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Fri, 9 Jul 2021

Virtual Apache SSL Hosts in a Docker Container

— SjG @ 1:40 pm

You might want to “containerize” your development hosting environment so you can easily migrate it from machine to machine. As a Docker noob, I had a bunch of issues getting this set up the first time, and wanted to share a working configuration. This example assumes you have Docker installed and operating. You can also skip reading this, and just download the files at GitHub.

First, we’ll need to create some directories. I create one for the Apache configurations, and one for the code projects I’ll be working on.
mkdir apache-php
mkdir project

Within project, you can check out the code for your various projects into subdirectories. For simplicity, I’ve created project1 and project2 in the sample code. The Apache web server within the container will serve content from these directories.

We’re going to use a fictional top-level domain (TLD) for our development environment. This way, the URL you use to access your sites will be the same every time you spin up a new dev environment, without having to worry about name servers. You do, however, have to worry about your /etc/hosts file (or your platform’s equivalent). Choose a TLD that will be easy to remember. For my example, I’m using “mylocal”. One thing to avoid: start the TLD with a letter rather than a number. Don’t include characters like hyphens. Please learn from my mistakes.

Edit your /etc/hosts, and add the lines:
127.0.0.1 project1.mylocal
127.0.0.1 project2.mylocal

Next, we’ll want to create an SSL certificate for use in development. The easiest way to do this is with mkcert. Once you have mkcert installed and working, you’ll create a wildcard certificate for your TLD:
cd php-apache
mkcert -install mylocal "*.mylocal"

Next, we create a compose.yaml file:

version: "3.9"
services:
php:
container_name: ApachePHPVirtual
networks:
- apache
build:
context: .
dockerfile: PhpApacheDockerfile
volumes:
- "./project:/var/www"
ports:
- 80:80
- 443:443
extra_hosts:
- "project1.mylocal:127.0.0.1" # remember to add "127.0.0.1 project1.mylocal" to your /etc/hosts file or equivalent
- "project2.mylocal:127.0.0.1" # remember to add "127.0.0.1 project2.mylocal" to your /etc/hosts file or equivalent
hostname: project1.mylocal # default
domainname: mylocal
tty: true # if you want to debug
networks:
apache:

This is pretty straightforward. We’re creating a container which we’ll call “ApachePHPVirtual,” it will have a network we call “apache” if we want to connect using other containers, and it links our top level project directory to /var/www in the container. We map ports 80 and 443 on our host machine to those same ports in the container. The extra_hosts directive adds our project names to the container’s /etc/hosts. We set up the container’s hostname to match our first project, and set the default domain to our “mylocal” TLD.

We then want to create configurations for each of the Apache virtual hosts. In the php-apache directory, we create config files for each project. These are just standard virtual host declarations, e.g.:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName project1.mylocal
    Redirect permanent / https://project1.mylocal/
</VirtualHost>
<VirtualHost *:443>
    ServerName project1.mylocal
    DocumentRoot /var/www/project1
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/project1-error.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/project1-access.log combined
    DirectoryIndex index.php

    <Directory "/var/www/project1">
        Options -Indexes +FollowSymLinks
        AllowOverride all
        Order allow,deny
        Allow from all
    </Directory>

    SSLEngine On
    SSLCertificateFile    /etc/apache2/ssl/cert.pem
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/apache2/ssl/cert-key.pem
</VirtualHost>

You’ll need to create a similar configuration for each project. Note that the Document Root points at the mapped host directory. That means you won’t need to rebuild the container to see project changes.

The actual image for the Apache/PHP container is created and configured in our next file, “PhpApacheDockerfile”. So we create that:

FROM php:8.0.8-apache-buster

# add some packages
RUN docker-php-ext-install curl gd iconv pdo pdo_mysql soap zip

# Apache Config
COPY php-apache/project1.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/project1.conf
COPY php-apache/project2.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/project2.conf
COPY php-apache/mylocal+1-key.pem /etc/apache2/ssl/cert-key.pem
COPY php-apache/mylocal+1.pem /etc/apache2/ssl/cert.pem

# mod rewrite! SSL!
RUN a2enmod rewrite
RUN a2enmod ssl

# enable sites
RUN a2ensite project1.conf
RUN a2ensite project2.conf
RUN service apache2 restart

This pulls the php-8.0.8 image from DockerHub, adds in some PHP extensions, copies over our SSL certificate and key, copies our virtual host configuration files over, enables the projects, and restarts the Apache server.

Now, all that remains to do is build it and power it up:

docker-compose build && docker-compose up -d

You can now visit the project URls in your browser, e.g., https://project1.mylocal/


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