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Adding Sites to Linux

The Linux Railo Installer for Linux is designed to make it easy to add new sites to your system and have them function relatively well "out of the box". The following documentation describes the recommended steps for adding new sites to Linux systems using the Railo 4 Installers. Please check this documentation after major point releases as the process for adding may change as technology advances.

Supported OS's

The Railo Linux Installer fully supports modern and supported releases of Debian/Ubuntu and RHEL/CentOS installations in their native formats. If an OS is no longer supported by it's publishing organization, the Railo Distribution Team does not guarantee that it will be supported by our team. Some derivatives, or services that alter the base release of OS's (like Amazon Linux) and customize the kernel and/or included programs such as BASH, may not be supported, but we will make an effort to support them if there are several users attempting to use a specific OS version (like Amazon Linux) or release.

Assumptions

These instructions are going to assume that you're running Railo in a production environment under the "railo" user. Note that this is DIFFERENT then the default "root" user. If you're using the default "root" user, then many of the permissions we review below will not apply to you, as root has access to everything on a Linux system.

Last, I'm going to assume we're running under Ubuntu in these examples. If you're running RHEL/CentOS, you do not need to "sudo" like many of the examples below show. Just leave that part off of your commands and you'll be fine.

Manually Adding Sites to Apache

Adding a new site to Apache can be as easy as adding a new site to your control panel (Like VirtualMin), or new sites can be added manually. The following documentation reviews the recommended process of manually adding a new site to Apache.

Create a Directory

The first thing you need to do to create a new site on your system is to create a directory where your files will be stored. There are many conventions you can follow, but for the purpose of being easy to integrate into other services, we recommend you follow the user-based method for creating sites. This method is useful if you need to integrate other user-based services, such as FTP or SSH. Using the method below, isolating services based on user accounts would be simple to do.

In the example below, I'm going to add a website called "utdream.org", with a user account ironically named "utdream". You will need to customize the username and the site name to the site that you're adding.

Open a command-line window to your server and run the following commands (this is in Ubuntu):

 $ sudo useradd -k utdream

The above command creates the user and group (both named "utdream") and creates the home directory in /home/utdream/.

 $ sudo mkdir -p /home/utdream/public_html/WEB-INF

This command ensures that the skeleton home directory includes a public_html directory and the WEB-INF directory under it. Your site files would be stored in the public_html directory, and the WEB-INF directory is where Railo will store it's files for this site.

 $ sudo chmod 755 /home/
 $ sudo chmod 755 /home/utdream
 $ sudo chmod 755 /home/utdream/public_html
 $ sudo chown railo:railo /home/utdream/public_html/WEB-INF/

These "chmod" commands set the permissions to the new directories so that the railo user that Railo Server is using as will be able to write to the WEB-INF directory like it needs to, as well as read what's in the public_html directory.

 $ gpasswd -a railo utdream
 $ gpasswd -a utdream railo

Last, we need to update group permissions. The above two commands add the "railo" user to the "utdream" group, and the "utdream" user to the "railo" group. This method ensures that if we maintain group write permissions on our files, that both our "railo" user and our "utdream" user will always be able to edit the files they need to.

For example, if you upload a file using FTP it will have the user and group of "utdream:utdream", but if that file has group write permissions and the "railo" user is a member of the "utdream" group, then Railo server will have the ability to edit that file as well.

Conversely, if you create a webapp that has a file upload process, and use that to upload a file, it will be owned by the user and group of "railo:railo", because it was uploaded through Railo Server. So, if you want to then manage that file through FTP with the "utdream" user, you can as long as that file has group write permissions.

Using this method, if you ever find you don't have permission to do what you need to, just run the following command to add group write permissions and you should be all set!

 $ sudo chmod g+w myfile.cfm

This will allow anyone who is a member of the file's group to be able to write to it.

Add Your Host to Apache

Now that we have the directory that we'll be putting our site in all sorted, let's create a new site in Apache. This will tell Apache where it can find the files for a particular site whenever it gets a request for that site.

To create a new site, or "VirtualHost", in Apache, we need to add some lines to the Apache configuration. In Debian/Ubuntu systems, this is /etc/apache2/apache2.conf. In RHEL/CentOS systems, this file is in /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. You will need to be comfortable updating files with a text editor on Linux. I like VIM. Since we're using Ubuntu here in our example, I'll use vim on my Apache config:

 $ sudo vim /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Next I'm just going to scroll to the bottom and add the following:

 <VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerAdmin jordan@utdream.org
  DocumentRoot /home/utdream/public_html/
  ServerName utdream.org
  ServerAlias www.utdream.org
 </virtualhost>

Connecting with mod_proxy

Next we need to tell Apache what to do when it gets a request for a CFM file. The simplest way to configure a CFML "handler" is with mod_proxy - which means that Apache will just act as a tunnel (proxy) between the user and Tomcat when a CFML request comes in.

