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iPlanet Web Server, Enterprise Edition Administrator's Guide

Chapter 13   Using Virtual Servers

This chapter explains how to set up and administer virtual servers using your iPlanet Web Server.

This chapter contains the following sections:

Virtual Servers Overview

When you use virtual servers you can offer companies or individuals domain names, IP addresses, and some server monitoring capabilities with a single installed server. For the users, it is almost as if they have their own web servers, though you provide the hardware and basic web server maintenance.

Note If you are not using virtual servers, you still use the items in the Class Manager to configure content, programs, and other features for your web server instance. When you install the web server, a default virtual server for the instance is created. You manage the content and services for this default virtual server using the virtual server user interface.

To set up virtual servers, you need to set up the following:

The settings for virtual servers are stored in the server.xml file, found in the server_root/server_ID/config directory. You do not need to edit this file to use virtual servers, but you can. If you would like to learn more about this file and how to edit it, see the NSAPI Programmer's Guide.

This section includes the following topics:

Multiple Server Instances

In past releases of the iPlanet Web Server, unique configuration information for virtual servers was not very flexible. Quite often users created separate server instances in order to have a straightforward way to have servers with separate configuration information. With iPlanet Web Server 6.0, each virtual server class has separate configuration information. Multiple server instances are still supported, but if your goal is to have many servers with separate configuration information, virtual servers are a better choice.

Virtual Server Classes

Virtual servers are grouped into classes. Using classes you can configure similar virtual servers at the same time, so you don't have to configure each one separately. Though all virtual servers in a class share the same basic configuration information, you can also set variables and change configuration per virtual server. If you don't want virtual servers to share configuration information, you can create a single virtual server per virtual server class. However, if your virtual servers share similar properties, you can group them in a class and configure them together.

For example, if you work for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and want to provide different levels of hosting for different customers at different prices, you can set up several classes of virtual servers for your customers. You might enable Java servlets and JSPs for one class of virtual servers, and disable Java servlets and JSPs for a less expensive class of virtual servers.

You create a class of virtual servers by naming it and setting up a document root, where all virtual servers belonging to the class will have their document roots by default. You can use the $id variable so that each virtual server within the class will have a separate document root within the class' document root. For more information, see Document Root.

After creating the class of virtual servers, you associate services with it. You can turn on or configure the following types of services for a class of virtual servers:

The obj.conf File

All virtual servers in a class share an obj.conf file, which stores information about the virtual server class. Some of that information is stored in variables, so that individual virtual servers can have specific variable values substituted on the fly.

For more information about obj.conf and variables, see the For more information on using variables in the user interface, see Using Variables.

Virtual Servers in a Class

A virtual server that belongs to a class is called a member of that class. Some virtual server settings are configured for all virtual servers in a class, and some are configured individually. These settings are configured on the Class Manager's Virtual Servers tab. For more information, see Chapter 14 "Creating and Configuring Virtual Servers."

The Default Class

When you install iPlanet Web Server, the installer automatically creates a single class, called defaultclass. It contains one virtual server member by default for your server instance. You can add additional virtual servers to the default class, but you cannot delete your default virtual server from the class. You also cannot delete the default class.

Listen Sockets

Connections between the server and clients happen on a listen socket. Each listen socket you create has an IP address, a port number, a server name, and a default virtual server (which becomes associated with the connection group created automatically for the listen socket). If you want a listen socket to listen on all configured IP addresses on a given port for a machine, use, any, ANY, or INADDR_ANY for the IP address.

When you install iPlanet Web Server, one listen socket, ls1, is created automatically. This listen socket uses the IP address and the port number you specified as your HTTP server port number during installation (the default is 80). You cannot delete the default listen socket. If you are not using virtual servers, this one listen socket is sufficient. However, if you are using virtual servers, you may want to create multiple listen sockets for your virtual servers.

