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Is it necessary to have separate virtualhost blocks for the http and https versions of each site? or is there some way to avoid the duplication?

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Unlike for example a server block in nginx that can support both http and https definitions (each on a different port) in a single server block the Apache VirtualHost only has a toggle.

The SSLEngine directive switches TLS either on or off for the entire VirtualHost.

(The SSLEngine optional setting is more a curiosity and not a valid production option to support both plain http and https from a single VirtualHost block. )

You will get protocol errors when attempting to connect with plain http to a Apache https IP-address & port combination or vice-versa when using https on a plain http port.

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  • This seems to be true, BUT from my testing it appears to only apply to the default virtualhost on each port (and IP if applicable), further (name based) virtualhosts on the same ports seem to be able to be used successfully for both http and https at the same time as long as they list all the ports explicitly (using "*" with no port did not seem to work). – Peter Green Dec 23 '20 at 9:13
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Based on my testing, it appears it is necessary to have separate virtualhost blocks for the default virtualhost on each port, but secondary virtualhosts can use the same virtualhost block for both plain http and https.

However these secondary virtual hosts must be specified with an explicit list of ports, e.g. *:80 *:443, not with just a plain wildcard.

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