To cut to the chase, I heartily recommend this book. Any serious web server admin should have a copy of this book — I’ve found it indispensable, and refer to it often. They’re not exaggerating when they call it “The Definitive Guide”
Billed as, “Vital information for Apache Programmers and administrators,” this book is definitely geared toward that audience — programmers and admins. That said, the first chapter, “Getting Started,” provides an excellent overview of basic web server concepts that most newbies could understand.
What I liked
I liked almost everything! I found the first half of the book (chapters 1-12) the most useful. These chapters covered just about everything you’d want to know about configuring and running apache. Beyond just the basics, the book covers in depth: virtual hosts, authentication, content description and modification, indexing, redirection, proxying, logging, security, and running a big web site. I came away with a much higher level of respect for Apache’s capabilities — I was really surprised how much I didn’t know about Apache, and how much this book could tell me.
Additionally, there was a very interesting section on writing modules for Apache which, though a little beyond my expertise, gave me a better understanding of Apache’s inner workings.
My biggest disappointment with the book was that it dealt so little with PHP, which only got 6 pages. I would have been less disappointed if they hadn’t 50-plus pages to CGI/Perl and 17 pages to Java. Additionally, their XML section dealt almost entirely with Perl and Java, ignoring PHP. Granted, this isn’t a PHP-specific book, but (considering I got the book via a PHP user group) I hoped for equal coverage.
Apache: The Definitive Guide, 3rd Edition
Author: Ben Laurie, Peter Laurie
Published: December 2002
Rating: * * * * *