Since a listen socket is a combination of IP address and port number, you can have multiple listen sockets with the same IP address and different port numbers, or with different IP addresses and the same port number. For example, you could have and Additionally, you could have and, as long as your machine is configured to respond to both these addresses. However, if you use the or ANY IP address, which listens to all IP addresses on a port, you cannot set up additional IP addresses that listen on the same port for a specific IP address. For example, if you have a listen socket (all IP addresses on port 80) you cannot also have

In addition, you specify the number of acceptor threads (sometimes called accept threads) in the listen socket. Accept threads are threads that wait for connections. The threads accept connections and put them in a queue where they are then picked up by worker threads. Ideally, you want to have enough accept threads so that there is always one available when a new request comes in, but few enough so that they do not provide too much of a burden on the system. The default is 1. A good rule is to have one accept thread per CPU on your system. You can adjust this value if you find performance suffering.

Connection Groups

Each listen socket has at least one connection group associated with it. When you create a listen socket, a connection group is also created which contains the default virtual server you specified for the listen socket. The IP address for this connection group is default.

If your listen socket has an IP address of or ANY, you can add multiple connection groups that respond to particular IP addresses. Using this functionality, you can set up virtual server with dedicated IP addresses.

For each listen socket, there is always a connection group that is the default connection (the IP address shows as default). If the listen socket has a specific IP address, this default connection group is the only one available. If the listen socket listens on any IP address, the default connection group is the one used if the request doesn't find a specific IP address match among the other connection groups in the listen socket.

When you install your server, one connection group is created by default for the default listen socket ls1. The IP address for the connection group is default, the port is 80, and the default virtual server is the default server created when you installed.

For each virtual server you select the connection group or groups it responds to. You do not do this for the class as a whole: the connection group information is independent of the virtual server classes.

Virtual Servers

To create a virtual server you must first decide which class you want it to belong to. Next you need to decide what kind of virtual server you want. To create a virtual server, all you need to specify is a virtual server ID, one or more connection groups, and one or more URL hosts.

This section includes the following topics:

Types of Virtual Servers

In previous versions of iPlanet Web Server, there were two kinds of virtual servers: hardware and software. Hardware virtual servers had unique IP addresses associated with them. Software virtual servers did not have unique IP addresses but instead had unique URL hosts.

In iPlanet Web Server 6.0, these concepts are no longer quite accurate. All virtual servers have a URL host specified. However, the virtual server may also be associated with an IP address based on its listen socket and connection group information.

When a new request comes in, the server determines which virtual server to send it to based on the IP address or the value in the Host header. It evaluates the IP address first. For more information, see Virtual Server Selection for Request Processing.

IP-Address-Based Virtual Servers

In order to have multiple IP addresses on a single computer, you must either map them through the operating system or provide additional cards. To set up multiple IP addresses through the operating system, use the Network Control Panel (Windows NT) or the ifconfig utility (Unix/Linux). Please note that directions for using ifconfig vary from platform to platform. Consult your operating system documentation for more information.

Typically you create an IP-address-based virtual server by creating a listen socket that listens on any IP address, and creating additional connection groups for each listen socket. Each of these connection groups has a specific IP address. You then associate a virtual server as the default virtual server for each connection group. However, you can also create an individual listen socket for each IP address. For more information on ways to deploy virtual servers, see Deploying Virtual Servers.

URL-Host-Based Virtual Servers

You can set up URL-host-based virtual servers by giving them unique URL hosts. The contents of the Host request header directs the server to the correct virtual server.

For example, if you want to set up virtual servers for customers aaa, bbb, and ccc) so that each customer can have an individual domain name, you first configure DNS to recognize that each customer's URL,,, , resolves to the IP address of the listen socket you are using. You then set the URL hosts for each virtual server to the correct setting (for example,

You can have any number of these URL-host-based virtual servers associated with a connection group.

Because URL-Host-based virtual servers use the Host request header to direct the user to the correct page, not all client software works with them. Older client software that does not support the HTTP Host header won't work. These clients will receive the default virtual server for the connection group.

Default Virtual Server

URL-Host-based virtual servers are selected using the Host request header. If the end user's browser does not send the Host header, or if the server cannot find the specified Host header, the default virtual server services the request.

Also, for IP-address-based virtual servers, if iPlanet Web Server cannot find the specified IP address, the default virtual server services the request. You can configure the default virtual server to send an error message, or server pages from a special document root.

