Apache restarts with vlad

Often when deploying a new web application you need to restart the apache process. If you’re deploying the application with vlad the deployer as a non-root user (which you should be doing) and you need to restart apache, this can be a little tricky. Luckily there’s a Linux command called sudo which allows you to run commands from a non-root user’s account as though you were root. We’ll limit the commands to just controlling the apache process. It’s a bad idea to give open access with sudo since the user can simply run “sudo su -” and become root.

In order to edit the configuration file that sudo uses (/etc/sudoers btw) we use the visudo command, which edits the file in a safe way by checking for simultaneous users editing the file, parse errors, etc. The idea being to minimize the number of mistakes that can be made. You’ll need to be root (or have sudo permission!) to edit the file:

  # visudo

This brings up an editor screen, whatever you have configured as your default editor. The example below is for Ubuntu, so if you’re using a different distro or web server you’ll need to change the location of the init scripts accordingly (i.e. Ubuntu uses /etc/init.d/apache2 but your distro may use /etc/init.d/httpd or /etc/init.d/lighttpd if you’re running Lighttpd.) I’ll also assume you’re calling the deployment user deploy.

Here are the lines you want to add:

Cmnd_Alias     APACHE = /etc/init.d/apache2 start, /etc/init.d/apache2 stop, /etc/init.d/apache2 restart, /etc/init.d/apache2 reload
# Allow the deploy user to control apache

Now save the file, and log in as your deploy user. You should be able to restart apache with the above commands by running:

deploy@steve:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

Now in your vlad tasks, use the sudo version above to kick the webserver over when you do a deploy:

         # desc "Starts Apache"
         remote_task :start => :settings do
             run 'sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 start'

         # desc "Restarts Apache"
         remote_task :restart => :settings do
             run 'sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 restart'

         # desc "Stop Apache"
         remote_task :stop => :settings do
             run 'sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 stop'