This document attempts to answer the commonly-asked questions about setting up virtual hosts. These scenarios are those involving multiple web sites running on a single server, via name-based or IP-based virtual hosts.
- Running several name-based web sites on a single IP address.
- Name-based hosts on more than one IP address.
- Serving the same content on different IP addresses (such as an internal and external address).
- Running different sites on different ports.
- IP-based virtual hosting
- Mixed port-based and ip-based virtual hosts
- Mixed name-based and IP-based vhosts
Virtual_hostand mod_proxy together
- Migrating a name-based vhost to an IP-based vhost
- Using the
Your server has multiple hostnames that resolve to a single address, and you want to respond differently for
Creating virtual host configurations on your Apache server does not magically cause DNS entries to be created for those host names. You must have the names in DNS, resolving to your IP address, or nobody else will be able to see your web site. You can put entries in your
hosts file for local testing, but that will work only from the machine with those
# Ensure that Apache listens on port 80 Listen 80 <VirtualHost *:80> DocumentRoot "/www/example1" ServerName www.example.com # Other directives here </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost *:80> DocumentRoot "/www/example2" ServerName www.example.org # Other directives here </VirtualHost>
The asterisks match all addresses, so the main server serves no requests. Due to the fact that the virtual host with
ServerName www.example.com is first in the configuration file, it has the highest priority and can be seen as the default or primary server. That means that if a request is received that does not match one of the specified
ServerName directives, it will be served by this first
The above configuration is what you will want to use in almost all name-based virtual hosting situations. The only thing that this configuration will not work for, in fact, is when you are serving different content based on differing IP addresses or ports.
You may replace
* with a specific IP address on the system. Such virtual hosts will only be used for HTTP requests received on connection to the specified IP address.
However, it is additionally useful to use
* on systems where the IP address is not predictable – for example if you have a dynamic IP address with your ISP, and you are using some variety of dynamic DNS solution. Since
* matches any IP address, this configuration would work without changes whenever your IP address changes.
Any of the techniques discussed here can be extended to any number of IP addresses.
The server has two IP addresses. On one (
172.20.30.40), we will serve the “main” server,
server.example.com and on the other (
172.20.30.50), we will serve two or more virtual hosts.
Listen 80 # This is the "main" server running on 172.20.30.40 ServerName server.example.com DocumentRoot "/www/mainserver" <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50> DocumentRoot "/www/example1" ServerName www.example.com # Other directives here ... </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50> DocumentRoot "/www/example2" ServerName www.example.org # Other directives here ... </VirtualHost>
Any request to an address other than
172.20.30.50 will be served from the main server. A request to
172.20.30.50 with an unknown hostname, or no
Host: header, will be served from
The server machine has two IP addresses (
172.20.30.40). The machine is sitting between an internal (intranet) network and an external (internet) network. Outside of the network, the name
server.example.com resolves to the external address (
172.20.30.40), but inside the network, that same name resolves to the internal address (
The server can be made to respond to internal and external requests with the same content, with just one
<VirtualHost 192.168.1.1 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/server1" ServerName server.example.com ServerAlias server </VirtualHost>
Now requests from both networks will be served from the same
On the internal network, one can just use the name
server rather than the fully qualified host name
Note also that, in the above example, you can replace the list of IP addresses with
*, which will cause the server to respond the same on all addresses.
You have multiple domains going to the same IP and also want to serve multiple ports. The example below illustrates that the name-matching takes place after the best matching IP address and port combination is determined.
Listen 80 Listen 8080 <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:80> ServerName www.example.com DocumentRoot "/www/domain-80" </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:8080> ServerName www.example.com DocumentRoot "/www/domain-8080" </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:80> ServerName www.example.org DocumentRoot "/www/otherdomain-80" </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:8080> ServerName www.example.org DocumentRoot "/www/otherdomain-8080" </VirtualHost>
The server has two IP addresses (
172.20.30.50) which resolve to the names
Listen 80 <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/example1" ServerName www.example.com </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50> DocumentRoot "/www/example2" ServerName www.example.org </VirtualHost>
Requests for any address not specified in one of the
<VirtualHost> directives (such as
localhost, for example) will go to the main server, if there is one.
The server machine has two IP addresses (
172.20.30.50) which resolve to the names
www.example.org respectively. In each case, we want to run hosts on ports 80 and 8080.
