Redirect HTTP to HTTPS on Apache 2.4

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The last few day’s I’ve been toying with Nagios, setting up a monitoring system. An Apache redirect to HTTPS was one of the tasks I wanted to accomplish. This would redirect the Nagios vhost from HTTP to HTTPS using an Apache 2.4.6 VirtualHost, and no resource expensive rewrite would be necessary.

HTTP to HTTPS redirect in Apache – using VirtualHosts

An easy HTTP to HTTPS redirect in Apache is often better accomplished in the Apache configuration, if you have access to the configuration files, rather than by using a .htaccess file. A rewrite is often a relatively resource expensive operation.

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Apache’s mod_alias provides the Redirect and RedirectMatch directives, which provide a means to redirect one URL to another. This kind of simple redirection of one URL, or a class of URLs, to somewhere else, should be accomplished using these directives rather than a mod_rewrite RewriteRule. The Redirect directives are used to instruct clients to make a new request with a different URL. They are often used when a resource has moved to a new location (source).

Looking to move WordPress to HTTPS? See this guide!

Create Apache VirtualHost directives for HTTP and HTTPS #

The first step in redirecting HTTP traffic to HTTPS in Apache is to create two VirtualHost directives for your website. One for HTTP (*:80) and one for HTTPS (*:443).

The next step is to use the Redirect directive to redirect one VirtualHost to another.

See the following, complete, VirtualHost configuration to redirect Nagios from HTTP to HTTPS on Apache:

<VirtualHost *:443>
  # The ServerName directive sets the request scheme, hostname and port that
  # the server uses to identify itself. This is used when creating
  # redirection URLs. In the context of virtual hosts, the ServerName
  # specifies what hostname must appear in the request's Host: header to
  # match this virtual host. For the default virtual host (this file) this
  # value is not decisive as it is used as a last resort host regardless.
  # However, you must set it for any further virtual host explicitly.
  ServerName www.example.com

  ServerAdmin admin@example.com
  DocumentRoot /data/example.com/http/

  # Available loglevels: trace8, ..., trace1, debug, info, notice, warn,
  # error, crit, alert, emerg.
  # It is also possible to configure the loglevel for particular
  # modules, e.g.
  # LogLevel info ssl:warn

  # For most configuration files from conf-available/, which are
  # enabled or disabled at a global level, it is possible to
  # include a line for only one particular virtual host. For example the
  # following line enables the CGI configuration for this host only
  # after it has been globally disabled with "a2disconf".
  # Include conf-available/serve-cgi-bin.conf

  ScriptAlias /cgi-bin/ "/data/example.com/http/cgi-bin/"
  AddHandler php5-script .php
  AddHandler cgi-script .pl .cgi
  DirectoryIndex index.php
  AddType text/html .php
  <Directory "/data/example.com/http/">
       Options None
       AllowOverride None
  </Directory>

  <Directory "/data/example.com/http/cgi-bin/">
       AllowOverride None
       Options ExecCGI
  </Directory>

  ErrorLog /data/log/example.com/ssl-error.log
  CustomLog /data/log/example.com/ssl-access.log combined

  SSLEngine On
  SSLCertificateFile /data/example.com/ssl/example.com.crt
  SSLCertificateKeyFile /data/example.com/ssl/example.com.key
</VirtualHost>
<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName www.example.com
  DocumentRoot /data/example.com/http/
  ErrorLog /data/log/example.com/error.log
  CustomLog /data/log/example.com/access.log combined

  Redirect / https://www.example.com/
</VirtualHost>

Apache’s mod_alias provides the Redirect and RedirectMatch directives, which provide a means to redirect one URL to another. Use this to set up an apache 2.4 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS.

The Redirect / https://www.example.com/ line is what redirects HTTP traffic to HTTPS, e.g from http://www.example.com to https://www.example.com. The rest of the VirtualHost configuration is pretty much self explanatory.

Pro Tip: For Windows Server IIS you can use IIS’ httpRedirect HTTP to HTTPS

Apache 2.4.6 Require all granted #

One issue you might find upgrading Apache to version 2.4.6 is you have to use Require all granted instead of Order allow,deny and Allow from all when using Access Control:

# 2.2 configuration:
Order allow,deny
Allow from all
# 2.4 configuration:
Require all granted

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