← Other topics

Configuring sites/URLs on an Apache web server

Video Notes

Let’s learn how to configure a new site/URL on an Apache web server. As an example, I’ll configure a site via the URL http://demo.codewithsusan.com. I’m using a subdomain for the example but the same procedures apply for a primary domain.

I’ll be demonstrating this on a DigitalOcean server running Ubuntu and Apache.

In the instructions that follow, swap in demo.codewithsusan.com with whatever site/URL you’re configuring.

Step 1) Configure domain

First, we need to update the settings for our domain or subdomain so that it points to the IP address of our server.

Log into your domain provider and find your DNS settings for the domain you’re working with. Within your settings create a new A Record that maps your domain or subdomain to your server’s IP address.

Here’s an example of what that looks like in my domain provider’s settings (Namecheap):

Step 2) Create the site folder

Next, let’s set up the site on the server by creating a new directory within /var/www/ that will hold the site’s files. We’ll name this directory after the site’s URL:

> sudo mkdir /var/www/demo.codewithsusan.com

Within this directory, create a simple index.html file to kick things off. You can do that using Nano, or here’s a one line command that will get the job done:

> echo "<h1>Hello from demo.codewithsusan.com</h1>" | sudo tee /var/www/demo.codewithsusan.com/index.html

Step 3) Configure the site

Next, we need to set up a URL for this site by creating a new config file in /etc/apache2/sites-available/. This file should match the name of your URL with the addition of a .conf extension.

You can create/edit this new file with Nano:

> sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/demo.codewithsusan.com.conf

Within my new config file, I’ll use the following Apache site config. Replace ServerAdmin , DocumentRoot, and Directory as appropriate for your site.

<VirtualHost *:80>
        ServerAdmin mail@codewithsusan.com
        DocumentRoot /var/www/demo.codewithsusan.com

        <Directory /var/www/demo.codewithsusan.com/>
            Options Indexes FollowSymLinks
            AllowOverride All
            Require all granted

        ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
        CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined

        <IfModule mod_dir.c>
            DirectoryIndex index.html index.php


To save your changes and exit Nano, Type ctrl + x, then y, then hit Enter.

For more details on the above configs check out the following reference: Apache Virtual Host documentation.

Step 4) Activate

In order to activate the above config/site, run the following command:

> sudo a2ensite demo.codewithsusan.com.conf

Additionally, run the following command to deactivate the default config file that came with your server:

> sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

Next, run the following command to check your configs making sure there are no syntax errors. You can ignore the first warning about ServerName; the important part is the last line that says Syntax OK.

> apache2ctl -t
AH00558: apache2: Could not reliably determine the server's fully qualified domain name, using Set the 'ServerName' directive globally to suppress this message
Syntax OK

Assuming everything checks out, restart Apache to make the changes take effect:

> systemctl restart apache2

Step 5) Test

Finally, test it out! Attempt to load your site URL in the browser and confirm you can see the contents of your index file:

If this info helped you out you can say thanks and support future content by clicking my Amazon affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3UtgnYk. If you make a purchase on Amazon within 24 hours of clicking the link I may receive a micro-commission and it costs you nothing extra. Any income from these sales goes directly to supporting me in making new videos and guides. Thank you for your support!

← Other topics