How to Install and Manage Apache web server on Ubuntu 24.04/22.04

Apache is free and open-source web server software for hosting websites. It is one of the most popular web server software on the internet. In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step installing, configuring, and managing Apache on the Ubuntu 24.04 server.

For FreeBSD users, check out our guide Apache: A Guide to Install and Configure on FreeBSD 14.


To complete this tutorial, you must have the following:

Installing Apache on Ubuntu

Apache is a web server solution to host your websites. According to the report (as of October 2023), the Apache web server is used by 30.9% of websites on the internet.

Apache is available on most Linux distributions. On Ubuntu, Apache can be installed with ease via APT.

1. To start, run the following command to update the Ubuntu package index and retrieve the latest version of package information.

sudo apt update
Updating Ubuntu package index
Updating Ubuntu package index

2. Next, install Apache using the apt install command below.

sudo apt install apache2

Input Y and press ENTER to proceed with the installation.

Installing Apache web server using APT
Installing Apache web server using APT

3. Once Apache is installed, it will start automatically and be enabled. Run the command below to ensure that Apache is running.

sudo systemctl is-enabled apache2
sudo systemctl status apache2

If Apache is running and enabled, the output you receive should be similar to:

Checking Apache service status
Checking Apache service status

Opening HTTP and HTTP Ports via UFW

By default, the Apache web server includes the UFW application profile that you can apply to your system. Here, you will enable the Apache application profile on UFW to open both HTTP and HTTPS ports.

1. Run the following command to list UFW application profiles.

sudo ufw app list

You should expect to see three different application profiles, such as Apache, Apache Full, and Apache Secure.

Listing UFW application profiles
Listing UFW application profiles

2. Enter this command to enable Apache Full profile. This will open HTTP and HTTPS ports on your system – Port 80 and 443.

sudo ufw allow "Apache Full"

3. After that, run the command below to check enabled rules and application profiles on UFW.

sudo ufw status

You should expect to see the Apache Full profile on the UFW-enabled rules.

Open HTTP and HTTPS and checking UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) status
Open HTTP and HTTPS and checking UFW (Uncomplicated Firewall) status

4. Lastly, open your preferred web browser and navigate to your server IP address (e.g. If everything goes well, you should see the default index.html page of the Apache web server.

Accessing Apache default index.html
Accessing Apache default index.html

Pro tip: If you don’t know your server IP address, run the ip a command to find your Apache server IP address.

Managing Apache Service on Ubuntu

Before diving deeper into Apache configuration, it’s essential to know how to manage Apache service. This includes how to start, stop, restart, enable, and check the status of Apache service.

1. To start Apache, run the systemctl start command below.

sudo systemctl start apache2

2. If you want to restart Apache, enter the following command.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

3. Then, to ensure Apache is running, input this command. If running, the output should be active (running), and if stopped, the output should be inactive (dead).

sudo systemctl status apache2

4. In case you’d like to stop Apache, run the systemctl stop command below.

sudo systemctl stop apache2

5. Now, to enable Apache on system startup, enter the command below. This will create a symlink of the Apache service file and reload the system manager to apply immediate changes.

sudo systemctl enable apache2

6. Lastly, to ensure if Apache is enabled or not, run the following command. If enabled, the output should be enabled, and if disabled, you should see the output disabled.

sudo systemctl is-enabled apache2

Exploring Apache Configuration Files and Directories

Another key factor before configuring Apache is to understand Apache configuration files and directories.

On Ubuntu, the default Apache configuration files are stored in the /etc/apache2 directory. Within that directory, you will find many configuration files and directories. Below are some important files and directories you should be familiar with:

Main Apache Configuration

  • apache2.conf: The main Apache configuration file.
  • ports.conf: This file determines the Apache port. By default, Apache will be running on port 80 for HTTP and port 443 for HTTPS.

Apache Global Configuration Directory

  • conf-available: The global Apache configurations and snippets are stored in this directory. If you want to add a custom global Apache configuration, you can create a new .conf file in this directory.
  • conf-enabled: To apply Apache global configurations and snippets, you must create a symlink of the file from the conf-available directory to the conf-enabled directory. You can easily manage Apache global configurations with a2encof and a2disconf utilities.

