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Host Multiple Websites on a Single Server with Apache on Ubuntu 18.04

Hitesh Jethva
by Atlantic.Net (12posts) under VPS Hosting
0 Comments

Apache is free, open-source, and the most widely used web server around the world. It is not only known for its power, but also its multiple components with specific functions. Apache Virtual Host is one such component; it allows us to host multiple websites on a single server.

If you have one big server with extensive resources like lots of HDD space, RAM, and CPU power, then you can host multiple websites using virtual hosting. You can host an unlimited number of websites on your Apache webserver. Make sure your server has enough resources to handle the traffic and disc space requirements. One of the best examples is a web hosting provider that uses virtual hosting to host hundreds and thousands of websites on a single server.

There are three ways to host multiple websites on a single server:

  1. Name-based Virtual Hosting.
  2. IP-based Virtual Hosting.
  3. Port-based Virtual Hosting.

In this tutorial, we will explain the process for hosting two websites on a single server in three different ways.

Prerequisites

  • A fresh Ubuntu 18.04 VPS on the Atlantic.Net Cloud Platform.
  • Two valid domain names or subdomain names pointed to your VPS IP address. In this tutorial, we will use site1.example.com and site2.example.com as subdomains.
  • Two static IP addresses, 192.168.0.101 and 192.168.0.102, configured on your VPS.

Create an Atlantic.Net Cloud Server

First, log in to your Atlantic.Net Cloud Server. Create a new server, choosing Ubuntu 18.04 as the operating system with at least 2GB RAM. Connect to your Cloud Server via SSH and log in using the credentials highlighted at the top of the page.

Once you are logged into your Ubuntu 18.04 server, run the following command to update your base system with the latest available packages.

apt-get update -y

Install Apache Web Server

First, install the Apache web server by running the following command:

apt-get install apache2 -y

Once the installation is completed, start the Apache service with the following command:

systemctl start apache2

Name-Based Virtual Hosting

Name-based virtual hosting is the most commonly used method to host multiple websites on the same IP address and Port.  You will need valid domain names to host multiple websites using name-based virtual hosting.

In this section, we will use site1.example.com and site2.example.com to host two websites on a single server.

Create a Directory Structure

First, create a document root directory for both websites:

mkdir /var/www/html/site1.example.com
mkdir /var/www/html/site2.example.com

Next, create an index.html page for both websites.

First, create an index.html page for site1.example.com:

nano /var/www/html/site1.example.com/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>site1.example.com</title>
<h1>Welcome to site1.example.com Website</h1>
<p>This is my first website hosted with name-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Next, create an index.html page for site2.example.com:

nano /var/www/html/site2.example.com/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>site2.example.com</title>
<h1>Welcome to site2.example.com Website</h1>
<p>This is my second website hosted with name-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Next, change the ownership of site1.example.com and site2.example.com directory to www-data:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/site1.example.com
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/site2.example.com

Create a Virtual Host Configuration File

Next, you will need to create an Apache virtual host configuration file to serve both websites.

First, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for site1.example.com:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/site1.example.com.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName site1.example.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/site1.example.com
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/site1.example.com_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/site1.example.com_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file.

Next, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for site2.example.com:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/site2.example.com.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName site2.example.com
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/site2.example.com
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/site2.example.com_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/site2.example.com_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file. Then, enable the virtual host configuration file with the following commands:

a2ensite site1.example.com
a2ensite site2.example.com

Next, restart the Apache webserver to apply the configuration changes:

systemctl restart apache2

Test Both Websites

At this point, you have configured the Apache webserver to serve two websites.

Now, open your web browser and type the URL http://site1.example.com. You should see your first website in the following screen:

Next, open your web browser and type the URL http://site2.example.com. You should see your second website in the following screen:

IP-Based Virtual Hosting

IP-based virtual hosting is a method to serve different websites based on IP address. You can assign a separate IP address for each website on a single server.

In this section, we will use the IP addresses 192.168.0.101 and 192.168.0.102 to host two websites on a single server.

Create a Directory Structure

First, create a document root directory for both websites:

mkdir /var/www/html/192.168.0.101
mkdir /var/www/html/192.168.0.102

Next, create an index.html page for both websites.

