How to list enabled VirtualHosts in Apache on GNU / Linux and FreeBSD

How Apache process vhost requests picture, how to list Apache virtualhosts on Linux and FreeBSD

I decided to start this post with this picture I found on onlamp.com article called “Simplify Your Life with Apache VirtualHosts .I put it here because I thing it illustrates quite well Apache’s webserver internal processes. The picture gives also a good clue when Virtual Hosts gets loaded, anways I’ll go back to the main topic of this article, hoping the above picture gives some more insight on how Apache works.;
Here is how to list all the enabled virtualhosts in Apache on Debian GNU / Linux serving pages:

server:~# /usr/sbin/ apache2ctl -S
VirtualHost configuration:
wildcard NameVirtualHosts and _default_ servers:
*:* is a NameVirtualHost
default server exampleserver1.com (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default:2)
port * namevhost exampleserver2.com (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default
port * namevhost exampleserver3.com (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/exampleserver3.com:1)
port * namevhost exampleserver4.com (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/exampleserver4.com:1)
...
Syntax OK

The line *:* is a NameVirtualHost, means the Apache VirtualHosts module will be able to use Virtualhosts listening on any IP address (configured on the host), on any port configured for the respective Virtualhost to listen on.

The next output line:
port * namevhost exampleserver2.com (/etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default Shows requests to the domain on any port will be accepted (port *) by the webserver as well as indicates the <VirtualHost> in the file /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default:2 is defined on line 2 (e.g. :2).

To see the same all enabled VirtualHosts on FreeBSD the command to be issued is:

freebsd# pcfreak# /usr/local/sbin/httpd -S VirtualHost configuration:
wildcard NameVirtualHosts and _default_ servers:
*:80 is a NameVirtualHost
default server pc-freak.net (/usr/local/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:1218)
port 80 namevhost pc-freak.net (/usr/local/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:1218)
port 80 namevhost pcfreak.afraid.org (/usr/local/etc/apache2/httpd.conf:1353)
...
Syntax OK

On Fedora and the other Redhat Linux distributions, the apache2ctl -S should be displaying the enabled Virtualhosts.

One might wonder, what might be the reason for someone to want to check the VirtualHosts which are loaded by the Apache server, since this could be also checked if one reviews Apache / Apache2’s config file. Well the main advantage is that checking directly into the file might sometimes take more time, especially if the file contains thousands of similar named virtual host domains. Another time using the -S option is better would be if some enabled VirtualHost in a config file seems to not be accessible. Checking directly if Apache has properly loaded the VirtualHost directives ensures, there is no problem with loading the VirtualHost. Another scenario is if there are multiple Apache config files / installs located on the system and you’re unsure which one to check for the exact list of Virtual domains loaded.

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