Ubuntu Apache: httpd.conf or apache2.conf?

ajsie asked:

which one of these two files should I use to configure Apache?

The httpd.conf is empty, while apache2.conf is not.

It confuses me!

My answer:

The Apache Software Foundation publishes many bits of software, one of which is a web server named httpd. The httpd project sources include among other things an httpd.conf sample configuration file, which is installed by default in /usr/local/etc/httpd or /etc/httpd. You will find httpd named as such on most systems.

However, long ago and far away, someone in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution decided to change the name of the software within that distribution from httpd to apache2. Thus on a Debian system you will find a configuration file named apache2.conf in a directory named /etc/apache2. I don’t know who did this or why, but it’s a perennial source of confusion on par with calling Windows “Microsoft” or ESXi “VMware”. Distributions based on Debian, such as Ubuntu, inherit this strangeness. Even stranger, they then include a file /etc/apache2/httpd.conf which is Included from apache2.conf into which users can place custom configuration.

So the answer is, if you’re on a Debian-based system, you bend your brain into doing things the way Debian wants you to do it. Otherwise you generally do things the normal way as the upstream httpd project does it.

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