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I have the following situation:

  1. I'm running one VirtualHost to serve out special traffic to the internet. I do not have a dedicated IP address, but rather am running a dynamic DNS service to make my service available. This seems to be a problem for Apache according to some whom I have talked to.
  2. I'm also running one VirtualHost for local testing.

It's not exactly a mission-critical server, it's just nice to have and I use it occasionally to serve files to myself or to friends. However, my localhost is pretty critical, I need it up without any fuss so I can test at will. It gets real old typing sudo service apache2 restart every time I start up my Ubuntu box.

Here's what happens: I start my computer, and when I go to localhost:80, I hit the VirtualHost which is outward facing. I then restart Apache and everything works fine; local traffic hits the localhost VirtualHost and external traffic hits the external-facing VirtualHost. As far as I know, the external-facing VirtualHost is always working.

I'm running things on Ubuntu, so that makes things a little weird, as the configuration files are split up. Here are my relevant configuration files:

1. /etc/apache2/apache2.conf:

#
# Based upon the NCSA server configuration files originally by Rob McCool.
#
# This is the main Apache server configuration file.  It contains the
# configuration directives that give the server its instructions.
# See http://httpd.apache.org/docs/2.2/ for detailed information about
# the directives.
#
# Do NOT simply read the instructions in here without understanding
# what they do.  They're here only as hints or reminders.  If you are unsure
# consult the online docs. You have been warned.  
#
# The configuration directives are grouped into three basic sections:
#  1. Directives that control the operation of the Apache server process as a
#     whole (the 'global environment').
#  2. Directives that define the parameters of the 'main' or 'default' server,
#     which responds to requests that aren't handled by a virtual host.
#     These directives also provide default values for the settings
#     of all virtual hosts.
#  3. Settings for virtual hosts, which allow Web requests to be sent to
#     different IP addresses or hostnames and have them handled by the
#     same Apache server process.
#
# Configuration and logfile names: If the filenames you specify for many
# of the server's control files begin with "/" (or "drive:/" for Win32), the
# server will use that explicit path.  If the filenames do *not* begin
# with "/", the value of ServerRoot is prepended -- so "/var/log/apache2/foo.log"
# with ServerRoot set to "" will be interpreted by the
# server as "//var/log/apache2/foo.log".
#

### Section 1: Global Environment
#
# The directives in this section affect the overall operation of Apache,
# such as the number of concurrent requests it can handle or where it
# can find its configuration files.
#

#
# ServerRoot: The top of the directory tree under which the server's
# configuration, error, and log files are kept.
#
# NOTE!  If you intend to place this on an NFS (or otherwise network)
# mounted filesystem then please read the LockFile documentation (available
# at <URL:http://httpd.apache.org/docs-2.1/mod/mpm_common.html#lockfile>);
# you will save yourself a lot of trouble.
#
# Do NOT add a slash at the end of the directory path.
#
ServerRoot "/etc/apache2"

#
# The accept serialization lock file MUST BE STORED ON A LOCAL DISK.
#
#<IfModule !mpm_winnt.c>
#<IfModule !mpm_netware.c>
LockFile /var/lock/apache2/accept.lock
#</IfModule>
#</IfModule>

#
# PidFile: The file in which the server should record its process
# identification number when it starts.
# This needs to be set in /etc/apache2/envvars
#
PidFile ${APACHE_PID_FILE}

#
# Timeout: The number of seconds before receives and sends time out.
#
Timeout 300

#
# KeepAlive: Whether or not to allow persistent connections (more than
# one request per connection). Set to "Off" to deactivate.
#
KeepAlive On

#
# MaxKeepAliveRequests: The maximum number of requests to allow
# during a persistent connection. Set to 0 to allow an unlimited amount.
# We recommend you leave this number high, for maximum performance.
#
MaxKeepAliveRequests 100

#
# KeepAliveTimeout: Number of seconds to wait for the next request from the
# same client on the same connection.
#
KeepAliveTimeout 15

##
## Server-Pool Size Regulation (MPM specific)
## 

# prefork MPM
# StartServers: number of server processes to start
# MinSpareServers: minimum number of server processes which are kept spare
# MaxSpareServers: maximum number of server processes which are kept spare
# MaxClients: maximum number of server processes allowed to start
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_prefork_module>
    StartServers          5
    MinSpareServers       5
    MaxSpareServers      10
    MaxClients          150
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
</IfModule>

# worker MPM
# StartServers: initial number of server processes to start
# MaxClients: maximum number of simultaneous client connections
# MinSpareThreads: minimum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# MaxSpareThreads: maximum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# ThreadsPerChild: constant number of worker threads in each server process
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_worker_module>
    StartServers          2
    MinSpareThreads      25
    MaxSpareThreads      75 
    ThreadLimit          64
    ThreadsPerChild      25
    MaxClients          150
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
</IfModule>

# event MPM
# StartServers: initial number of server processes to start
# MaxClients: maximum number of simultaneous client connections
# MinSpareThreads: minimum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# MaxSpareThreads: maximum number of worker threads which are kept spare
# ThreadsPerChild: constant number of worker threads in each server process
# MaxRequestsPerChild: maximum number of requests a server process serves
<IfModule mpm_event_module>
    StartServers          2
    MaxClients          150
    MinSpareThreads      25
    MaxSpareThreads      75 
    ThreadLimit          64
    ThreadsPerChild      25
    MaxRequestsPerChild   0
</IfModule>

