Using Apache with Microsoft Windows
This document explains how to install, configure and run
Apache 2.0 under Microsoft Windows. If you find any bugs, or
wish to contribute in other ways, please use our bug reporting
This document assumes that you are installing a binary
distribution of Apache. If you want to compile Apache yourself
(possibly to help with development or tracking down bugs),
see Compiling Apache for Microsoft
Because of the current versioning policies on Microsoft
Windows operating system families, this document assumes the
- Windows NT: This means all versions of
Windows that are based on the Windows NT kernel. Includes Windows
NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows .Net Server 2003.
- Windows 9x: This means older,
consumer-oriented versions of Windows. Includes Windows 95 (also
OSR2), Windows 98 and Windows ME.
The primary Windows platform for running Apache 2.0 is Windows
NT. The binary installer only works with the x86 family of
processors, such as Intel and AMD processors. Running Apache on
Windows 9x is not thoroughly tested, and it is never recommended on
On all operating systems, TCP/IP networking must be installed
and working. If running on Windows 95, the Winsock 2 upgrade must
be installed. Winsock 2 for Windows 95 can be downloaded from here.
On Windows NT 4.0, installing Service Pack 6 is strongly
recommended, as Service Pack 4 created known issues with TCP/IP
and Winsock integrity that were resolved in later Service Packs.
Information on the latest versions of Apache can be found on the
web site of the Apache web server at
There you will find the current release, as well as more recent alpha
or beta test versions, and a list of HTTP and FTP mirrors from which
you can download the Apache web server. Please use a mirror near to
you for a fast and reliable download.
For Windows installations you should download the version of
Apache for Windows with the
.msi extension. This is a
single Microsoft Installer file, which contains a ready-to-run
version of Apache. There is a separate
which contains only the source code. You can compile Apache
yourself with the Microsoft Visual C++ (Visual Studio) tools.
You need Microsoft Installer 1.2 or above for the installation
to work. On Windows 9x you can update your Microsoft Installer to
version 2.0 here
and on Windows NT 4.0 and 2000 the version 2.0 update can be found
Windows XP does not need this update.
Note that you cannot install two versions of Apache 2.0 on the
same computer with the binary installer. You can, however, install
a version of the 1.3 series and a version of the
2.0 series on the same computer without problems. If you need to
have two different 2.0 versions on the same computer, you have to
compile and install Apache from the
Run the Apache
.msi file you downloaded above. The
installation will ask you for these things:
Network Domain. Enter the DNS domain in which
your server is or will be registered in. For example, if your
server's full DNS name is
server.mydomain.net, you would
Server Name. Your server's full DNS name.
From the example above, you would type
Administrator's Email Address. Enter the
server administrator's or webmaster's email address here. This
address will be displayed along with error messages to the client
For whom to install Apache Select
All Users, on Port 80, as a Service - Recommended if you'd
like your new Apache to listen at port 80 for incoming traffic.
It will run as a service (that is, Apache will run even if no one
is logged in on the server at the moment) Select
the Current User, on Port 8080, when started Manually if
you'd like to install Apache for your personal experimenting or
if you already have another WWW server running on port 80.
The installation type. Select
for everything except the source code and libraries for module
Custom you can specify what to
install. A full install will require about 13 megabytes of free
disk space. This does not include the size of your web
Where to install. The default path is
C:\Program Files\Apache Group under which a directory
Apache2 will be created by default.
During the installation, Apache will configure the files in the
conf subdirectory to reflect the chosen installation
directory. However, if any of the configuration files in this
directory already exist, they will not be overwritten. Instead, the
new copy of the corresponding file will be left with the extension
.default. So, for example, if
already exists, it will be renamed as
After the installation you should manually check to see what new
settings are in the
.default file, and if necessary,
update your existing configuration file.
Also, if you already have a file called
it will not be overwritten (and no
will be installed either). This means it should be safe to install
Apache over an existing installation, although you would have to
stop the existing running server before doing the installation, and
then start the new one after the installation is finished.