Start out by making sure mod_proxy is installed on to our Ubuntu system:

 $ sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-proxy-html

Next we need to enable our newly installed mod_proxy module:

 $ sudo a2enmod proxy_http

Now we can add out proxy config to Apache:

 $ sudo vim /etc/apache2/apache2.conf

Then add the following:

 <IfModule mod_proxy.c>
        <Proxy *>
        Allow from 127.0.0.1
        </proxy>
        ProxyPreserveHost On
        ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cf[cm])(/.*)?$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/$1$2
        ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cfchart)(/.*)?$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/$1$2
        ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cfml)(/.*)?$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/$1$2
        # optional mappings
        #ProxyPassMatch ^/flex2gateway/(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/flex2gateway/$1
        #ProxyPassMatch ^/messagebroker/(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/messagebroker/$1
        #ProxyPassMatch ^/flashservices/gateway(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/flashservices/gateway$1
        #ProxyPassMatch ^/openamf/gateway/(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/openamf/gateway/$1
        #ProxyPassMatch ^/rest/(.*)$ http://127.0.0.1:8888/rest/$1
        ProxyPassReverse / http://127.0.0.1:8888/
 </ifmodule>

Now just restart Apache and you should be all set!

 $ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Connecting with mod_proxy_ajp

mod_proxy_ajp is another proxy method that, instead of proxying the request over HTTP, will proxy the request over AJP. There are some advantages to this, such as HTTPS detection and other built-in features. The down-side is that mod_proxy_ajp can be difficult to find/install. Sometimes it is not available in the OS repository, and you have to compile/install it yourself. If you're able to get mod_proxy_ajp installed into Apache, then you can update the statements made above and point them to the AJP port using the AJP protocol, like so:

 <Proxy *>
 Allow from 127.0.0.1
 </proxy>
 ProxyPreserveHost On
 ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cf[cm])(/.*)?$ ajp://127.0.0.1:8009/$1$2
 ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cfchart)(/.*)?$ ajp://127.0.0.1:8009/$1$2
 ProxyPassMatch ^/(.+\.cfml)(/.*)?$ ajp://127.0.0.1:8009/$1$2
 ProxyPassReverse / ajp://127.0.0.1:8009/

Notice the "ajp://" and port "8009".

Connecting with mod_jk

The Apache Foundation no longer offers pre-compiled binaries for mod_jk, but if you're comfortable compiling things or if you can find mod_jk in your distributions repository, then you can connect Apache to Railo's instance of TOmcat with a config like this:

 <IfModule !mod_jk.c>
    LoadModule jk_module [path to]/mod_jk.so
 </ifmodule>
 <IfModule mod_jk.c>
    JkMount /*.cfm ajp13
    JkMount /*.cfc ajp13
    JkMount /*.do ajp13
    JkMount /*.jsp ajp13
    JkMount /*.cfchart ajp13
    JkMount /*.cfm/* ajp13
    JkMount /*.cfml/* ajp13
    # Flex Gateway Mappings
    # JkMount /flex2gateway/* ajp13
    # JkMount /flashservices/gateway/* ajp13
    # JkMount /messagebroker/* ajp13
    JkMountCopy all
    JkLogFile [path to]/mod_jk.log
 </ifmodule>

Be sure to update [path] to something that actually exists.

Setting the Default Document

With one of the above configurations in place, you can set your default document, in any directory, as index.cfm and Apache will properly pas off the request to Tomcat.

For those of you who want to set the default document by hand, here's an example directive:

 DirectoryIndex index.cfm index.cfml index.html index.php index.xhtml index.htm default.htm

Tomcat Configuration

Configuring Tomcat is nearly identical to configuring Apache, you just have to edit Tomcat's server.xml file instead of the Apache config file.

The default location of the server.xml file is /opt/railo/tomcat/conf/server.xml. The file has been commented (look near the bottom) and read the comments carefully. You should see something like this:

      < !-- Define the default virtual host
           Note: XML Schema validation will not work with Xerces 2.2.
       -->
      <Host name="localhost"  appBase="webapps"
            unpackWARs="true" autoDeploy="true"
            xmlValidation="false" xmlNamespaceAware="false">
      </host>
      < !--
        Add additional VIRTUALHOSTS by copying the following example config:
        REPLACE:
        [ENTER DOMAIN NAME] with a domain, IE: www.mysite.com
        [ENTER SYSTEM PATH] with your web site's base directory. IE: /home/user/public_html/ or C:\websites\www.mysite.com\ etc...
        Don't forget to remove comments! ;)
      -->
      < !--
        <Host name="[ENTER DOMAIN NAME]" appBase="webapps"
             unpackWARs="true" autoDeploy="true"
             xmlValidation="false" xmlNamespaceAware="false">
             <Context path="" docBase="[ENTER SYSTEM PATH]" />
             <Alias>[ALTERNATE DOMAIN NAME]</alias>
        </host>
      -->
     </engine>
   </service>
 </server>

So, adding a new host would look something like this (we're going to get rid of all the superfluous stuff):

       <Host name="utdream.org" appBase="webapps">
             <Context path="" docBase="/home/utdream/public_html" />
	     <Alias>www.utdream.org</alias>
       </host>

     </engine>
   </service>
 </server>

Once you've updated your server.xml file, restart Tomcat/Railo and you should be all set!

 $ sudo /etc/init.d/railo_ctl restart

Automatically Configure Hosts with mod_cfml

If you don't want to add every host you're serving to Tomcat, you can utilize mod_cfml to have each host created automatically for you at run time. I won't go into detail about mod_cfml here since it is very well documented on the mod_cfml site:

http://www.modcfml.org

The following graph gives an overview of how mod_cfml works in conjunction with mod_proxy (or whatever connector you happen to be using).

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