.crt
   SSLOptions +StdEnvVars +OptRenegotiate +ExportCertData

SSLCertificateChainFile conf/cert/chain-cert.crt
loads a chain of separate Personal SSL certificates each signing each other on different levels, chain is leading to top ROOT CA (Certificate Authority).

How to configure Apache to serve as load balancer between 2 or more Webservers on Linux / Apache basic cluster

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Apache doing load balancer between Apache servers Apache basic cluster howto

Any admin somehow involved in sphere of UNIX Webhosting knows Apache pretty well. I've personally used Apache for about 10 years now and until now I always used it as a single installation on a Linux. Always so far whenever the requirements for more client connections raised up, web hosting companies I worked for did a migration of Website / websites on a newer better (quicker) server hardware configuration. Everyone knows keeping a site on a single Apache server poses great RISK if the machine hangs up for a reason or gets DoSed this makes websites unavailable until reboot and poses unwanted downtime. Though I know pretty well the concept of load balancing until today I never had configured Apache to serve as Load balancer between two or more identical machines set-upped to interpret PHP / Perl scripts. Amazingly load balancing users web traffic happened to be much easier than I supposed. All necessary is a single Apache configured with mod_proxy_balancer which acts as proxy and ships HTTP requests between two Apache servers. Logically its very important that the entry traffic host with Apache mod_proxy_balancer has to be configured to only run only mod_proxy_balancer otherwise it will be eating unnecessary server memory as with each unnecessary loaded Apache module usage of memory resources raise up.

The scenario of my load balancer and 2 webserver hosts behind it goes like this:

a. Apache with load balancer with external IP address – i.e. ( with DNS record for ex.
b. Normally configured Apache to run PHP scripts with internal IP address through NAT – (Network address translation) (on – known under host JEREMIAH
c. Second identical Apache to above host running on with IP with internal host ISSIAH.

N.B.! All 3 hosts are running latest  Debian GNU / Linux 7.2 Wheezy
After having this in mind, I proceeded with installing the on apache and removing all unnecessary modules.

!!! Important note is if you use some already existent Apache configured to run PHP or any other unnecessary stuff – make sure you remove this otherwise expect severe performance issues !!!
1. Install Apache webserver

loadbalancer:~# apt-get install --yes apache2

2. Enable mod proxy proxy_balancer and proxy_http
On Debian Linux modules are enabled with a2enmod command;

loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy
loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy_balancer
loadbalancer:~# a2enmod proxy_http

Actually what a2enmod command does is to make symbolic links from /etc/apache2/mods-available/{proxy,proxy_balancer,proxy_http} to /etc/apache2/mods-available/{proxy,proxy_balancer,proxy_http}

3. Configure Apache mod proxy to load balance traffic between JEREMIAH and ISSAIAH webservers

loadbalancer:~# vim /etc/apache2/conf.d/proxy_balancer


Paste inside:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster>
ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

4. Configure Apache Proxy to access traffic from all hosts (by default it is configured to Deny from all)

<Proxy balancer://mycluster> BalancerMember BalancerMember </Proxy> ProxyPass / balancer://mycluster – See more at:

loadbalancer:~# vim /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/proxy.conf

Change there Deny from all to Allow from all

Deny from all

5. Restart Apache

loadbalancer:~# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Once again I have to say that above configuration is actually a basic Apache cluster so hosts behind load balancer Apache there should be machines configured to interpret scripts identically. If one Apache server of the cluster dies, the other Apache + PHP host will continue serve and deliver webserver content so no interruption will happen. This is not a round robin type of load balancer. Above configuration will distribute Webserver load requested in ratio 3/4 3 parts will be served by First server and 4th parth will be delivered by 2nd Apache.
Well, that's all load balancer is configured! Now to test it open in browser or try to access it by IP in my case:

a2enmod proxy

Allow Directory Listing in Apache Webserver / Get around Directory index forbidden by Options directive

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

I have configured Apache VirtualHost, inside the VirtualHost hosted domain, it is supposed to be a directory, where Directory Listing has to be allowed. My VirtualHost configuration looks like so:

NameVirtualHost *

DocumentRoot /var/www
DirectoryIndex index.html index.htm index.php index.html.var

Options FollowSymLinks
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all

Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
allow from all

ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ /usr/lib/cgi-bin/

AllowOverride None
Options +ExecCGI -MultiViews +SymLinksIfOwnerMatch
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
LogLevel warn
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

I have a directory (/var/www/directory), there I store various files and I prefer this directory to be enabled to support Directory listing. I have the whole situation on Debian Linux. By default in Debian Apache is configured to disable directory listing for subdirectories to both default host and Virtualhosts

In order to enable /var/www/directory, accessed inside browser via web address I had to add inside my Virtualhost /etc/apache2/sites-available/ following Apache directive:

AddDefaultCharset UTF-8
Options FollowSymLinks Indexes
AllowOverride All

As you can see I included also AddDefaultCharset UTF-8, because inside /directory I have files in cyrillic and, if I don’t explicitly set the encoding to UTF-8, the htmls are improperly shown in browsers.

