How to Change Apache Server Directory: A Complete Guide

Introduction

Greetings, fellow web administrators! Today, we’re going to delve into one of the most essential aspects of managing an Apache web server: changing its directory. Apache is undoubtedly one of the most popular web servers used by millions of websites globally. It is an open-source software that is highly customizable to fit in any web environment. One thing that may be troubling for newer admins is changing the default directory of the apache server. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to change apache server directory in a step-by-step manner.

Before we get started on the guide, let’s briefly explore what Apache is and what it does.

What is Apache Web Server?

Apache is an open-source web server software that is widely used to host websites. As mentioned earlier, it is highly customizable and provides a robust platform to develop and deploy web applications. Apache web server is available on various platforms such as Windows, Linux, Unix, and macOS. Apache supports various scripting languages such as PHP, Perl, and Python.

Why Change Apache Server Directory?

By default, Apache server stores all its web files in the /var/www/html/ directory. However, there may be instances where you might want to change the directory to a different location. For example, you may want to improve security by storing files outside of the public_html folder. Or you may want to create a partition or disk for static files to improve performance. Whatever the reason, changing the directory of the Apache server is a crucial step in web server administration.

The Steps to Change Apache Server Directory

Now that we’ve established what Apache is and why changing the directory is essential let’s dive into the steps involved in changing Apache server directory:

Step 1: Stop Apache Server

The first step is to stop the Apache server before making any changes to the configuration file. You can use the following command to stop the Apache server:

Command to Stop Apache Server
Debian/Ubuntu: sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop
CentOS/Fedora: sudo systemctl stop httpd.service

Step 2: Create a New Directory

The next step is to create a new directory where you want to store your web files. You can create a new directory by using the following command:

Command to Create a New Directory
sudo mkdir /new_directory_name

Step 3: Change Ownership and Permissions

After creating a new directory, the next step is to change the ownership and permissions. This helps ensure that the webserver can read and write to the newly created directory.

Command to Change Ownership and Permissions
sudo chown -R apache:apache /new_directory_name
sudo chmod -R 755 /new_directory_name

Step 4: Modify Apache Configuration File

The next step is to modify the Apache configuration file to reflect the new directory location. The configuration file is located at /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf or /etc/apache2/apache2.conf depending on your operating system. You will need root access to modify the configuration file.

Open the configuration file and search for the DocumentRoot directive. This directive specifies the directory where Apache server should look for files. Change the directory to the newly created directory. For example:

Default DocumentRoot Directive
Updated DocumentRoot Directive
DocumentRoot /var/www/html
DocumentRoot /new_directory_name

After changing the DocumentRoot directive, you will also need to modify the Directory directive. This directive specifies the permissions and access control for the directory. Replace the default DocumentRoot directive with the following:

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Advantages of Changing Apache Server Directory

There are several advantages to changing the Apache server directory. Here are some of the most significant benefits:

Disadvantages of Changing Apache Server Directory

While changing the Apache server directory can be beneficial, there are also some disadvantages to consider. Here are some of the most significant drawbacks:

FAQs

Q1: Can I change the Apache server directory without root access?

No, you need root access to modify the Apache configuration file and change the server directory.

Q2: How do I test if the new directory is working?

You can create a test.html file in the new directory and try to access it via a web browser. If the file is accessible, the new directory is working correctly.

Q3: Will changing the server directory affect my website’s SEO?

No, changing the server directory does not affect your website’s SEO. However, you will need to update any internal links that may have changed due to the new directory location.

Q4: Can I change the Apache server directory from the command line?

Yes, you can use the command line to change the server directory. Follow the steps outlined in this article.

Q5: Are there any security risks associated with changing the server directory?

No, changing the server directory can actually improve security by storing web files outside of the public_html directory.

Q6: Can I revert to the default directory after changing it?

Yes, you can revert to the default directory by modifying the Apache configuration file and changing the DocumentRoot directive back to /var/www/html.

Q7: Do I need to restart the Apache server after changing the configuration file?

Yes, you will need to restart the Apache server for the changes to take effect. Use the following command to restart the Apache server:

Conclusion

In conclusion, changing the Apache server directory is a crucial step for web server administrators. It can improve security, performance, and organization. This article has provided a comprehensive guide on how to change the server directory in a step-by-step manner. We hope this article will help you in your web server administration tasks.

If you encounter any issues or have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below. We’re always happy to help!

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. Any action you take upon the information provided in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of this article.

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