# These need to be set in /etc/apache2/envvars
User ${APACHE_RUN_USER}
Group ${APACHE_RUN_GROUP}

#
# AccessFileName: The name of the file to look for in each directory
# for additional configuration directives.  See also the AllowOverride
# directive.
#

AccessFileName .htaccess

#
# The following lines prevent .htaccess and .htpasswd files from being 
# viewed by Web clients. 
#
<Files ~ "^\.ht">
    Order allow,deny
    Deny from all
    Satisfy all
</Files>

#
# DefaultType is the default MIME type the server will use for a document
# if it cannot otherwise determine one, such as from filename extensions.
# If your server contains mostly text or HTML documents, "text/plain" is
# a good value.  If most of your content is binary, such as applications
# or images, you may want to use "application/octet-stream" instead to
# keep browsers from trying to display binary files as though they are
# text.
#
DefaultType text/plain


#
# HostnameLookups: Log the names of clients or just their IP addresses
# e.g., www.apache.org (on) or 204.62.129.132 (off).
# The default is off because it'd be overall better for the net if people
# had to knowingly turn this feature on, since enabling it means that
# each client request will result in AT LEAST one lookup request to the
# nameserver.
#
HostnameLookups Off

# ErrorLog: The location of the error log file.
# If you do not specify an ErrorLog directive within a <VirtualHost>
# container, error messages relating to that virtual host will be
# logged here.  If you *do* define an error logfile for a <VirtualHost>
# container, that host's errors will be logged there and not here.
#
ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log

#
# LogLevel: Control the number of messages logged to the error_log.
# Possible values include: debug, info, notice, warn, error, crit,
# alert, emerg.
#
LogLevel warn

# Include module configuration:
Include /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/*.load
Include /etc/apache2/mods-enabled/*.conf

# Include all the user configurations:
Include /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

# Include ports listing
Include /etc/apache2/ports.conf

#
# The following directives define some format nicknames for use with
# a CustomLog directive (see below).
# If you are behind a reverse proxy, you might want to change %h into %{X-Forwarded-For}i
#
LogFormat "%v:%p %h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" vhost_combined
LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O \"%{Referer}i\" \"%{User-Agent}i\"" combined
LogFormat "%h %l %u %t \"%r\" %>s %O" common
LogFormat "%{Referer}i -> %U" referer
LogFormat "%{User-agent}i" agent

#
# Define an access log for VirtualHosts that don't define their own logfile
CustomLog /var/log/apache2/other_vhosts_access.log vhost_combined


# Include of directories ignores editors' and dpkg's backup files,
# see README.Debian for details.

# Include generic snippets of statements
Include /etc/apache2/conf.d/

# Include the virtual host configurations:
Include /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/

2. /etc/apache2/ports.conf:

# If you just change the port or add more ports here, you will likely also
# have to change the VirtualHost statement in
# /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
# This is also true if you have upgraded from before 2.2.9-3 (i.e. from
# Debian etch). See /usr/share/doc/apache2.2-common/NEWS.Debian.gz and
# README.Debian.gz

Listen 80

ServerName localhost

NameVirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80
NameVirtualHost *:80

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
    # If you add NameVirtualHost *:443 here, you will also have to change
    # the VirtualHost statement in /etc/apache2/sites-available/default-ssl
    # to <VirtualHost *:443>
    # Server Name Indication for SSL named virtual hosts is currently not
    # supported by MSIE on Windows XP.
    Listen 443
</IfModule>

<IfModule mod_gnutls.c>
    Listen 443
</IfModule>

3. /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-localhost: (Should be the local VHost)

<VirtualHost 127.0.0.1:80>
    ServerAdmin admin@localhost

    DocumentRoot /var/www
    <Directory />
        Options FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride None
    </Directory>
    <Directory /var/www/>
        Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
        AllowOverride None
        Order allow,deny
        allow from all
    </Directory>

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

    ErrorLog /var/log/apache2/error.log

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

    CustomLog /var/log/apache2/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 127.0.0.0/255.0.0.0 ::1/128
    </Directory>

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteLog "/var/log/apache2/mod_rewrite.log"
    RewriteLogLevel 9

    <Location />
        <Limit GET POST PUT>
            order allow,deny
            allow from all
            deny from 65.34.248.110
            deny from 69.122.239.3
            deny from 58.218.199.147
            deny from 65.34.248.110
        </Limit>
    </Location>
</VirtualHost>

4. /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/001-rfkrocktk.dyndns.org: (Should be external-facing VHost)

<VirtualHost *:80>
    DocumentRoot /var/server/sites/rfkrocktk.dyndns.org/http
    ServerName rfkrocktk.dyndns.org
</VirtualHost>

Can anyone help me get this resolved?

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2 Answers 2

I suspect it is a race condition with your external interface. Try reordering your virtual hosts.

You could also add the restart command to /etc/rc.local

apachectl graceful
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Seems likely, as the external interface for the server is wlan0, I'll investigate. –  Naftuli Tzvi Kay Feb 24 '11 at 1:01
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

What I ended up doing is the following.

I created a file named /etc/init/apache-restart.conf and in it, typed the following:

# apache-restart - Restarts Apache 2 server when the network becomes available.

description    "Restart Apache 2 server when the network becomes available."

task

script
    /etc/init.d/apache2 restart
end script

What this does is that it uses the Upstart daemon to detect when we get connected to a network, and at that point, we restart the Apache server. This way, everything works great, Apache recognizes my external host, and Bob's your uncle.

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