First, create an index.html page for the website hosted on 192.168.0.101:

nano /var/www/html/192.168.0.101/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>192.168.0.101</title>
<h1>Welcome to 192.168.0.101 Website</h1>
<p>This is my first website hosted with IP-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Save and close the file.

Next, create an index.html page for the website hosted on 192.168.0.102:

nano /var/www/html/192.168.0.102/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>192.168.0.102</title>
<h1>Welcome to 192.168.0.102 Website</h1>
<p>This is my first website hosted with IP-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Save and close the file.

Next, change the ownership of both websites to www-data:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/192.168.0.101
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/192.168.0.102

Create a Virtual Host Configuration File

Next, you will need to create an Apache virtual host configuration file to serve both websites.

First, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for the website hosted on 192.168.0.101:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/192.168.0.101.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName  192.168.0.101
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/192.168.0.101
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/192.168.0.101_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/192.168.0.101_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file.

Next, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for the website hosted on 192.168.0.102:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/192.168.0.102.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost *:80>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName  192.168.0.102
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/192.168.0.102
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/192.168.0.102_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/192.168.0.102_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file. Then enable the virtual host with the following command:

a2ensite 192.168.0.101
a2ensite 192.168.0.102

Finally, restart the Apache webserver to apply the changes:

systemctl restart apache2

Test Both Websites

At this point, you have configured Apache webserver to serve two websites.

Now, open your web browser and type the URL http://192.168.0.101. You should see your first website in the following screen:

Next, open your web browser and type the URL http://192.168.0.102. You should see your second website in the following screen:

Port-Based Virtual Hosting

Port-based virtual hosting is a method to serve different websites based on the port number. You can assign a separate port number for each website on a single server with a single IP address.

In this section, we will use the ports numbered 8080 and 8081 to host two websites on a single server with IP address 192.168.0.101.

Configure Apache to Listen on Port 8080 and 8081

First, you will need to configure the Apache webserver to listen on port 8080 and 8081. You can do it by editing the file /etc/apache2/ports.conf:

nano /etc/apache2/ports.conf

Add the following lines exact below the line Listen 80:

Listen 8080
Listen 8081

Save and close the file when you are finished.

Create a Directory Structure

First, create a document root directory for both websites:

mkdir /var/www/html/8080
mkdir /var/www/html/8081

Next, create an index.html page for both websites.

First, create an index.html page for the website hosted on port 8080:

nano /var/www/html/8080/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>8080</title>
<h1>Welcome to 8080 Website</h1>
<p>This is my first website hosted with Port-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Save and close the file.

Next, create an index.html page for the website hosted on port 8081:

nano /var/www/html/8081/index.html

Add the following lines:

<html>
<title>8081</title>
<h1>Welcome to 8081 Website</h1>
<p>This is my first website hosted with Port-based virtual hosting</p>
</html>

Save and close the file.

Next, change the ownership of both website to www-data:

chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/8080
chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/html/8081

Create a Virtual Host Configuration File

Next, you will need to create an Apache virtual host configuration file to serve both websites.

First, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for the website hosted on port 8080:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/8080.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost 192.168.0.101:8080>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName  192.168.0.101
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/8080
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/8080_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/8080_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file.

Next, create an Apache virtual host configuration file for the website hosted on port 8081:

nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/8081.conf

Add the following lines:

<VirtualHost 192.168.0.101:8081>
ServerAdmin [email protected]
ServerName  192.168.0.101
DocumentRoot /var/www/html/8081
DirectoryIndex index.html
ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/8081_error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/8081_access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

Save and close the file. Then, enable the virtual host with the following command:

a2ensite 8080
a2ensite 8081

Finally, restart the Apache webserver to apply the changes:

systemctl restart apache2

Test Both Websites

At this point, you have configured Apache webserver to serve two websites.

Now, open your web browser and type the URL http://192.168.0.101:8080. You should see your first website per the following screen:

Next, open your web browser and type the URL http://192.168.0.101:8081. You should see your second website per the following screen:

Conclusion

Congratulations! You have successfully hosted two websites on a single server three different ways. You can now easily host more websites with the Apache virtual hosting method. If you’re ready to get started configuring multiple websites on an Apache VPS, check out Atlantic.Net’s VPS Hosting options.

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