Note Do not confuse the default virtual server for a connection group with the default class and virtual server created when you install the server. The default class is created at installation time and contains the server instance's virtual server as a member. The default virtual server for a connection group is any virtual server you designate as the default.

The default virtual server is set by connection group. You specify a default virtual server when you create a listen socket. That becomes the default virtual server of the connection group created by default for the listen socket. You can always change the default virtual server. If the listen socket has a specific IP address associated with it, this connection group is the only connection group for the listen socket. If the listen socket listens on any IP address, each connection group you create will have a default virtual server.

Virtual Server Selection for Request Processing

Before the server can process a request, it must accept the request via a listen socket, then direct the request to the correct connection group and virtual server.

A connection group is first selected as follows:

  • If the listen socket is configured to listen on a particular IP address, it can contain only one connection group, and that group is selected.

  • If the listen socket is configured to listen on ANY, the IP address to which the client connected is matched to the IP address of a connection group contained by that listen socket. If no IP address matches, the default connection group with default as the IP address is selected.

A virtual server is then selected as follows:

  • If the connection group is configured to only a default virtual server, that virtual server is selected.

  • If the connection group has more than one virtual server configured to it, the request Host header is matched to the URL host of a virtual server. If no Host header is present or no URL host matches, the default virtual server for the connection group is selected.

If a virtual server is configured to an SSL listen socket, its URL host is checked against the subject pattern of the certificate at server startup, and a warning is generated and written to the error log if they don't match.

After the virtual server is determined, the server executes the obj.conf file for the virtual server class to which the virtual server belongs. For details about how the server decides which directives to execute in obj.conf, see the NSAPI Programmer's Guide.

Document Root

The primary document directory or document root is the central directory that contains all the virtual server's files to make available to remote clients.

The document root directory provides an easy way to restrict access to the files on a virtual server. It also makes it easy to move documents to a new directory (perhaps on a different disk) without changing any of the URLs because the paths specified in the URLs are relative to the primary document directory.

For example, if your document directory is C:\iplanet\servers\docs, a request such as tells the server to look for the file in C:\iplanet\servers\docs\products\info.html. If you change the document root (that is, you move all the files and subdirectories), you only have to change the document root that the virtual server uses, instead of mapping all URLs to the new directory or somehow telling clients to look in the new directory.

When you install the iPlanet Web Server, you designate a document root for your web server instance. That becomes the document root for the default class. You can change that directory at the class level or override it at the individual virtual server level.

When you add a class, you also need to specify a document directory. That directory is an absolute path. However, if you simply enter an absolute path, the document roots for all virtual servers belonging to the class default to the same directory. If you include the variable $id at the end of your document root absolute path, every virtual server has a default document root of class_doc_root/virtual_server_ID. For example, if your class' document directory is /iplanet/servers/docs/$id, the default document directory for a virtual server vs1 that belongs to the class is /iplanet/servers/docs/vs1.

For more information on variables, see Using Variables.

You can also override the class' default document directory at the individual virtual server level.

Log Files

When you create a new virtual server, by default the log file is the same log file as the server instance. In most cases you will want each individual virtual server to have its own log file. To set this up, you can change the log path for each virtual server.

For more information, see Configuring Virtual Server Log Settings.

Migrating Virtual Servers from a Previous Release

If you used virtual servers in the 4.x version of iPlanet Web Server, you can migrate them to the current release using the migration tools. For more information, see the Installation and Migration Guide.

Using iPlanet Web Server Features with Virtual Servers

iPlanet Web Server has many features, such as SSL and access control, that you can use with virtual servers. Many of these features involve configuration for all servers, for a server instance, for a class of virtual servers, or an individual virtual server. The following sections describe the features and provide information on where to look for more information.

This section includes the following topics:

Using SSL with Virtual Servers

If you want to use SSL on a virtual server, in most cases you use an IP-address-based virtual server. The customary port is 443. It is difficult to use SSL on a URL-host-based virtual server because iPlanet Web Server must read the request before determining which URL host to send the request to. Once the server reads the request, the initial handshake, where security information is exchanged, has already happened.

