Variable Web Content

Annika Backstrom
in misc, on 27 April 2004. It is tagged and #Apache.

I've been knee-deep in server administration the past couple days, mostly Apache-related. I did some trickery with AWStats page statistics files, VirtualHosts, and mod_rewrite, and thought I would share.

My Apache virtual hosts live in directories in /var/www, each named with their full domain name. Blogs live in /var/www/, and so on. Each /var/www/<domain> directory contains at minimum an htdocs and logs directory, so web files and their corresponding logs are segmented from the other domains.

I wanted to run AWStats on all these log files, and my first reaction was to create /var/www/<domain>/stats for each domain I wanted to analyze. This meant my number of tasks was high:

  1. Create the stats directory for each domain.
  2. Point the script to the correct destination directory.
  3. Create an Apache Alias directive for each domain with stats, or suffer through a stats directory in each htdocs folder.

My final solution was much more elegant than what I originally considered. AWStats creates static pages in the format awstats.<domain>.<type>.html, so each file implicitly "knows" what domain it refers to. I created /var/www/awstats-pages to hold the static pages for every domain. Next, I created a global Alias that is applied to each VirtualHost:

# awstats generated pages
Alias /stats /var/www/awstats-pages
<Directory /var/www/awstats-pages>
    Options FollowSymLinks
    AllowOverride All

    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

    RewriteEngine on
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/stats/$
    RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /stats/awstats.%{SERVER_NAME}.html

When a user requests http://<domain>/stats/, they are transparently redirected to awstats.<domain>.html in the same directory. The links on each page already go to subpages for the domain, so no other work is necessary. One Alias, one stats directory, infinite domains, less changes in my scripts and the httpd.conf file, and transparency for the user. All good things.