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[HOW TO] Start, Restart, and Stop an Apache Web Server (3 Ways for Red Hat, Ubuntu, Debian, and SUSE)

Posted by HP 
There are mainly three kinds of ways to start/restart an Apache Server for different Linux distributions.

Taking start as a quick example, they are:

Shell>> /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl -k start (Red Hat)
Shell>> /usr/local/apache2/bin/httpd -k start (when you don't have apachectl in Red Hat)
Shell>> /etc/init.d/apache2 start (Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE)

NOTE: The path of apachectl and httpd may differ from "/usr/local/apache2/bin/" depending on your installations and in some cases you don't even have to specify the patch.

I. Use of apachectl (Red Head)

Basically, it is easy to start/restart/stop an Apache web server by the commands

Shell>> apachectl -k start
Shell>> apachectl -k restart
Shell>> apachectl -k stop

to start, restart, stop your Apache server, respectively. Note you may need to specify the path to the apachectl command. For example, you may use

Full path:
Shell>> /usr/local/apache2/bin/apachectl -k restart


Relative path:
Shell>> bin/apachectl -k restart (when the console is in /usr/local/apache2/ in this case)

for restarting Apache.

Also, it is recommeded to use the parameter "graceful" to stop the sever after finishing serving all the HTTP requests while attempting the restart the sever. That is, we use

Shell>> apachectl -k graceful

to restart the Apache server.

You may also note that in SUSE Linux, you can restart (or start) the server by the command:

Shell> /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

II. Use of httpd

However, due to different versions of installation, sometimes apachectl simply doesn't work. Instead, you may use the command httpd (with a shell path specified). You may use

Shell>> ./bin/httpd -k restart


Shell>> ./bin/httpd -k graceful

to restart your Apache http daemon service.

III. Use of apache2 (Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE)

Shell> /etc/init.d/apach2 start|restart|stop

You may use the following command for restarting in Ubuntu:

Shell> sudo /etc/init.d/apach2 start/restart/stop

The Apache Official Documents for
1. Stopping and Restarting
2. apachectl - Apache HTTP Server Control Interface
3. httpd - Apache Hypertext Transfer Protocol Server

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 11/03/2009 07:30PM by HP.