Modules Directory

  • mods-available: The default Apache module configurations and files are stored in this directory.
  • mods-enabled: When Apache modules are enabled, the symlink file of Apache modules will be created in the mods-enabled directory. Use the a2enmod and a2dismod to manage Apache modules.

Virtual Host Directory

  • sites-available: This directory is used to store Apache virtual host configurations.
  • sites-enabled: When activating the virtual host via the a2ensite utility, the symlink file of the target virtual host will be created in this directory.

Log Files and Document Root

  • /var/log/apache2: This directory is used to store Apache log files. The log files access.log and error.log are used by the default virtual host. For any virtual host without access and error logs defined, the logs will be stored in the file other_vhosts_access.log and other_vhosts_error.log.
  • /var/www/html: The default web root or document root directory for Apache. The index.html file of Apache is stored in this directory.

At this point, you must have a solid understanding of Apache configuration files and directories and how to manage Apache service. With that, you’re ready to set up virtual hosts.

Setting up Apache Virtual Hosts on Ubuntu

If you ever wonder how to host multiple websites or domain names with Apache on a single server, the answer is virtual hosts. This section covers how to set up an Apache virtual host on Ubuntu.

Before configuring a virtual host, you must establish the following requirements:

  • Domain Name: The domain name of your virtual host.
  • Document root directory: Your application source code must be stored in the document root directory.
  • Log files: Enable both access and error logs to later troubleshoot when errors occur.

In this scenario, you will create an Apache virtual host with the following configuration:

  • Domain: mydomain.devel.
  • Document Root directory: /var/www/mydomain.
  • Log files: The access log will be stored in mydomain-access.log, and the error log is mydomain-error.log.

Now let’s get started.

1. First, run the following command to create a new document root directory /var/www/mydomain and create a custom index.html file using vim.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/mydomain
vim /var/www/mydomain/index.html

Insert the following HTML script as your default index.html file.

<!doctype html>

<html lang="en">

  <meta charset="utf-8">
  <title>Welcome to Apache2 Virtual Host</title>

  <h2>Hello from mydomain.devel - Powered by Apache2</h2>


Save the file and exit the editor.

2. Secondly, change the ownership of the document root directory /var/www/mydomain to the user and group www-data. Doing this allows Apache to access and read your applications.

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/mydomain

3. Next, create a new virtual host configuration mydomain.conf within the directory /etc/apache2/sites-available/ using vim.

sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/mydomain.conf

Insert the following virtual host configuration.

<VirtualHost *:80>

        ServerName mydomain.devel
        ServerAdmin [email protected]
        DocumentRoot /var/www/mydomain

        #LogLevel info ssl:warn
        ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/mydomain-error.log
        CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/mydomain-access.log combined


Save the changes and close the editor.

4. After that, enter the following command to activate the virtual host mydomain.conf. This will create a symlink of the file mydomain.conf to the directory /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/.

sudo a2ensite mydomain.conf
Setting up web root directory, index.html, and Apache virtual host
Setting up web root directory, index.html, and Apache virtual host

5. Next, run the command below to verify Apache configuration, if successful, you should expect an output Syntax OK. Then, restart the Apache service to apply the changes.

sudo apachectl configtest
sudo systemctl restart apache2
Testing Apache syntax and restart Apache service
Testing Apache syntax and restart Apache service

6. Lastly, launch your web browser and visit the domain name of your virtual host (e.g. http://mydomain.devel/). If everything goes smoothly, you will be shown the custom index.html page like this:

Accessing Apache virtual host
Accessing Apache virtual host

Pro tip: If you’re using a fake domain name, you can modify the hosts file on your local machine. For Linux users, edit the file /etc/hosts, and for Windows users, edit the file C:\Windows\System32\drivers\etc\hosts. Define your server IP address and domain name like “  mydomain.devel“.

