Ubuntu Apache2 – run VHOST as different user

There are several reasons why you might want to run different Apache Virtual Hosts as separate users from the Apache user account. My most frequent usage is on my development machine to allow running from my home directory.

The most commonly recommended option for this purpose is MPM-ITK (a quick hack would be to add yourself to the www-data group using “sudo usermod -a -G www-data USERNAME”)

sudo apt-get install apache2-mpm-itk
sudo a2enmod mpm_itk

Modify the virtual host config file in /etc/apache2/sites-available

<Virtualhost *:80>
ServerAdmin webmaster@domain.com
<ifmodule mpm_itk_module>
DocumentRoot /home/USERNAME/www/docs
ErrorLog /home/USERNAME/www/logs/error.log
CustomLog /home/USERNAME/www/logs/access.log combined


If you doing this on a machine that already had a default install where MPM-PREFORK is enabled you have to disable

sudo a2dismod mpm_prefork
sudo a2enmod mpm_itk

Webserver and database combination on Raspberry Pi

My normal combination on the big-server side would be Apache + MySQL (or PostgreSQL), but on the RPi this seems to be absolute overkill. For data-logging operations I would not use the local system anyway (looking at MQTT as well as Remote MongoDB datastore via REST Webservices).

After some poking around and reading up on the options I decided to go for the following combo: LightHTTPD + SQLite. Both are lightweight replacement of their fully-featured big-server counterparts (Apache HTTP & MySQL) and have very familiar configurations. There would be other options that have even less resource usage, but I really don’t have the time to start from scratch somewhere.

Another reason to go for this combination is that these are very well supported systems with regular security audits. Even though I am not planning to use my RPi’s for anything mission-critical this is always worth a consideration as you don’t need to unnecessarily introduce vulnerabilities to your network.

Install & configure LightHTTPD

sudo apt-get install lighttpd php5 php5-cgi php5-sqlite
sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi
sudo lighty-enable-mod fastcgi-php

Further config changes can be also made via the config file.
sudo vim /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
sudo service lighttpd force-reload

Install & configure SQLite

sudo apt-get install sqlite3
sqlite3 /home/username/database_name.db

All other commands are standard SQL from the ‘sqlite>’ command prompt or via SQL scripts like
sqlite3 /home/username/database_name.db < sql_script.sql

Access Databases from the webserver (using PHP)

< ?php $db = new SQLite3('mysqlitedb.db'); $results = $db->query('SELECT bar FROM foo');
while ($row = $results->fetchArray()) {

See PHP: SQLite3::query – Manual for more details.