You can't do much with Apache without a web site to play with. To embody our first shaky steps, we created site.toddle as a subdirectory, /usr/www/site.toddle. Since you may want to keep your demonstration sites somewhere else, we normally refer to this path as ... /. So we will talk about ... /site.toddle (Windows users, please read this as ...\site.toddle).
In ... /site.toddle, we created the three subdirectories Apache expects: conf, logs, and htdocs. The README file in Apache's root directory states:
The next step is to edit the configuration files for the server. In the subdirectory called conf you should find distribution versions of the three configuration files: srm.conf-dist, access.conf-dist, and httpd.conf-dist.
As a legacy from NCSA, Apache will accept these three Config files. But we strongly advise you to put everything you need in httpd.conf, and to delete the other two. It is much easier to manage the Config file if there is only one of them. From Apache v1.3.4-dev on, this has become Group doctrine. In earlier versions of Apache, it was necessary to disable these files explicitly once they were deleted, but in v1.3 it is enough that they do not exist.
The README file continues with advice about editing these files, which we will disregard. In fact, we don't have to set about this job yet. We will learn more later. A simple expedient for now is to run Apache with no configuration and to let it prompt us for what it needs.