Example Site

Normally, we would construct an example site to illustrate our points, but in the case of mod_backhand, it’s rather difficult to do so without using several machines. So, instead, our example will be from a live site that one of the authors (BL) runs, FreeBMD, which is a world-wide volunteer effort to transcribe the Birth, Marriage, and Death Index for England and Wales, currently comprising over 3,000 volunteers. You can see FreeBMD at http://www.freebmd.org.uk/ if you are interested. At the time of writing, FreeBMD was load-balanced across three machines, each with 250 GB of RAID disk, 2 GB of RAM, and around 25 million records in a MySQL database. Users upload and modify files on the machines, from which the database is built, and for that reason the configuration is nontrivial: the files must live on a “master” machine to maintain consistency easily. This means that part of the site has to be load-balanced. Anyway, we will present the configuration file for one of these machines with interleaved comments following the line(s) to which they refer.

HostnameLookups off

This speeds up logging.

User webserv
Group webserv

Just the usual deal, setting a user for the web server.

ServerName liberty.thebunker.net

The three machines are called liberty, fraternity, and equality — clearly, this line is different on each machine.

CoreDumpDirectory /tmp

For diagnostic purposes, we may need to see core dumps: Note that /tmp would not be a good choice on a shared machine — since it is ...

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