After installing Apache, you must edit the configuration files
conf subdirectory as required. These files
will be configured during the installation so that Apache is ready
to be run from the directory it was installed into, with the
documents server from the subdirectory
are lots of other options which you should set before you really
start using Apache. However, to get started quickly, the files
should work as installed.
Apache is configured by the files in the
subdirectory. These are the same files used to configure the Unix
version, but there are a few different directives for Apache on
Windows. See the directive index
for all the available directives.
The main differences in Apache for Windows are:
Because Apache for Windows is multithreaded, it does not
use a separate process for each request, as Apache does on Unix.
Instead there are usually only two Apache processes running: a
parent process, and a child which handles the requests. Within
the child process each request is handled by a separate thread.
The process management directives are also different:
Like the Unix directive, this controls how many requests a single
child process will serve before exiting. However, unlike on Unix,
a single process serves all the requests at once, not just one.
If this is set, it is recommended that a very high number is
used. The recommended default,
causes the child process to never exit.
Warning: The server configuration
file is reread when a new child process is started. If you have
httpd.conf, the new child may not start or
you may receive unexpected results.
This directive is new. It tells the server how many threads it
should use. This is the maximum number of connections the server
can handle at once, so be sure to set this number high enough for
your site if you get a lot of hits. The recommended default is
The directives that accept filenames as arguments must use
Windows filenames instead of Unix ones. However, because Apache
uses Unix-style names internally, you must use forward slashes,
not backslashes. Drive letters can be used; if omitted, the drive
with the Apache executable will be assumed.
Apache for Windows contains the ability to load modules at
runtime, without recompiling the server. If Apache is compiled
normally, it will install a number of optional modules in the
\Apache2\modules directory. To activate these or
other modules, the new
directive must be used. For example, to activate the status
module, use the following (in addition to the status-activating
LoadModule status_module modules/mod_status.so
Information on creating
loadable modules is also available.
Apache can also load ISAPI (Internet Server Application
Programming Interface) extensions (i.e. internet server
applications), such as those used by Microsoft IIS and other
Windows servers. More information
is available. Note that Apache cannot load
When running CGI scripts, the method Apache uses to find
the interpreter for the script is configurable using the
Since it is often difficult to manage files with names
.htaccess in Windows, you may find it useful to
change the name of this per-directory configuration file using
Any errors during Apache startup are logged into the
Windows event log when running on Windows NT. This mechanism
acts as a backup for those situations where Apache cannot even
access the normally used
error.log file. You can
view the Windows event log by using the Event Viewer application
on Windows NT 4.0, and the Event Viewer MMC snap-in on newer
versions of Windows.
Note that there is no startup error logging on
Windows 9x because no Windows event log exists on those operating
Apache can be run as a service on Windows NT. There is some
highly experimental support for similar behavior on Windows 9x.
You can install Apache as a service automatically during the
installation. If you chose to install for all users, the
installation will create an Apache service for you. If you specify
to install for yourself only, you can manually register Apache as a
service after the installation. You have to be a member of the
Administrators group for the service installation to succeed.
Apache comes with a utility called the Apache Service Monitor.
With it you can see and manage the state of all installed Apache
services on any machine on your network. To be able to manage an
Apache service with the monitor, you have to first install the
service (either automatically via the installation or manually).
You can install Apache as a Windows NT service as follows from
the command prompt at the Apache
If you need to specify the name of the service you want to
install, use the following command. You have to do this if you
have several different service installations of Apache on your
apache -k install -n "MyServiceName"
If you need to have specifically named configuration files for
different services, you must use this:
apache -k install -n "MyServiceName" -f "c:\files\my.conf"
If you use the first command without any special parameters except
-k install, the service will be called
and the configuration will be assumed to be
Removing an Apache service is easy. Just use:
The specific Apache service to be uninstalled can be specified by using:
apache -k uninstall -n "MyServiceName"
Normal starting, restarting and shutting down of an Apache
service is usually done via the Apache Service Monitor, by using
NET START Apache2 and
Apache2 or via normal Windows service management. Before
starting Apache as a service by any means, you should test the
service's configuration file by using:
apache -n "MyServiceName" -t
You can control an Apache service by its command line switches,
too. To start an installed Apache service you'll use this:
To stop an Apache service via the command line switches, use
You can also restart a running service and force it to reread
its configuration file by using:
By default, all Apache services are registered to run as the
system user (the
LocalSystem account). The
LocalSystem account has no privileges to your network
via any Windows-secured mechanism, including the file system, named
pipes, DCOM, or secure RPC. It has, however, wide privileges locally.