The only exception is when URL-Host-based virtual servers all have the same SSL configuration, including the same server certificate, using "wildcard certificates." For more information, see Chapter 5 "Securing Your Web Server."

One way to implement SSL with virtual servers is to have two listen sockets, one using SSL and listening to port 443, and one that is not using SSL. A user would typically access the virtual server through the non-SSL listen socket. When the need to have secure transactions arises, users could click a button on the web page to start initiating secure transactions. After that, the requests go through the secure listen socket.

Because SSL transactions are much slower than non-SSL transactions, this design limits the SSL transactions to only the ones that are necessary. Faster, non-SSL connections are used the rest of the time.

For more information on setting up and using security with you iPlanet Web Server and virtual servers, see Chapter 5 "Securing Your Web Server." For a diagram of a sample SSL configuration with virtual servers, see Example 2: Secure Server.

Using Access Control with Virtual Servers

With virtual servers you have the ability to set up access control on a per virtual server basis. You can even configure it so that each virtual server can have user and group authentication using an LDAP database. For more information, see Controlling Access for Virtual Servers.

Using CGIs with Virtual Servers

You can use CGIs on virtual servers. There are many settings that you can configure on for access and security reasons.

For more information on setting up and using CGIs, see Installing CGI Programs.

Using Configuration Styles with Virtual Servers

Configuration styles are an easy way to apply a set of options to specific files or directories that your various virtual servers maintain. For more information on using configuration styles see Chapter 17 "Applying Configuration Styles."

Using the Virtual Server User Interface

To create and edit virtual servers, you can use the user interface or a command line utility.

The user interface for administering virtual servers has three parts:

  • The Server Manager contains settings that affect the server as a whole (or all virtual servers).

  • The Class Manager contains settings that affect a single class and the virtual servers within the class.

  • The Virtual Server Manager contains settings for an individual virtual server.

In addition, a user interface for end-users who have an individual virtual server is available. For more information, see Allowing Users to Monitor Individual Virtual Servers.

This section includes the following topics:

The Class Manager

To access the Class Manager follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Manager, click the Virtual Server Class Tab.

  2. Click Manage Classes.

  3. Choose a class and click Manage.

You can also click the class name in the tree view of the server, or click the Class Manager button link in the upper right corner of the Server Manager.

The Virtual Server Manager

To access the Virtual Server Manager, follow these steps:

  1. From the Class Manager, click the Virtual Server Tab.

  2. Click Manage Virtual Servers.

  3. Choose a virtual server and click Manage.

You can also click the virtual server name in the tree view of the server.

You can use a command line utility, HttpServerAdmin, to perform the same virtual server tasks as you can perform using the user interface. For more information on the command line utility HttpServerAdmin, see HttpServerAdmin (Virtual Server Administration).

Using Variables

You can use variables to give virtual-server specific values for a class without having to define each value individually. A variable is defined in the obj.conf file. You can define your own variables, but the user interface will not recognize them. The variable that is most useful in the user interface is the variable $id, which represents the ID of the virtual server. Whenever you enter this variable, the server substitutes the value for the individual virtual server ID.

There are a few other variables, such as $accesslog (the path to each virtual server's access log) and $docroot (the path to each virtual server's document root), that you may occasionally see, but $id is the only one you should need to enter into a field.

For more information on variables, see the NSAPI Programmer's Guide.

Dynamic Reconfiguration

Dynamic reconfiguration allows you to make configuration changes to a live web server without having to stop and restart the web server for the changes to take effect. You can dynamically change all configuration settings and attributes in server.xml and its associated files without restarting the server. So any changes that you make within the virtual server user interface can by applied without restarting the server. You can dynamically reconfigure your server after changes using the reconfiguration script or the user interface.

On Unix platforms the dynamic reconfiguration script is a shell script named 'reconfig' located in each instance's directory. There are no commandline arguments to this script. You can run the reconfiguration script by simply typing 'reconfig' from the server instance's directory.