Listen 172.20.30.40:80 Listen 172.20.30.40:8080 Listen 172.20.30.50:80 Listen 172.20.30.50:8080 <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:80> DocumentRoot "/www/example1-80" ServerName www.example.com </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40:8080> DocumentRoot "/www/example1-8080" ServerName www.example.com </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50:80> DocumentRoot "/www/example2-80" ServerName www.example.org </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50:8080> DocumentRoot "/www/example2-8080" ServerName www.example.org </VirtualHost>
Any address mentioned in the argument to a virtualhost that never appears in another virtual host is a strictly IP-based virtual host.
Listen 80 <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/example1" ServerName www.example.com </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/example2" ServerName www.example.org </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/example3" ServerName www.example.net </VirtualHost> # IP-based <VirtualHost 172.20.30.50> DocumentRoot "/www/example4" ServerName www.example.edu </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.60> DocumentRoot "/www/example5" ServerName www.example.gov </VirtualHost>
The following example allows a front-end machine to proxy a virtual host through to a server running on another machine. In the example, a virtual host of the same name is configured on a machine at
ProxyPreserveHost On directive is used so that the desired hostname is passed through, in case we are proxying multiple hostnames to a single machine.
<VirtualHost *:*> ProxyPreserveHost On ProxyPass "/" "http://192.168.111.2/" ProxyPassReverse "/" "http://192.168.111.2/" ServerName hostname.example.com </VirtualHost>
Catching every request to any unspecified IP address and port, i.e., an address/port combination that is not used for any other virtual host.
<VirtualHost _default_:*> DocumentRoot "/www/default" </VirtualHost>
Using such a default vhost with a wildcard port effectively prevents any request going to the main server.
A default vhost never serves a request that was sent to an address/port that is used for name-based vhosts. If the request contained an unknown or no
Host: header it is always served from the primary name-based vhost (the vhost for that address/port appearing first in the configuration file).
Same as setup 1, but the server listens on several ports and we want to use a second
_default_ vhost for port 80.
<VirtualHost _default_:80> DocumentRoot "/www/default80" # ... </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost _default_:*> DocumentRoot "/www/default" # ... </VirtualHost>
The default vhost for port 80 (which must appear before any default vhost with a wildcard port) catches all requests that were sent to an unspecified IP address. The main server is never used to serve a request.
We want to have a default vhost for port 80, but no other default vhosts.
<VirtualHost _default_:80> DocumentRoot "/www/default" ... </VirtualHost>
A request to an unspecified address on port 80 is served from the default vhost. Any other request to an unspecified address and port is served from the main server.
Any use of
* in a virtual host declaration will have higher precedence than
The name-based vhost with the hostname
www.example.org (from our name-based example, setup 2) should get its own IP address. To avoid problems with name servers or proxies who cached the old IP address for the name-based vhost we want to provide both variants during a migration phase.
The solution is easy, because we can simply add the new IP address (
172.20.30.50) to the
Listen 80 ServerName www.example.com DocumentRoot "/www/example1" <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40 172.20.30.50> DocumentRoot "/www/example2" ServerName www.example.org # ... </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/example3" ServerName www.example.net ServerAlias *.example.net # ... </VirtualHost>
The vhost can now be accessed through the new address (as an IP-based vhost) and through the old address (as a name-based vhost).
We have a server with two name-based vhosts. In order to match the correct virtual host a client must send the correct
Host: header. Old HTTP/1.0 clients do not send such a header and Apache has no clue what vhost the client tried to reach (and serves the request from the primary vhost). To provide as much backward compatibility as possible we create a primary vhost which returns a single page containing links with an URL prefix to the name-based virtual hosts.
<VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> # primary vhost DocumentRoot "/www/subdomain" RewriteEngine On RewriteRule "." "/www/subdomain/index.html" # ... </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/subdomain/sub1" ServerName www.sub1.domain.tld ServerPath "/sub1/" RewriteEngine On RewriteRule "^(/sub1/.*)" "/www/subdomain$1" # ... </VirtualHost> <VirtualHost 172.20.30.40> DocumentRoot "/www/subdomain/sub2" ServerName www.sub2.domain.tld ServerPath "/sub2/" RewriteEngine On RewriteRule "^(/sub2/.*)" "/www/subdomain$1" # ... </VirtualHost>
Due to the
ServerPath directive a request to the URL
http://www.sub1.domain.tld/sub1/ is always served from the sub1-vhost.
A request to the URL
http://www.sub1.domain.tld/ is only served from the sub1-vhost if the client sent a correct
Host: header. If no
Host: header is sent the client gets the information page from the primary host.
Please note that there is one oddity: A request to
http://www.sub2.domain.tld/sub1/ is also served from the sub1-vhost if the client sent no
RewriteRule directives are used to make sure that a client which sent a correct
Host: header can use both URL variants, i.e., with or without URL prefix.
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