Creating Virtual Host In Apache

Virtual hosts on Apache


Virtual hosting is a method for hosting multiple domain names (with separate handling of each name) on a single server (or pool of servers). This allows one server to share its resources, such as memory and processor cycles, without requiring all services provided to use the same host name.You can read more here
Wikipedia - Virtual Host

If you have purchase vps than you can use virtual host to host multiple site from the single vps ( or form single droplet if you use digitalocean). Most of vps provider gives linux based os because they are free. I will explain how to create and setup virtual host on digitalocean lamp stack with ubuntu 16.04


Ubuntu 16.04 with Apache

Install Apache

If you don't have already installed then run this commands to install the apache on you os

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apache2

Setup folders for site to be hosted

Site that are hosted has to be inside the /var/www folder

You can give any name to site folder. But it is good to give name as the site like or just mchampaneri or mysite ( because it is my personal blogging web site )

Create folder for each site you want to host like 
site 1: /var/www/site1 ( site data ) 
          /var/www/site1/public ( site entry where index file has to be stored )
site 2: /var/www/site2

You folder tree should look like this
  • var 
    • www
      • site1
        • public
        • other folders
      • site2
        • public
        • other folders
      • other site folders

making public folder inside site folder is good thing so you can store private data of site ( like images uploaded by the user as private ).You have to do is only give read access to the public while other folder than public folder should not be accessed by the www-data.

Changing the folder permission

One thing the owner of the folder is by default who creates it. So if you check the owner of the folder you created inside the www folder will be the user in which you logged at time of creating folder.
If you want to make the folder modifiable by www-data you have to change owner www-data use -R with command to apply it to the every folder inside it. 

sudo chown -R www-data /var/www/site1/public
sudo chown -R www-data /var/www/site2/public

Entry point for the site will be 

Creating the Virtual Host .conf files

Next is creating the virtual host for both sites
run this command 

sudo cp /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/site1.conf

if will create a copy of default " 000-default.conf" file  named as "sit1.conf" . 000-default is default .conf file that ships with the os. Now open "site.conf" with vim. I assume that you have knowlade how to use vim in linux for file editing. So what you will get is like this

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

Change the things in upper code

First change the ServerAdmin

DocumentRoot is the  folder of entry for you site.  ( In easy manner the folder that contains the index file of your site )
For us the DocumentRoot of our site1 is "/var/www/site1/public"
DocumentRoot /var/www/site1/public

If you have purchased custom domain for the site just add the ServerName 

Finally you site1.conf should looklike this

<VirtualHost *:80>

    // ServerAlias the alternate name for site like and points to same page
    // If you not add as alias you will not be able to access site with g
    // It will only displayed with url

    DocumentRoot /var/www/
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

Do the same thing for site2 as well just replacing information for site2.

You can host many site from single vps having different domain names with virtual hosting.

Enable the virtual hosts

After Creating the conf Virtual host file you have to enabled.
sudo a2ensite site1.conf

By running upper command you are enable the virtual host defined in file sit1.conf 
a2ensite = apache + enable  + site

Next step is edit your host file. Host file can be found at /etc/hosts localhost

Replace with your vps ip address

The last step is check you site in browser