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Module Definitions and Groupings - Administration

The best part about Apache is that you can custom build it to include exactly what you need. The defaultconfiguration is a good one, but its far-too-general nature is, by definition, not the best choice for the majority of installations. With a host of plug-in modules available for free over the Internet, customizing Apache to its fullest extent is not only fast and easy, but well worth the time spent.

  1. How To Build the Apache of Your Dreams
  2. Building Apache
  3. Module Definitions and Groupings
  4. Diversion: Shared Modules (mod_so)
  5. Diversion: Layouts
  6. Building Apache, Really
  7. Last Thoughts
  8. References
By: Darren Chamberlain
Rating: starstarstarstarstar / 3
September 19, 2000

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Modules can be grouped into a few major groups: Access Control, Authentication, and Authorization; Header-generating and -controlling modules; Content generating (or filtering) modules; and Utility modules. The descriptions come from the Apache Documentation, but the groups are mine (you'll probably never see anything like this in the official docs, but I find it easier to categorize them this way). Items in bold are enabled by default.

Content Generating and Related Modules

  • mod_autoindex provides for automatic directory indexing.
  • mod_actions lets you run CGI scripts whenever a file of a certain type is requested. This makes it much easier to execute scripts that process files.
  • mod_dir provides for "trailing slash" redirects and serving directory index files.
  • mod_cgi provides for execution of CGI scripts.
  • mod_imap provides for .map files, replacing the functionality of the imagemap CGI program.
  • mod_include provides for server-parsed html documents.
  • mod_isapi provides support for ISAPI Extensions when running under Microsoft Windows.
  • mod_mime provides for determining the types of files from the filename.
  • mod_mime_magic attempts to determine the MIME type of a file by looking at a few bytes of its contents, the same way the Unix file(1) command works.
  • mod_mmap_static provides mmap()ing of a statically configured list of frequently requested but not changed files.
  • mod_speling [sic] attempts to correct misspellings of URLs that users might have entered, by ignoring capitalization and by allowing up to one misspelling.
  • mod_status allows a server administrator to find out how well their server is performing.
  • mod_userdir provides for user-specific directories, in the form http://www.server.com/~user/.

Access Control, Authentication, and Authorization Modules

  • mod_access provides access control based on client hostname or IP address.
  • mod_auth provides for user authentication using textual files.
  • mod_auth_anon allows "anonymous" user access to authenticated areas.
  • mod_auth_db provides for user authentication using Berkeley DB files.
  • mod_auth_dbm provides for user authentication using DBM files.
  • mod_digest provides for user authentication using MD5 Digest Authentication. It is replaced by mod_auth_digest.
  • mod_auth_digest provides for user authentication using MD5 Digest Authentication. It is an updated, though untested, version of mod_digest, with many more options.

Utility Modules

  • mod_alias provides for mapping different parts of the host filesystem in the the document tree, and for URL redirection.
  • mod_info provides a comprehensive overview of the server configuration including all installed modules and directives in the configuration files.
  • mod_log_config provides for logging of the requests made to the server, using the Common Log Format or a user-specified format.
  • mod_proxy provides for an HTTP 1.0 caching proxy server.
  • mod_rewrite provides a rule-based rewriting engine to rewrite requested URLs on the fly.
  • mod_so provides for loading of executable code and modules into the server at start-up or restart time. On Unix, the loaded code typically comes from shared object files (usually with .so extension), whilst on Windows this module loads DLL files.
  • mod_vhost_alias provides support for dynamically configured mass virtual hosting.

Header Generating Modules and Header Control

  • mod_asis provides for .asis files. .asis files have headers prepended to the content and are sent, well, as is.
  • mod_cern_meta provides for CERN httpd metafile semantics
  • mod_env provides for passing environment variables to CGI/SSI scripts.
  • mod_expires provides for the generation of Expires headers according to user-specified criteria.
  • mod_headers allows for the customization of HTTP response headers. Headers can be merged, replaced or removed.
  • mod_negotiation provides for content negotiation based on, for example, language preference or browser type.
  • mod_setenvif provides for the ability to set environment variables based upon attributes of the request.
  • mod_unique_id provides a magic token for each request which is guaranteed to be unique across "all" requests under very specific conditions.
  • mod_usertrack generates a 'clickstream' log of user activity on a site using cookies.

>>> More Site Administration Articles          >>> More By Darren Chamberlain

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