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Apache: The Definitive Guide, Second Edition by Peter Laurie, Ben Laurie

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1.1. How Does Apache Work?

Apache is a program that runs under a suitable multitasking operating system. In the examples in this book, the operating systems are Unix and Windows 95/98/NT, which we call Win32. The binary is called httpd under Unix and apache.exe under Win32[†] and normally runs in the background. Each copy of httpd/apache that is started has its attention directed at a web site , which is, for practical purposes, a directory. For an example, look at site.toddle on the demonstration CD-ROM. Regardless of operating system, a site directory typically contains four subdirectories:

[†] This double name is rather annoying, but it seems that life has progressed too far for anything to be done about it. We will, rather clumsily, refer to httpd/apache and hope that the reader can pick the right one.

conf

Contains the configuration file(s), of which httpd.conf is the most important. It is referred to throughout this book as the Config file.

htdocs

Contains the HTML scripts to be served up to the site's clients. This directory and those below it, the web space, are accessible to anyone on the Web and therefore pose a severe security risk if used for anything other than public data.

logs

Contains the log data, both of accesses and errors.

cgi-bin

Contains the CGI scripts. These are programs or shell scripts written by or for the webmaster that can be executed by Apache on behalf of its clients. It is most important, for security reasons, that this directory ...

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