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Apache Today: Is your web server running unnecessary software?

Feb 24, 2001, 01:59 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jeremy C. Reed)

"Since Apache and most Linux and BSD operating systems are so stable, you could probably just forget about the server and it'll still be running great a year later. (In fact, I have had past jobs where I know the actively-used servers are no longer maintained and continue to run great -- including one Debian Linux box with an uptime of 485 days and counting.) Of course, this is not a good idea and I'd never suggest that an administrator entirely ignore their servers."

"Usually the default installations of popular Unix-like operating systems start up a bunch of useful, possibly useful and entirely unuseful programs all running in the background. (These are usually called daemons.) Or you may inherit a server that was installed and administered by someone else -- who may have installed other programs or never cleaned up the system."

"You may find that your 'web' server is running a print spooler, a mail server (which may be relaying spam), a console mouse handler, and a variety of other software. In fact, you may learn that your webserver -- which doesn't even have a video monitor anymore -- may be running a graphical windowing system."

"Over time, your performance needs may change. And over time, more security exploits are found (and fixed). This article will quickly share some ideas on how beginning webserver administrators can improve server efficiency, ease management and, hopefully, improve security as well. It shares a few examples of processes that don't need to be running, required programs and some ideas for BSD and System V-type systems for disabling startup scripts. "

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