Never grant any network privileges to
LocalSystem account! If you need Apache to be able
to access network resources, create a separate account for Apache as
You may want to create a separate account for running Apache
service(s). Especially, if you have to access network resources
via Apache, this is strongly recommended.
- Create a normal domain user account, and be sure to
memorize its password.
- Grant the newly-created user a privilege of
as a service and
Act as part of the operating
system. On Windows NT 4.0 these privileges are granted via
User Manager for Domains, but on Windows 2000 and XP you probably
want to use Group Policy for propagating these settings. You can
also manually set these via the Local Security Policy MMC snap-in.
- Confirm that the created account is a member of the Users
- Grant the account read and execute (RX) rights to all document
and script folders (
- Grant the account change (RWXD) rights to the
- Grant the account read and execute (RX) rights to the
Apache.exe binary executable.
It is usually a good practice to grant the user the Apache
service runs as read and execute (RX) access to the whole Apache2
directory, except the
logs subdirectory, where the
user has to have at least change (RWXD) rights.
If you allow the account to log in as a user and as a service,
then you can log on with that account and test that the account has the
privileges to execute the scripts, read the web pages, and that
you can start Apache in a console window. If this works, and you
have followed the steps above, Apache should execute as a service
with no problems.
Error code 2186 is a good indication that
you need to review the "Log On As" configuration for the service,
since Apache cannot access a required network resource. Also, pay
close attention to the privileges of the user Apache is
configured to run as.
When starting Apache as a service you may encounter an error
message from the Windows Service Control Manager. For example,
if you try to start Apache by using the Services applet in the
Windows Control Panel, you may get the following message:
Could not start the Apache2 service on \\COMPUTER
Error 1067; The process terminated unexpectedly.
You will get this generic error if there is any problem with
starting the Apache service. In order to see what is really causing
the problem you should follow the instructions for Running Apache
for Windows from the Command Prompt.
There is some support for Apache on Windows 9x to behave in a
similar manner as a service on Windows NT. It is highly
experimental. It is not of production-class reliability,
and its future is not guaranteed. It can be mostly regarded as
a risky thing to play with - proceed with caution!
There are some differences between the two kinds of services
you should be aware of:
Apache will attempt to start and if successful it will run
in the background. If you run the command
apache -n "MyServiceName" -k start
via a shortcut on your desktop, for example, then if the
service starts successfully, a console window will flash up but
it immediately disappears. If Apache detects any errors on startup
such as incorrect entries in the httpd.conf configuration file,
the console window will remain visible. This will display an error
message which will be useful in tracking down the cause of the
Windows 9x does not support
NET START or
NET STOP commands. You must control the Apache
service on the command prompt via the
Apache and Windows 9x offer no support for running Apache
as a specific user with network privileges. In fact, Windows 9x
offers no security on the local machine, either. This is the
simple reason because of which the Apache Software Foundation
never endorses use of a Windows 9x -based system as a public
Apache server. The primitive support for Windows 9x exists only
to assist the user in developing web content and learning the
Apache server, and perhaps as an intranet server on a secured,
Once you have confirmed that Apache runs correctly as a
console application you can install, control and uninstall the
pseudo-service with the same commands as on Windows NT. You can
also use the Apache Service Monitor to manage Windows 9x
Running Apache as a service is usually the recommended way to
use it, but it is sometimes easier to work from the command line
(on Windows 9x running Apache from the command line is the
recommended way due to the lack of reliable service support.)
To run Apache from the command line as a console application,
use the following command:
Apache will execute, and will remain running until it is stopped
by pressing Control-C.
