Testing a website from server before DNS switch via CURL

If we come across a scenario where we are migrating a high traffic site from a third party hosting provider like hostgator or godaddy to a IaaS host, we will come across a situation where we want to test if the site that we setup on the IaaS server is ready for us to do a DNS switch.

To accomplish that testing we can use ssh to the IaaS server and once all is setup we can test it using the curl command as below:

curl --verbose --header 'Host: www.mywebsite.com' https://ipaddress:port -k

–verbose will give you a detailed overview of the command

–header ‘Host: ‘ will allow us to tell apache2 which domain name are we trying to test.

Then we provide the https://[current ip]:[port] to tell curl that we want to check the response for the above domain name on this ip address and port.

-k will allow curl to ignore any SSL certificate issues if you havent finished transferring the SSL certificates to the server yet.

Apache2 Alias directive in different virtual hosts files

Situation: 

I have two Drupal / PHP websites / applications

https://qa.example.com/app1

https://qa.example.com/app2

I wanted to setup Apache2 to listen for SSL connection on port 9443 and need to have 2 seperate virtual host files or site files under “sites-available” folder in Apache2.

I created something like this for each

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:9443>
ServerName qa.example.com
ServerAdmin [email protected]

Alias /app1 /var/www/html/qa/app1
DocumentRoot “/var/www/html/qa/app1

# Available loglevels: trace8, …, trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
# error, crit, alert, emerg.
# It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
# modules, e.g.
#LogLevel info ssl:warn

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/app1-ssl-qa-error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/app1-ssl-qa-access.log combined

# For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
# enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
# include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
# following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
# after it has been globally disabled with “a2disconf”.
#Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

# SSL Engine Switch:
# Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
SSLEngine on

# A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
# the ssl-cert package. See
# /usr/share/doc/apache2/README.Debian.gz for more info.
# If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
# SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/example.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/example.key

<FilesMatch “\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
</FilesMatch>
# <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
<Directory “/var/www/html/qa/app1”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
</Directory>

</VirtualHost>
</IfModule>

The issue: 

I need Apache to load App1 when app1 url is accessed and app2 when app2 url is accessed. But when setting up the two apps with seperate virtual host files like above, accessing the apps using either urls only loaded the first virtual host listed in Apache.

The Fix:

I had to merge the two aliases to one virtual hosts file like below to make it work how I want.

 

<IfModule mod_ssl.c>
<VirtualHost *:9443>
ServerName qa.example.com
ServerAdmin [email protected]

Alias /app1 /var/www/html/qa/app1
DocumentRoot “/var/www/html/qa/app1

Alias /app2 /var/www/html/qa/app2
DocumentRoot “/var/www/html/qa/app2

# Available loglevels: trace8, …, trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
# error, crit, alert, emerg.
# It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
# modules, e.g.
#LogLevel info ssl:warn

ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/app1-ssl-qa-error.log
CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/app1-ssl-qa-access.log combined

# For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
# enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
# include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
# following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
# after it has been globally disabled with “a2disconf”.
#Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

# SSL Engine Switch:
# Enable/Disable SSL for this virtual host.
SSLEngine on

# A self-signed (snakeoil) certificate can be created by installing
# the ssl-cert package. See
# /usr/share/doc/apache2/README.Debian.gz for more info.
# If both key and certificate are stored in the same file, only the
# SSLCertificateFile directive is needed.
SSLCertificateFile /etc/ssl/certs/example.pem
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/example.key

<FilesMatch “\.(cgi|shtml|phtml|php)$”>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
</FilesMatch>
# <Directory /usr/lib/cgi-bin>
<Directory “/var/www/html/qa/app1“>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
</Directory>

<Directory “/var/www/html/qa/app2“>
SSLOptions +StdEnvVars
Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
AllowOverride All
</Directory>

</VirtualHost>
</IfModule>

 

This way the problem is that we cannot disable one app and keep the other enabled. If anyone knows a solution for this please let me know.

PHP 7.0 and Drupal 7 on Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial

Ubuntu 16.04 doesn’t natively let you install PHP5.6. It only lets you install PHP 7.0. It is a long process to install PHP 5.6 if your server is not allowed to connect to the internet.

Drupal 7, as of Drupal 7.44, (approximately July 2016) supports and works with PHP 7.0 .So you may install PHP 7.0 on Ubuntu 16.04 for Drupal 7 sites instead of jumping through the hoops to get PHP5.6 installed on the server.

 

Reference: Ubuntu Drupal 7 package 

GIT Cherry Picking

Today I had to commit one change into two different branches (master and google). After googling for some time I found out that GIT has a way of picking one commit hash from a branch and apply it onto another branch.

i.e. If we commit a change into google branch and want that commit to be applied into the master branch too then we get the hash code of the commit from the google branch using the command “git log” and apply the commit hash onto the master branch using the following command.

git cherry-pick [commit-hash]

The sequence of commands in my case was as follows: (branches master and google):

git checkout google
git pull origin google

[always pull before commit and push]

git commit -a -m "committing all changes to google branch"
git push origin google
git log

[get the hashcode for the commit above and lets call it 62abc3]

git checkout master
git pull 

[always pull before commit and push]

git cherry-pick 62abc3

 

PHP Short Tags

My project which was written using Codeigniter framework used php short tags and I did some research and setup my localhost to work with it.

PHP short tags refer to the alternative way of writing php tags in a web script. i.e. <?= [function/variable]  ?>instead of <? php  echo [function/variable] ?>


Today while working on one my projects, I found that I needed to turn on PHP SHORT TAGS in the php.ini to make it work properly. The project uses codeigniter framework and the previous developer used php short tags in his code which was not setup on my localhost. So I enabled it by editing the php.ini file and setting the short_open_tag variable to on and then restarted the apache server and it worked.