On NT, the dynamic reconfiguration script is a batch file called 'reconfig.bat located in each instance's directory. There are no command line arguments. You can run the reconfiguration script by simply typing 'reconfig' or 'reconfig.bat' from the server instance's directory.

When run, this script initiates a dynamic reconfiguration of the server, similar to the user interface, and displays the server messages related to reconfiguration.

To access the dynamic reconfiguration screen, click the Apply link found in the upper right corner of the Server Manager, Class Manager, and Virtual Server Manager pages, then click the Load Configuration Files button on the Apply Changes page. If there are errors in installing the new configuration, the previous configuration is restored.

Setting Up Virtual Servers

To set up virtual servers, follow these steps:

  1. Create a listen socket

  2. Create a connection group

  3. Create a class of virtual servers

  4. Configure the services for the class

  5. Create the virtual servers in a virtual server class

  6. Configure virtual servers

Please note that you must enter an existing virtual server in the default virtual server field when you create a listen socket. You can use the virtual server created when you installed the server, and then go back and change it after you've created additional virtual servers, if you like.

Creating a Listen Socket

To create a listen socket, follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Manager, click the Preferences tab.

  2. Click Add Listen Socket.

  3. Fill in the fields.

    Listen sockets must have a unique combination of port number and IP address. You can use either IPV4 or IPV6 addresses. If you want to create a listen socket for IP-address-based virtual servers, the IP address must be, ANY, any or INADDR_ANY, meaning it listens on all IP addresses on that port. You can then specify a particular IP address at the connection group.

    You can also enable security (SSL) for this listen socket.

    The Server Name field specifies the host name in the URLs the server sends to the client. This affects URLs the server automatically generates; it doesn't affect the URLs for directories and files stored in the server. This name should be the alias name if your server uses an alias.

    The default virtual server is the virtual server that will answer requests for the listen socket's default connection group if no other virtual server is found first.

    For more information, see Virtual Server Selection for Request Processing.

  4. Click OK.

Creating a Connection Group

When you add a listen socket, a default connection group is added automatically. If your listen socket responds to any IP address, you can add additional connection groups.

To add a connection group, follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Manager, click the Preferences tab.

  2. Click Edit Listen Sockets.

  3. On the line next to the listen socket to which you want to add a connection group, click Groups.

    A list of the all groups associated with the listen socket appears.

  4. To add a group, use the line at the top of the screen where the action is set to Add and fill in the fields.

    If your listen socket has a single IP address, you won't be able to add an additional connection group.

Creating a Virtual Server Class

To create a virtual server class, follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Manager, click the Virtual Server Class tab.

  2. Click Add Class.

  3. Name the class.

  4. Insert a document root for the class.

    The directory must already exist. All virtual servers for this class will have document roots in this absolute path, unless you specify otherwise. If you use /$id as the last part of the path, a document root folder named for the virtual server ID is automatically created within the class' document root path.

  5. Click OK.

Once you have created a class of virtual servers, choose the services associated with the class. For more information, see Chapter 16 "Content Management."

Editing or Deleting a Virtual Server Class

To edit a virtual server class's settings, follow these steps:

  1. From the Server Manager, click the Virtual Server Class tab.

  2. Click Edit Classes.

  3. From the pull-down list next to the class you want, choose Edit or Delete.

    Please note that you cannot delete the default class.

  4. Use the Document Root field to change to absolute path to the class' default document root.

    The document roots for virtual servers in this class are created within this directory by default.

  5. Enter On in the Accept Language field if you wish this class of virtual servers to use accept language header parsing.

    The default is Off.

  6. If you want to change the CGI defaults associated with a class, click Advanced.

    A window with the CGI defaults appears. Edit the fields and click OK to return to the Edit a Class window. The Reset button rolls back your changes.

  7. Click OK. The class is changed or deleted.

Specifying Services Associated with a Virtual Server Class

Some of the characteristics that differentiate one class of virtual servers from another are the services that are enabled for that class of virtual servers. For example, one class of virtual servers might have CGIs enabled while another doesn't. For more information on setting up services, see Chapter 16 "Content Management."

Creating a Virtual Server

Once you have set up a virtual server class, you can create a virtual server. Because virtual servers are members of a particular virtual server class, you create virtual servers on the Class Manager.

