CentOS / Redhat Enterprise Linux Setup Lighttpd in Chroot Jail

Posted on in Categories CentOS, File system, Howto, lighttpd, MySQL, php, RedHat/Fedora Linux, Security last updated November 2, 2007

Many people asked me to write about setting up Lighttpd under CentOS or RHEL 5 Linux using chroot() call. The instructions are almost same but you need to make little modification as compare to Debian / Ubuntu Linux instructions.

For example purpose we will build jail at /webroot location.
=> Default document root : /home/lighttpd/default/
=> Port : 80
=> IP: Your Public IP address
=> Virtual domain1: /home/lighttpd/vdomain1.com/
=> Virtual domain1 access log file: /var/log/lighttpd/vomain1.com/
=> Default access log file:/var/log/lighttpd/access.log
=> Default error log file:/var/log/lighttpd/error.log
=> Default php error log file: /var/log/lighttpd/php.log

Assumptions

These installation instructions assume you have:

  • Linux distribution
  • Required RPMs (see below for installation instructions)
    • php, php-pear, php-common, php-pdo, php-ldap, php-gd, php-cli, php-mysql
    • mysql, mysql-server etc
    • lighttpd, lighttpd-fastcgi (rpm available here)
  • Installations were tested on Red Hat Enterprise Linux v4/5 or CentOS v4/5 or Fedora Linux 7

Step # 1: Install required packages

Install php and related packages:
# yum install php php-pear php-common php-pdo php-ldap php-gd php-cli php-mysql
Install mysql and related packages:
# yum install mysql mysql-server
Install lighttpd and mod_fastcgi for lighttpd:
# rpm -ivh http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/packages/lighttpd/lighttpd-1.4.18-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm
# rpm -ivh http://dag.wieers.com/rpm/packages/lighttpd/lighttpd-fastcgi-1.4.18-1.el5.rf.i386.rpm

Step # 2: Create /webroot and related directories

# mkdir /webroot
# cd /webroot
# mkdir etc
# mkdir tmp
# chmod 1777 tmp/
# mkdir -p usr/bin
# mkdir -p home/lighttpd/default
# mkdir -p var/run/lighttpd
# mkdir -p var/log/lighttpd
# chown lighttpd:lighttpd var/run/lighttpd/
# chown lighttpd:lighttpd var/log/lighttpd/
# chown -R lighttpd:lighttpd home/

Step # 3: Install chroot script

You need to download and install my script that will help you to build lighttpd in jail:
# cd /sbin/
# wget http://www.cyberciti.biz/files/lighttpd/l2chroot.txt
# mv l2chroot.txt l2chroot
# chmod +x l2chroot

Step # 4: Install php in jail

Now copy php-cgi binary and related shared libraries using l2chroot script:
# cd /webroot/usr/bin
# cp /usr/bin/php-cgi .
# l2chroot php-cgi

Step # 5: Copy required files to /etc

Now you must copy php.ini and related all files to /etc/
# cd /webroot/etc
# cp /etc/passwd .
# cp /etc/group .
# cp /etc/hosts .
# cp /etc/nsswitch.conf .
# cp /etc/resolv.conf .
# cp /etc/php.ini .
# cp -avr /etc/php.d/ .
# cp -avr /etc/ld* .

Update (Oct-1-2008, 1:52pm) : You need to copy entire /etc/ and /usr/share/zoneinfo files to work with latest php version:
# cd /webroot/etc
# /bin/cp -avr /etc/* .

Copy all files from /usr/share/zoneinfo/:
# mkdir -p /webroot/usr/share/
# cd /webroot/usr/share/
# cp -avr /usr/share/zoneinfo/ .

