Apache: Setup a virtual host on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

This guide is about setting up a virtual host on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS with Apache as the web server. We’ll assume that we want to host a simple site where the domain name will be example.com.

Install the Apache Web Server.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install apache2

Create a directory called example.com inside the /var/www and make sure that the current user can access it by changing its owner and permission.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/example.com
sudo chown -R $USER:$USER /var/www/example.com
sudo chmod -R 755 /var/www

Create an index file which will be the entry point of the website. Run the command below to open an editor.

vim /var/www/example.com/index.html

Edit the contents to look like the code below.

<html>
  <body>
    <h1>The virtual host is working</h1>
  </body>
</html>

Make the site available for Apache by copying the default configuration to our site’s own configuration.

sudo cp /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/example.com.conf

Open the copied configuration file with a text editor.

sudo vim /etc/apache2/sites-available/example.com.conf

Edit the contents to look like below.

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAdmin webmaster@example.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/example.com
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/access.log combined
</VirtualHost>

We need to disable Apache’s default configuration so it won’t have any conflict with our configuration.

sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf

Enable our own config file by running the command below.

sudo a2ensite example.com.conf

Restart the Apache web server to apply the changes.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Add example.com to the virtual hosts by editing /etc/hosts.

sudo vim /etc/hosts

and add this line

127.0.0.1 example.com

Test by using the curl command.

curl --header "hostname: example.com" example.com

It should respond with the contents of /var/www/example.com/index.html.

You may also type example.com in the browser and see the message “The virtual host is working.” if you set it up correctly.