For more information, see Creating a Virtual Server.

Specifying Settings Associated with a Virtual Server

You can override some class settings at the virtual server level and also configure additional settings. You configure these settings in the Class Manager.

For more information, see Chapter 14 "Creating and Configuring Virtual Servers.

Allowing Users to Monitor Individual Virtual Servers

A special user interface exists for the administrators of individual virtual servers that allows them to see settings for their virtual servers and to view their access and error logs. For example, if you have an intranet with three different virtual servers for three different departments, each department can view their settings and log files individually.

For security reasons, this administration user interface is on a separate port from either the administration server port or the web server instance port.

This user interface runs on a virtual server within the administration server. This virtual server is set up by default and is called useradmin. You must set up a listen socket in the administration server that is separate from the listen socket the administration server runs on, so that people can access the virtual server administration user interface without having access to your administration server port.

Figure 13-1 shows the administrators of individual virtual servers accessing the useradmin virtual server in order to access the information for their virtual servers.

Figure 13-1   

Configuring virtual server administrator's user interface

When you turn on a virtual server, users can administer it through the following URL:


For example:


The server instance doesn't include the "https" portion of the server instance name.

Figure 13-2 shows the user interface that the end users see:

Figure 13-2    Virtual Server Administration user interface

To configure your server to use this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Create a new listen socket that runs a port separate from the port that the administration server uses.

    For example, if your administration server runs on port 8888, this new listen socket must have a different port number. Using a different listen socket helps safeguard your administration server.

    For security reasons, you cannot add this listen socket through the user interface. Instead, you add it in the administration server's server.xml file.

  2. Open the administration server's server.xml file, found at server_root/https-admserv/config/server.xml.

  3. Add a new listen socket and connection group to the file.

    The IP address should be or ANY, and the port number should be a port different from the administration server's port. The default virtual server should be useradmin.

    Code Example 13-1    New listen socket

    <LS id="ls2" ip="" port="8889" security="off" acceptorthreads="1" blocking="no">
    <CONNECTIONGROUP id="group2" matchingip="default" servername="" defaultvs="useradmin"/>

    In this example, ls2 is the listen socket created with a connection group of group2.

  4. Edit the server.xml file so that the useradmin virtual server (found in the class userclass) uses the connection group you created.

  5. Set the state for the useradmin virtual server to "on."

    Code Example 13-2    Updated useradmin

    <VS id="useradmin" connections="group2" state="on" mime="mime1" urlhosts="user-app" aclids="acl1">
    <VARS webapps_file="user-apps.xml" webapps_enable="on"/>
    <USERDB id="default" database="default" />

    In this example, the connection group is set to group2, the group created previously, and the state is set to on.

  6. Save your changes to server.xml.

  7. Apply the changes by restarting the Administration Server.

  8. For any virtual server in any server instance, you should now be able to access the administrator UI by using the following URL:


Access Control

To protect the virtual server administration from unauthorized users, you can set up ACLs. Because the URI for each virtual server is unique, you can set access so that only the correct administrator can access the settings for a virtual server.

For more information, see Chapter 8 "Controlling Access to Your Server."

Log Files

Each virtual server can have its own log files. By default, all virtual servers share the log file of the server instance. If you allow users to view their log files, in most cases you should change the log file settings so that each virtual server has its own access and error log.

For more information, see Configuring Virtual Server Log Settings.

Deploying Virtual Servers

iPlanet Web Server's virtual server architecture is very flexible. A server instance can have any number of listen sockets, both secure and non-secure. You can associate any number of virtual servers with these sockets through connection groups. You can have both IP-address-based and URL-host-based virtual servers.

In addition, you can group virtual servers with similar settings into any number of virtual server classes. All virtual servers in a virtual server class share the same request processing instructions in obj.conf.

Every virtual server can (but does not have to) have its own list of ACLs, its own mime.types file, and its own set of Java Web Applications.

This design gives you maximum flexibility to configure the server for a variety of applications. The following examples discuss some of the possible configurations available for iPlanet Web Server.