6 Essential Utilities for Managing Apache

By default, Apache comes with some utilities that simplify web server management. Below are 6 most important Apache utilities to add to your arsenal:

Managing Global Configurations and Snippets

Use the following commands for managing Apache global configuration within the /etc/apache2/conf-available directory.

  • a2enconf: This is used to enable Apache global configurations and snippets on the conf-available directory.
  • a2disconf: To disable custom global configurations for Apache, you can use this command. This will remove the symlink of custom configuration from the conf-enabled directory.


# enable configuration filename.conf
a2enconf filename.conf

# disable configuration filename.conf
a2disconf filename.conf

Managing Apache Virtual Hosts on Ubuntu

On Ubuntu system, you can manage Apache virtual host by using the following commands:

  • a2ensite: This command is used to enable Apache virtual host configuration on the sites-available directory.
  • a2dissite: This can be used to disable or deactivate a virtual host. The a2dissite command works by removing the symlink of the virtual host file from the sites-enabled directory.


# enable virtual host vhost.conf
a2ensite vhost.conf

# disable virtual host vhost.conf
a2dissite vhost.conf

Managing Apache Modules on Ubuntu

Furthermore, use the following command to enable or disable Apache modules.

  • a2enmod: This command is used to enable Apache modules.
  • a2dismod: This is used to disable Apache modules by removing the symlink file from the mods-enabled directory.


# enable Apache module
a2enmod module_name

# disable Apache module
a2dismod module_name

Apache Control Manager Interface

Another essential utility that you should know is apachectl or Apache control manager interface. Below are some helpful apachectl parameters that make web server management easy:

1. Run the apachectl command below to check the Apache version:

# checking basic Apache version
sudo apachectl -v

# checking detailed Apache version
sudo apachectl -V
Checking Apache version (simple and detailed information)
Checking Apache version (simple and detailed information)

2. Run the syntax check for Apache configuration files. The expected output should be Syntax OK or an error message when you have the wrong syntax.

sudo apachectl -t
Testing Apache syntax
Testing Apache syntax

3. Checking the list of enabled Apache virtual hosts. This will show you the port number and domain names of your virtual hosts.

sudo apachectl -S
Listing enabled Apache virtual hosts
Listing enabled Apache virtual hosts

4. Lastly, you can also verify the list-enabled modules on Apache using the command below.

sudo apachectl -M
Listing enabled Apache modules
Listing enabled Apache modules

Debugging Apache Web Server

When configuring Apache or adding a virtual host, you may get some errors in your journey. So, knowing how to debug the Apache web server is a critical aspect that you must understand.

1. Always run the following command whenever you make changes to Apache configuration files to ensure that you have proper syntax.

sudo apachectl configtest

2. If you can’t access Apache from outside the network, run the following command to ensure that the Apache is running.

sudo systemctl status apache2

3. And if Apache is running, but you still can’t access your web server, check the firewall status.

sudo ufw status

4. Lastly, if your websites get an error such as 503 Forbidden and 500 Internal Server Error, go check the log files of your Apache virtual host using the tail command like this:

sudo tail -f /var/log/apache2/{access,error}.log

Uninstalling Apache2 on Ubuntu

1. If you decide to Uninstall Apache from your Ubuntu server, run the following apt command.

sudo apt remove apache2 -y && sudo apt autoremove -y

2. In addition, you can also remove the Apache configuration directory /etc/apache2 using the command below.

sudo rm -rf /etc/apache2


Mission accomplished! You’ve followed all the steps and installed the Apache web server on the Ubuntu 24.04 system. Furthermore, you also have a solid understanding of how to manage Apache service, understanding of Apache configuration files and directories, and also learned six essential Apache utilities for ease of web server management.

You’re now ready to host more websites on your server. Moreover, take a look at some guides for integrating Apache with PHP or PHP-FPM, MySQL/MariaDB database server, and also implement basic security with fail2ban. These are great resources for hosting PHP web applications such as WordPress.

System administrator and devops enthusiast, leveraging over 10+ years of Linux expertise to optimize operations. Proficient in FreeBSD, VMWare, KVM, Proxmox, PfSense, Ansible, Docker, and Kubernetes.

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