Tag Archives: Apache

Building a Highly-Available Apache Cluster on CentOS 7

This article will walk through the steps required to build a highly-available Apache cluster on CentOS 7. In CentOS 7 (as in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7) the cluster stack has moved to Pacemaker/Corosync, with a new command line tool to manage the cluster (pcs, replacing commands such as ccs and clusvcadm in earlier releases).

The cluster will be a two node cluster comprising nodes centos05 and centos07, and iSCSI shared storage will be presented from node fedora01. There will be a 8GB LUN presented for shared storage, and a 1GB LUN for fencing purposes. I have covered setting up iSCSI storage with SCSI-3 persistent reservations in a previous article. There is no need to use CLVMD in this example as we will be utilising a simple failover filesystem instead.

The first step is to add appropriate entries to /etc/hosts on both nodes for all nodes, including the storage node, to safeguard against DNS failure:

Next, bring both cluster nodes fully up-to-date, and reboot them:

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Securing DNS and Web Servers

In this introductory article, I will present several methods for helping to secure DNS and Web Servers. I am using BIND 9.9.4 and Apache HTTPD 2.4.6 on CentOS 6.4. BIND and HTTPD are by far the most common DNS and Web Server platforms. I will show how to build the software from source, as well as perform an initial secure configuration. I will presume a minimal installation of CentOS 6.4. If you’re using another Linux or UNIX variant, you will need to adjust the procedures accordingly. This article presumes that the reader is already familiar with DNS and Web Servers, particularly BIND and HTTPD.

Fully hardening these services is a very complex subject and we only touch on the major aspects of configuration below.

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Running Puppet Master under Apache and Passenger – CentOS 6.4

I have been running my puppetmaster using the embedded WEBrick server for a while. I decided it was time to migrate to something a little more robust – namely Apache and Passenger. I loosely followed the documentation available on the Puppet site, although that covers Passenger 3.0.x and I’m using 4.0.x, and the supplied Apache configuration does not work. There were also a few other changes I had to make along the way to suit my configuration requirements. My puppetmaster is running CentOS 6.4.

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WordPress: Avoiding Infinite Recursion with mod_rewrite and mod_fastcgi

Whilst converting tokiwinter.com away from mod_php to mod_fastcgi/PHP-FPM, I experienced the following error:

Enabling LogLevel debug for the VirtualHost showed the following extra detail:

We can see that the rewrites required for WordPress in .htaccess are interfering with the correct operation of mod_fastcgi. The net result – HTTP 500 Internal Server Error for all our clients.

The fix is easy enough – add the following additional rewrite to .htaccess for the WordPress installation:

i.e. if the request URI is a mod_fastcgi request, do not apply any rewrites. My complete .htaccess file in my WordPress VirtualHost is now:

This works for me with the following VirtualHost configuration:

Your mileage may well vary.

How to Load Balance Tomcat with Apache HTTPD and mod_jk

In the following article, I’ll demonstrate how we can use Apache HTTPD to load balance across two Apache Tomcat instances. Whilst in this example the Apache HTTPD load balancer is a single point of failure, we could implement (although outside the scope of this article) a failover HTTPD instance clustered using one of the many available clustering stacks (RHCS, or something more lightweight like keepalived). Then, we’d have a highly-available load balancer.

There are a few ways we can use HTTPD to load balance, via the use of loadable modules. mod_proxy_http is the simplest, and can be used to load balance any service that “speaks” plain HTTP. mod_proxy_ajp is a simple AJP balancer module, with a slight performance increase of mod_proxy_http. However, mod_proxy_ajp is purported to be rather buggy when compared with other similar modules. Hence, we’ll use mod_jk. This is a very active module developed alongside Tomcat, and in many years of working with it I’ve never experienced a major bug or a configuration requirement it couldn’t handle.

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SELinux: Allowing HTTPD to Connect to PHP-FPM

When running PHP-FPM (PHP FastCGI Process Manager), it can be configured to listen on a UNIX socket, or a TCP port. When using the latter on an SELinux enabled system, you will receive HTTP 500 Internal Server Errors if SELinux is not configured correctly.

For example, on my system, I’m using the following directive (in my example.com VirtualHost):

However, the default value of the httpd_can_network_connect SELinux boolean is false, or off. Therefore, httpd is unable to connect to the PHP-FPM pool listening on

You will see AVC denial messages in /var/log/audit/audit.log such as:

To fix this issue, set the httpd_can_network_connect SELinux boolean to true, or on, remembering the -P option so that this change persists across system reboots.