If hosting only one site on a server with no control panel, is there any advantage to using a virtual host?

server asked:

The site is hosted on AWS and the website is dropped into the var www html directory. Is there any advantage to setting up a virtual host considering this will be the only domain on the server?

My answer:


The main advantage of placing your web site in a virtual host is that the default (virtual) host, which Apache’s syntax doesn’t place inside any <VirtualHost> block, will catch requests for any site other than yours. This includes things like localhost (if you didn’t make a virtual host for it), the system’s IP address, no host specified, etc. Nearly all of such traffic is garbage or potentially malicious, and by default they get a 403, 404 and/or a tiny test page (depending on your distribution), and never hit your web application.

These days, with most web sites moving to HTTPS, it’s also a good idea to enable the default HTTPS virtual host (which the default Apache config usually has commented out) with a self-signed certificate such as the snakeoil.crt that Debian systems create. This will prevent such garbage or malicious HTTPS traffic as described above from reaching your web app.


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