Open group and passwd file and only keep entries for root and lighttpd user:
# vi /webroot/etc/group
Make sure file look as follows:
root:x:0:root
lighttpd:x:101:

Also open passwd file inside jail:
# vi /webroot/etc/passwd
Make sure file look as follows:
root:x:0:0:root:/root:/bin/bash
lighttpd:x:100:101:lighttpd web server:/srv/www/lighttpd:/sbin/nologin

Step # 5: Copy php modules

Now copy php mysql support, php gd and other all modules:
# cd /webroot/usr/lib/
# cp -avr /usr/lib/php/ .
# cd php/modules
# for l in *.so; do l2chroot $l; done

Step # 6: Configure lighttpd chroot call

Open /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf file:
# vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
Setup default document root and chroot directory:
server.document-root = "/home/lighttpd/default/"
server.chroot="/webroot"

Save and close the file.

Step # 7: Restart lighttpd

Type the following command:
# /etc/init.d/lighttpd restart

Jail size

# du -ch /webroot/
Output:

12K     /webroot/var/log/lighttpd
16K     /webroot/var/log
4.0K    /webroot/var/run/lighttpd
8.0K    /webroot/var/run
28K     /webroot/var
8.0K    /webroot/etc/ld.so.conf.d
36K     /webroot/etc/php.d
160K    /webroot/etc
8.0K    /webroot/home/lighttpd/default
12K     /webroot/home/lighttpd
16K     /webroot/home
5.3M    /webroot/lib
4.0K    /webroot/tmp
872K    /webroot/usr/lib/sse2
1.4M    /webroot/usr/lib/mysql
676K    /webroot/usr/lib/php/modules
4.0K    /webroot/usr/lib/php/pear
684K    /webroot/usr/lib/php
9.9M    /webroot/usr/lib
2.9M    /webroot/usr/bin
13M     /webroot/usr
19M     /webroot/
19M     total

Troubleshooting

Always go thought /var/log/messages and server log files:
# tail -f /var/log/messages

Download mysql testing script

Copy and test php mysql connectivity with this script.

Posted by: Vivek Gite

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. He has worked with global clients and in various industries, including IT, education, defense and space research, and the nonprofit sector. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+.

10 comment

  1. Hmm do I have to copy my website files from the old /var/www/docroot to the new /chroot/var/www/docroot

    ? If I let my files to the /var/www/docroot i get 404, if I move them to /chroot/var/www/docroot, lighttpd displays “No input files specified” and if I place them to both location in same time looks like working :/ crazy problem.

    And I have another behaviour, can’t stop services as explained here: http://www.cyberciti.biz/tips/howto-setup-lighttpd-php-mysql-chrooted-jail.html#comment-142040

  2. error message Starting lighttpd: 2008-07-21 08:51:44: (configfile.c.1136) base-docroot doesn’t exist: /home/lighttpd/default/

    fix:
    vi /etc/lighttpd/lighttpd.conf
    server.document-root = “/home/lighttpd/default/”

    needs to be;
    server.document-root = “home/lighttpd/default/”

  3. I needed to copy the /lib/libnss_dns.so.2 to my chroot “/lib” directory becouse the php-cgi wasn’t able to resolve names in fsockopen/fopen/etc.

    (php_network_getaddresses: getaddrinfo failed)

    Thanks!

    []s, MM

  4. Starting lighttpd: 2010-02-21 01:36:28: (configfile.c.1178) base-docroot doesn’t exist: /webroot/home/lighttpd/default/
    2010-02-21 01:36:28: (server.c.584) setting default values failed
    [FAILED]

    Followed the tutorial to the T, and I don’t see where this directory is created. I tried to create this directory myself:

    mkdir /webroot/home/lighttpd/default
    mkdir: cannot create directory `/webroot/home/lighttpd/default’: File exists

    So does this directory exist or what? If it exists, than what’s the problem with lighttpd?

  5. Hi,

    thanks. the jail works perfectly. php pages communicates successfully with mysql server. But just phpmyadmin loads a white page.

    My issue is phpmyadmin that doesn’t work in the jail.
    I don’t know why?. I debug it with strace and copied all of the required libraries to the jail.
    please give me a clue?

    My test environment is as follows:
    CentOs -latest version
    httpd- latest version
    mysql- latest version
    php- latest version
    phpmyadmin- latest version

    regards,
    Ali Aghabagheri

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