Example 1: Default Configuration

After a new installation of the iPlanet Web Server, you have one server instance. This server instance has just one listen socket listening on port 80 (or whatever you selected at installation) of any IP address to which your computer is configured.

Some mechanism in your local network establishes a name-to-address mapping for each of the addresses to which your computer is configured. In the following example, the computer has two network interfaces: the loopback interface (the interface that exists even without a network card) on address, and an ethernet interface on address

The name is mapped to via DNS. The listen socket is configured to listen on port 80 on any address to which that machine is configured ("ANY:80" or "").

As there are no IP-address-based virtual servers in the default configuration, the only connection group is the default one. All connections pass through to virtual server VS1.

Figure 13-3    Default configuration

In this configuration, connections to the following reach the server and are served by virtual server VS1

  • (initiated on

  • http://localhost/ (initiated on



Use this configuration for traditional web server use. You do not need to add additional virtual servers or listen sockets. You configure the settings of the server by changing the settings for defaultclass (VS1 is a member of defaultclass), and VS1 itself.

Example 2: Secure Server

If you want to use SSL in the default configuration, you can simply change the listen socket to secure mode. This is a similar to the way you set security in previous versions of the iPlanet Web Server.

You can also add a new secure listen socket configured to ANY:443 and associate VS1 to the new listen socket's default connection group. The virtual server now has two connection groups, one that uses the secure listen socket, and one that doesn't. Now your server will serve the same content both with and without SSL, i.e. and deliver the same content.

Figure 13-4    Secure server

Please note that the SSL parameters are attached to the connection group. Therefore, there can only be one set of SSL parameters for all the virtual servers in a particular connection group.

Example 3: Intranet Hosting

A more complex configuration of the iPlanet Web Server is one in which the server hosts a few virtual servers for an intranet deployment. For example, you have three internal sites where employees can look up other users' phone numbers, look at maps of the campus, and track the status of their requests to the Information Services department. Previously (in this example), these sites were hosted on three different computers that had the names, and mapped to them.

To minimize hardware and administrative overhead, you want to consolidate all three sites into one web server living on the machine You could set this up in two ways: using URL-host-based or IP-address-based virtual servers. Both have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

Figure 13-5    Intranet hosting using URL-host-based virtual servers

While URL-host-based virtual servers are easy to set up, they have the following disadvantages:

  • Supporting SSL in this configuration requires non-standard setup using wildcard certificates. For more information see Chapter 5 "Securing Your Web Server."

  • URL-host-based virtual servers don't work with legacy HTTP clients

Figure 13-6    Intranet hosting using IP-addressed-based virtual servers

The advantages to IP-address-based virtual servers are:

  • They work with older clients that do not support the HTTP/1.1 Host header.

  • Providing SSL support is straightforward.

The disadvantages are:

  • They require configuration changes on the host computer (configuration of real or virtual network interfaces)

  • They don't scale to configurations with thousands of virtual servers

Both configurations require setting up name-to-address mappings for the three names. In the IP-address-based configuration, each name maps to a different address. The host machine must be set up to receive connections on all these addresses. In the URL-host-based configuration, all names can map to the same address, the one the machine had originally.

As a footnote, it is also possible to set up the IP-address-based configuration with one listen socket per address:

Figure 13-7    Intranet hosting using separate listen sockets

Compared to the original configuration for IP-address-based virtual servers with one listen socket on ANY:80, the configuration with multiple listen sockets may give you a minimal performance gain because the server does not have to find out the address the request came in on. However, using multiple listen sockets also results in additional overhead (memory and scheduling) because of the additional acceptor threads.

Example 4: Mass Hosting

Mass hosting is a configuration in which you enable many low-traffic virtual servers. For example, an ISP that hosts many low-traffic personal home pages would fall into this category.

The virtual servers are usually URL-host-based and are in one of multiple virtual server classes, depending on the level of service provided. For example, you could have one class that allows only static content, and another one that allows static content plus CGIs.

Figure 13-8    Mass Hosting

Notice that the virtual server installed when you installed the server, VS1, still exists in defaultclass.

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Last Updated May 09, 2002