You can also run Apache via the shortcut Start Apache in Console
Start Menu --> Programs --> Apache HTTP Server
2.0.xx --> Control Apache Server during the installation.
This will open a console window and start Apache inside it. If you
don't have Apache installed as a service, the window will remain
visible until you stop Apache by pressing Control-C in the console
window where Apache is running in. The server will exit in a few
seconds. However, if you do have Apache installed as a service, the
shortcut starts the service. If the Apache service is running
already, the shortcut doesn't do anything.
You can tell a running Apache to stop by opening another console
window and entering:
This should be preferred over pressing Control-C because this
lets Apache end any current operations and clean up gracefully.
You can also tell Apache to restart. This forces it to reread
the configuration file. Any operations in progress are allowed to
complete without interruption. To restart Apache, use:
Note for people familiar with the Unix version of Apache:
these commands provide a Windows equivalent to
kill -USR1 pid. The
command line option used,
-k, was chosen as a reminder
kill command used on Unix.
If the Apache console window closes immediately or unexpectedly
after startup, open the Command Prompt from the Start Menu -->
Programs. Change to the folder to which you installed Apache, type
apache, and read the error message. Then
change to the logs folder, and review the
file for configuration mistakes. If you accepted the defaults when
you installed Apache, the commands would be:
cd "\Program Files\Apache Group\Apache2\bin"
Then wait for Apache to stop, or press Control-C. Then enter the
more < error.log
When working with Apache it is important to know how it will
find the configuration file. You can specify a configuration file
on the command line in two ways:
In both of these cases, the proper
ServerRoot should be set in
the configuration file.
If you don't specify a configuration file with
-n, Apache will use the file name compiled into the
server, such as
conf\httpd.conf. This built-in path
is relative to the installation directory. You can verify the compiled
file name from a value labelled as
invoking Apache with the
-V switch, like this:
Apache will then try to determine its
ServerRoot by trying the following, in this order:
-C command line switch.
-d switch on the command line.
- Current working directory.
- A registry entry which was created if you did a binary
- The server root compiled into the server. This is
/apache by default, you can verify it by using
apache -V and looking for a value labelled as
During the installation, a version-specific registry key is
created in the Windows registry. The location of this key depends
on the type of the installation. If you chose to install Apache
for all users, the key is located under the
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, like this (the version
numbers will of course vary between different versions of Apache:
Correspondingly, if you chose to install Apache for the current
user only, the key is located under the
hive, the contents of which are dependent of the user currently
This key is compiled into the server and can enable you to test
new versions without affecting the current version. Of course, you
must take care not to install the new version in the same
directory as another version.
If you did not do a binary install, Apache will in some
scenarios complain about the missing registry key. This warning can
be ignored if the server was otherwise able to find its
The value of this key is the
ServerRoot directory which
conf subdirectory. When Apache starts it
httpd.conf file from that directory. If
this file contains a
directive which contains a different directory from the one
obtained from the registry key above, Apache will forget the
registry key and use the directory from the configuration file. If
you copy the Apache directory or configuration files to a new
location it is vital that you update the
ServerRoot directive in the
httpd.conf file to reflect the new location.
After starting Apache (either in a console window or as a
service) it will be listening on port 80 (unless you changed the
Listen directive in the
configuration files or installed Apache only for the current user).
To connect to the server and access the default page, launch a
browser and enter this URL:
Apache should respond with a welcome page and a link to the
Apache manual. If nothing happens or you get an error, look in the
error.log file in the
If your host is not connected to the net, or if you have serious
problems with your DNS (Domain Name Service) configuration, you
may have to use this URL:
Once your basic installation is working, you should configure it
properly by editing the files in the
Again, if you change the configuration of the Windows NT service
for Apache, first attempt to start it from the command line to
make sure that the service starts with no errors.
Because Apache cannot share the same port with
another TCP/IP application, you may need to stop, uninstall or reconfigure
certain other services before running Apache. These conflicting
services include other WWW servers and some firewall implementations.