Apache - RewriteRule in htaccess vs httpd.conf

Typically Apache’s RewriteRule sets from mod_rewrite go in .htaccess files, but sometimes you have a good reason to put them in your general server config instead:

your httpd.conf orapache2.conf file (or a file you Include from one of those). If you’ve done this before, you’ve probably been surprised that it didn’t work quite the same.
So while this works in .htaccess:
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]
Putting the same thing in your VirtualHost doesn’t work at all:
<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName example.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/example/
    <Directory /var/www/example/>
        Allow From All
    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
    RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

Apache doesn’t tell you why it doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work. You most likely will get an Error 500 status with a message in the logs that looks like this:

Request exceeded the limit of 10 internal redirects due to probable configuration error. Use ‘LimitInternalRecursion’ to increase the limit if necessary. Use ‘LogLevel debug’ to get a backtrace.

Getting Some Context
So what went wrong? At issue here is the context of the matching that the RewriteRules do. This is all spelled out in the mod_rewrite documentation, but you have to know where to look:

What is matched?
In VirtualHost context, The Pattern will initially be matched against the part of the URL after the hostname and port, and before the query string (e.g. “/app1/index.html”).
In Directory and htaccess context, the Pattern will initially be matched against the filesystem path, after removing the prefix that led the server to the current RewriteRule (e.g. “app1/index.html” or “index.html” depending on where the directives are defined).
In other words, Apache matches different things depending on whether the RewriteRule or RewriteCond directive is placed inside a <Directory> block. And significantly, everything in an.htaccess file is assumed to be in Directory context.

So rules in a .htaccess file behave the same way as rules in a <Directory> block, which isdifferent from the way rules behave outside a <Directory> block. Armed with this knowledge, we can fix our httpd.conf file just by moving the rules into the <Directory> block:

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerName example.com
    DocumentRoot /var/www/example/
    <Directory /var/www/example/>
        Allow From All
        RewriteEngine On
        RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
        RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

And you’re done! It really is that simple.
Well, mostly that simple. If your .htaccess file is not in the base of your Document Root, then the path prefix is removed before matching. You may want to read that documentation page a bit more closely if you’re doing that.

Special Thanks to TL Tech Services LLC for allowing me to republish it on my blog.

CentOS - LVM quick notes

Please refer to full documentation online - LVM Administrator's Guide

Am not responsible if you break your server by following my notes.

TIP: If not sure, always try on TEST server before running your commands on PRODUCTION.

SCENARIO: There is a Fresh install of CentOS on VM (TEST Server)

[root@localhost ~]# df -h
Filesystem                    Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/mapper/VolGroup-lv_root  6.7G  1.1G  5.3G  17% /
tmpfs                         250M  4.0K  250M   1% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1                     485M   31M  430M   7% /boot

By default LVM is used.

REQUIREMENT: Add new logical volume to the server (use existing Volume Group called "VolGroup").

1. add new Virtual Hard Disk (at VMWARE or VIRTUALBOX level)
2. fdisk -l ( e.g newly added disk is /dev/sdb)
3. pvcreate /dev/sdb
4. pvs (verify)
5. vgextend VolGroup /dev/sdb
6. vgs (verify)
7. lvcreate -L 450M -n mydata VolGroup  (create new logical volume of 450MB named "mydata")
8. lvs (verify, view newly create lvm)
9. ls -l /dev/mapper/ (location of logical volumes)
10.mkfs.ext4 /dev/mapper/VolGroup-mydata (format the new logical volume with ext4)
11.mount /dev/mapper/VolGroup-mydata /mnt/data (mount)
12.vim /etc/fstab and add the following line:
/dev/mapper/VolGroup-mydata     /mnt/data       ext4    defaults        1 1

REQUIREMENT: Remove the newly added logical volume (Rollback above procedure)

1. umount /mnt/data
2. remove the following  line  from /etc/fstab
/dev/mapper/VolGroup-mydata     /mnt/data       ext4    defaults        1 1
3. lvremove /dev/mapper/VolGroup-mydata
4. vgreduce VolGroup /dev/sdb (Remove physical volume from volume group)
5. pvs (verify)
6. pvremove /dev/sdb (remove the LVM label)

Have a nice time with LVM :)

The Zen of Python

    Long time Pythoneer Tim Peters succinctly channels the BDFL's
    guiding principles for Python's design into 20 aphorisms, only 19
    of which have been written down.

The Zen of Python

  1.     Beautiful is better than ugly.
  2.     Explicit is better than implicit.
  3.     Simple is better than complex.
  4.     Complex is better than complicated.
  5.     Flat is better than nested.
  6.     Sparse is better than dense.
  7.     Readability counts.
  8.     Special cases aren't special enough to break the rules.
  9.     Although practicality beats purity.
  10.     Errors should never pass silently.
  11.     Unless explicitly silenced.
  12.     In the face of ambiguity, refuse the temptation to guess.
  13.     There should be one-- and preferably only one --obvious way to do it.
  14.     Although that way may not be obvious at first unless you're Dutch.
  15.     Now is better than never.
  16.     Although never is often better than *right* now.
  17.     If the implementation is hard to explain, it's a bad idea.
  18.     If the implementation is easy to explain, it may be a good idea.
  19.     Namespaces are one honking great idea -- let's do more of those!