The exact directive that enables directory listing in Apache is:

Options Indexes

Setting Indexes to -Indexes disables directory listing, e.g.

Options -Indexes

BTW if you need to make certain directory accessible for default set Apache Options (permissions) should be set in /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Options Indexes

This will set Apache directory permissions for all Virtualhost, useful if all virtualhosts share common ServerRoot and the directory has to be accessible via all vhosts.
Well that’s all Cheers 😉

‘host-name’ is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with ‘mysqladmin flush-hosts’

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

My home run machine MySQL server was suddenly down as I tried to check my blog and other sites today, the error I saw while trying to open, this blog as well as other hosted sites using the MySQL was:

Error establishing a database connection

The topology, where this error occured is simple, I have two hosts:

1. Apache version 2.0.64 compiled support externally PHP scripts interpretation via libphp – the host runs on (FreeBSD)

2. A Debian GNU / Linux squeeze running MySQL server version 5.1.61

The Apache host is assigned a local IP address and the SQL server is running on a host with IP

To diagnose the error I've logged in to and weirdly the mysql-server was appearing to run just fine:

debian:~# ps ax |grep -i mysql
31781 pts/0 S 0:00 /bin/sh /usr/bin/mysqld_safe
31940 pts/0 Sl 12:08 /usr/sbin/mysqld –basedir=/usr –datadir=/var/lib/mysql –user=mysql –pid-file=/var/run/mysqld/ –socket=/var/run/mysqld/mysqld.sock –port=3306
31941 pts/0 S 0:00 logger -t mysqld -p daemon.error
32292 pts/0 S+ 0:00 grep -i mysql

Moreover I could connect to the localhost SQL server with mysql -u root -p and it seemed to run fine. The error Error establishing a database connection meant that either something is messed up with the database or Mysql port 3306 is not properly accessible.

My first guess was something is wrong due to some firewall rules, so I tried to connect from to with telnet:

freebsd# telnet 3306
Connected to jericho.
Escape character is '^]'.
Host 'webserver' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'
Connection closed by foreign host.

Right after the telnet was initiated as I show in the above output the connection was immediately closed with the error:

Host 'webserver' is blocked because of many connection errors; unblock with 'mysqladmin flush-hosts'Connection closed by foreign host.

In the error 'webserver' is my Apache machine set hostname. The error clearly states the problems with the 'webserver' apache host unable to connect to the SQL database are due to 'many connection errors' and a fix i suggested with mysqladmin flush-hosts

To temporary solve the error and restore my normal connectivity between the Apache and the SQL servers I logged I had to issue on the SQL host:

mysqladmin -u root -p flush-hostsEnter password:

Thogh this temporar fix restored accessibility to the databases and hence the websites errors were resolved, this doesn't guarantee that in the future I wouldn't end up in the same situation and therefore I looked for a permanent fix to the issues once and for all.

The permanent fix consists in changing the default value set for max_connect_error in /etc/mysql/my.cnf, which by default is not too high. Therefore to raise up the variable value, added in my.cnf in conf section [mysqld]:

debian:~# vim /etc/mysql/my.cnf

and afterwards restarted MYSQL:

debian:~# /etc/init.d/mysql restart
Stopping MySQL database server: mysqld.
Starting MySQL database server: mysqld.
Checking for corrupt, not cleanly closed and upgrade needing tables..

To make sure the assigned max_connect_errors=4294967295 is never reached due to Apache to SQL connection errors, I've also added as a cronjob.

debian:~# crontab -u root -e
00 03 * * * mysqladmin flush-hosts

In the cron I have omitted the mysqladmin -u root -p (user/pass) input options because for convenience I have already stored the mysql root password in /root/.my.cnf

Here is how /root/.my.cnf looks like:

debian:~# cat /root/.my.cnf

Now hopefully, this would permanently solve SQL's 'failure to accept connections' due to too many connection errors for future.

How to restart Microsoft IIS with command via Windows command line

Friday, August 19th, 2011

I’m tuning a Windows 2003 for better performance and securing it against DoS of service attacks. After applying all the changes I needed to restart the WebServer for the new configurations to take effect.
As I’m not a GUI kind of guy I found it handy there is a fast command to restart the Microsoft Internet Information Server. The command to restart IIS is:

c:> iisreset