How to Change Apache HTTP and HTTPS Ports in Linux (Ubuntu/CentOS)

How to Change Apache HTTP and HTTPS Ports in Linux (Ubuntu_CentOS)

Apache has established itself as a reliable and robust solution. It’s one of the best web servers available, powering a significant portion of the internet. This tutorial will guide you through the process of changing the HTTP and HTTPS ports for Apache on Linux distributions, specifically Ubuntu and CentOS.

Why would you want to change these ports? There could be several reasons. Perhaps you’re running multiple web servers on a single machine, like Nginx or LiteSpeed, and you need to avoid port conflicts. Or maybe you’re enhancing your server’s security by using non-standard ports to reduce the risk of automated attacks.

No matter your reasons, this guide will provide a step-by-step process to help you achieve your goal. We’ll cover both Ubuntu and CentOS, as the process differs slightly between these two popular Linux distributions.

Prerequisites

Before we begin, ensure that you have the following:

  • A Linux server running Ubuntu or CentOS. This could be a dedicated server, a VPS server, or even a cloud hosting or shared hosting environment, as long as you have root access or sufficient privileges.
  • Apache installed and running on your server.
  • Access to a terminal or command line interface, and basic knowledge of Linux commands.

Changing Apache HTTP/HTTPS Ports in Ubuntu

Here are the steps to change the Apache HTTP and HTTPS ports in Ubuntu:

Step 1: Open the Apache Configuration File

The first step is to open the Apache configuration file. In Ubuntu, this file is typically located at /etc/apache2/ports.conf. Use the nano text editor (or your preferred text editor) to open this file:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf

Step 2: Modify the HTTP and HTTPS Ports

In the ports.conf file, you’ll see lines that specify the ports Apache listens on. They usually look like this:

Listen 80
Listen 443

Change the numbers 80 and 443 to your desired HTTP and HTTPS ports, respectively. For example, if you want to change the HTTP port to 8080 and the HTTPS port to 8443, the lines should look like this:

Listen 8080
Listen 8443

Save and close the file.

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Step 3: Update the Virtual Host Files

Next, you need to update the virtual host files for any websites hosted on your server.

These files are usually located in the /etc/apache2/sites-available/ directory. Each file represents a different website, and they contain directives that apply only to the specific website. Open each file with the nano text editor:

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/your_website.conf

In each file, you’ll see a block that looks something like this:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAdmin webmaster@localhost
    DocumentRoot /var/www/html
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

The number after the colon in the tag is the port number. Change it to the new HTTP port you specified in the ports.conf file. If there’s a block for HTTPS (port 443), change that to the new HTTPS port as well.

Save and close each file when you’re done.

Step 4: Restart Apache

After making these changes, you need to restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart apache2

You can check the status of the Apache service with:

sudo systemctl status apache2

If everything is set up correctly, Apache should restart without any errors.

Changing Apache HTTP/HTTPS Ports in CentOS

The process for CentOS is similar to Ubuntu, but there are some differences in file locations and commands. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Open the Apache Configuration File

In CentOS, the main Apache configuration file is located at /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. Open this file with the nano text editor:

sudo nano /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf

Step 2: Modify the HTTP and HTTPS Ports

In the httpd.conf file, look for lines that specify the Listen directive. These lines tell Apache to listen on the specified ports. Change the numbers to your desired HTTP and HTTPS ports, just like in Ubuntu.

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Save and close the file.

Step 3: Update the Virtual Host Files

In CentOS, the virtual host files are usually located in the /etc/httpd/conf.d/ directory. Each file represents a different website. Open each file and change the port numbers in the blocks, just like in Ubuntu.

Step 4: Restart Apache

Finally, restart Apache for the changes to take effect:

sudo systemctl restart httpd

You can check the status of the Apache service with:

sudo systemctl status httpd

If everything is set up correctly, Apache should restart without any errors.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What happens if I forget to update my firewall rules after changing the Apache ports?

    If you forget to update your firewall rules after changing the Apache ports, your server may not respond to HTTP or HTTPS requests on the new ports. This is because the firewall may still be blocking incoming connections on these ports. To fix this, you need to update your firewall rules to allow traffic on the new ports.

  2. Can I use any number for the HTTP and HTTPS ports?

    You can use any number between 1024 and 65535 for the HTTP and HTTPS ports, as long as they are not being used by another service. Ports below 1024 are reserved for well-known services and require root privileges to bind to.

  3. Can I use different ports for different websites on the same server?

    Yes, you can use different ports for different websites on the same server. This is done by specifying different ports in the blocks in the virtual host files for each website. However, remember that if you use non-standard ports, visitors will have to append the port number to the URL in their web browser.

  4. What should I do if Apache fails to restart after changing the ports?

    If Apache fails to restart after changing the ports, check the Apache error logs for any error messages. The error logs are usually located at /var/log/apache2/error.log in Ubuntu and /var/log/httpd/error_log in CentOS. The error messages can give you clues about what went wrong.

  5. Is it necessary to change the Apache ports for security reasons?

    Changing the Apache ports can enhance security by reducing the risk of automated attacks that target the default HTTP and HTTPS ports. However, it’s not a comprehensive security solution. You should still implement other security measures, such as keeping your server software up-to-date, using strong passwords, and configuring a firewall.

Commands Mentioned

  • sudo nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf – Opens the Apache ports configuration file in Ubuntu.
  • sudo systemctl restart apache2 – Restarts the Apache service in Ubuntu.
  • sudo systemctl status apache2 – Checks the status of the Apache service in Ubuntu.
  • sudo nano /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf – Opens the Apache configuration file in CentOS.
  • sudo systemctl restart httpd – Restarts the Apache service in CentOS.
  • sudo systemctl status httpd – Checks the status of the Apache service in CentOS.

Conclusion

Changing the HTTP and HTTPS ports in Apache is a common task for web server administrators. Whether you’re running a single website or managing multiple sites on a single server, understanding how to adjust these settings is crucial. This guide has provided you with step-by-step instructions on how to change these ports on both Ubuntu and CentOS systems.

Remember, while changing these ports can help avoid conflicts with other services and potentially increase security, it’s not a standalone solution for securing your server. Always ensure you’re following best practices for server security, including regular updates, strong authentication measures, and appropriate firewall configurations.

By following this guide, you’ve taken another step in enhancing your skills as a web server administrator. Keep exploring, keep learning, and continue to make the most out of your Apache web server setup.

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