The Python logo is a trademark of the Python Software Foundation

Windows 3.1 is still being used in the most important networks and systems today

I was really surprised when I read this news from zdnet :
"A Paris airport was forced to shut down earlier this month after a computer running Windows 3.1, a prehistoric operating system from 23 years ago, crashed in bad weather."
But old is not necessary bad as the article says:
 "A few years ago we did a complete analysis of our entire network. Cyber engineers found out that the system is extremely safe and extremely secure on the way it's developed,"

"Those older systems provide us some, I will say, huge safety, when it comes to some cyber issues that we currently have in the world,"

Read the full report on the below given link.

Practical sed commands

I am posting a summary of my  commands after a bit of Googling and after playing on my CentOS VM with sed.

1. Always backup your files before playing with sed

2.The -i option in sed will replace the original file. So I recommend you run your
sed commands without the -i option first. Once you get the desired results of your sed command you
can then use the -i option.

append after <body>

sed  '/<body>/a Hello World' sample.html
sed -i  '/<body>/a Hello World' sample.html

append contents of file header-js.txt after <body>

sed -i '/<body>/ r header-js.txt' sample.html
sed -i '/<\/body>/ r footer-js.txt' sample.html

Some tests before proceeding further (tip: don't ignore the single quote)

[root@localhost mydir]# find . -name '*.html'

combine find with sed for mass modifications

find . -iname '*.html' -exec sed -i '/<body>/ r header-js.txt' '{}' \;
find . -iname '*.html' -exec sed -i '/<\/body>/ r footer-js.txt' '{}' \;

append at beginning of file

sed -i '1s/^/my script goes here\n/' file

Bandwidth vs Speed Part 2

In one of my earlier posts I wrote about bandwidth vs speed using the road and car analogy.

This post has been written by Chandan Singh Takuli from CISCO.

Too fast Too furious - who doesn't like speed, especially when we talk about the internet or network connectivity? But the real question is, which is better to have: fast speed or more bandwidth? Although these terms are inter-related, they're not same. As an internet or network user, "fast speed" means a faster rate of data communications. That sounds good, because who doesn't want a fast network connection? But when we start thinking about it as network engineers, things change a little bit as we talk about bandwidth over WAN and speed over LAN. Many network engineering friends of mine ask me, "What’s the difference?" So let’s dive into it.

The data traveling speed over media is a different concept than the speed of network we are talking about here. When we say "high speed network," we are not talking about data signals' traveling speed over network media, but we are talking about data transfer speed or rate across the network. Seem a little confusing? 

Let’s look at an example of water flowing through a tap. If a bucket can be filled with water from the tap in 5 minutes, that means we can fill 12 buckets of water in 1 hour, which gives us a rate/speed of 12 buckets/hour. Now if you double the width of the tap pipe and mouth, you will notice that the time taken to fill a single bucket is shortened by almost half and we can fill 24 buckets/hour. So our rate is doubled. (Remember that the water is flowing at the same speed inside the pipe as it was earlier.) The same concept applies in networking: the tap pipe is your link or media, the width of the pipe is your bandwidth, and the water is your data. The rate of data transfer depends on many factors, among which bandwidth is one of them.

“Bandwidth is the capacity and speed is the transfer rate”

More bandwidth does not mean more speed. Yep, you read that right. Suppose you have double the width of the tap pipe, but the water rate is still the same as it was when the tap pipe was half as wide. It will not result in any improvement in speed. When we talk about WAN links, we mostly talk about bandwidth; when we talk about LAN, we mostly talk about speed. This is because we are most limited by costly cable bandwidth over WAN rather than hardware and interface data transfer rates (or speed) over LAN.

I think the main confusion lies in the fact that we were users before we were network engineers. ISPs advertise their high bandwidth services as faster speeds, which gives users a wrong perception of bandwidth. So later on when we see things as network engineers, we get really confused. But I hope this helps clear up for you the difference between bandwidth and speed. Thanks for taking your valuable time to read this.

Cisco - Sending Syslog Messages As SNMP Traps and Informs

The following is an extract from the book Cisco IOS Cookbook,2nd edition (available online)


You want to send syslog messages as SNMP traps or informs.


You can configure the router to forward syslog messages to your network management server as SNMP traps instead of syslog packets with the following configuration commands:
Router#configure terminal 
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
Router(config)#logging history informational
Router(config)#snmp-server enable traps syslog
Router(config)#snmp-server host ORATRAP syslog
To forward syslog messages as SNMP informs, use the following configuration commands:
Router#configure terminal 
Enter configuration commands, one per line.  End with CNTL/Z.
Router(config)#logging history informational
Router(config)#snmp-server enable informs 
Router(config)#snmp-server host informs version 2c ORATRAP syslog


Cisco routers normally forward syslog messages via the syslog facility by using UDP port 514. However, in networks that support SNMP traffic only, Cisco routers can encapsulate their syslog messages into SNMP traps before sending them.
This feature is most useful if your network management software doesn’t support the syslog protocol. However, since routers can produce many more syslog messages than SNMP traps, we recommend using syslog when possible.