Use sudo or sudoers to start, stop & restart Apache

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Q. I am responsible for 5 Apache webservers. Recently we hired a new Linux sys admin. How do I give new admin only permission to start and restart Apache web server? How do I setup sudo for the same via sudoers file? I am using RedHat Enterprise Linux.

A. sudo allows a permitted user to execute a command as the superuser or another user, as specified in the sudoers file. The real and effective uid and gid are set to match those of the target user as specified in the passwd file and the group vector is initialized based on the group file.

sudo is great way to avoid security problems. sudo requires that users authenticate themselves with a password by default. sudo also logs user command is log file.

Use visudo command to setup job for a new sys admin called jerry, so that user can start or stop Apache webserver:
# visudo
Append following line:
vivek hostname=/etc/init.d/httpd start, /etc/init.d/httpd stop,/etc/init.d/httpd restart, /sbin/services httpd restart

Save and close the file. Jerry has to type following command:
$ sudo /etc/init.d/httpd restart

When prompted jerry need to provide his password. More information is regarding sudo is available here.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

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4 comment

  1. Sudo is kind of the standard in this area, but here are a few others that might be of interest to people:

    calife
    chiark-really

    That said, I use sudo. :-)

  2. If you want to achieve it without typing password, then type “visudo” and put:

    webalizer ALL=NOPASSWD: /sbin/service httpd start, /sbin/service httpd stop, /sbin/service httpd restart

  3. The line appended to the sudoers file it should read:
    jerry hostname=/etc/init.d/httpd start, …
    instead of
    vivek hostname=/etc/init.d/httpd start, …
    as long as of course Jerrys username is jerry and not vivek.

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