Apache and Node.js on the Same Server


I want to use Node because it's swift, uses the same language I am using on the client side, and it's non-blocking by definition. But the guy who I hired to write the program for file handling (saving, editing, renaming, downloading, uploading files, etc.), he wants to use apache. So, I must:

  1. Convince him to use Node (he's giving up little ground on that)

  2. Figure out how to upload, download, rename, save, etc. files in node or

  3. I must install apache and node on the same server.

Which is the most favorable situation, and how do I implement that?

10/8/2015 4:20:25 PM

Accepted Answer

Great question!

There are many websites and free web apps implemented in PHP that run on Apache, lots of people use it so you can mash up something pretty easy and besides, its a no-brainer way of serving static content. Node is fast, powerful, elegant, and a sexy tool with the raw power of V8 and a flat stack with no in-built dependencies.

I also want the ease/flexibility of Apache and yet the grunt and elegance of Node.JS, why can't I have both?

Fortunately with the ProxyPass directive in the Apache httpd.conf its not too hard to pipe all requests on a particular URL to your Node.JS application.

ProxyPass /node http://localhost:8000

Also, make sure the following lines are NOT commented out so you get the right proxy and submodule to reroute http requests:

LoadModule proxy_module modules/mod_proxy.so
LoadModule proxy_http_module modules/mod_proxy_http.so

Then run your Node app on port 8000!

var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
  res.end('Hello Apache!\n');
}).listen(8000, '');

Then you can access all Node.JS logic using the /node/ path on your url, the rest of the website can be left to Apache to host your existing PHP pages:

enter image description here

Now the only thing left is convincing your hosting company let your run with this configuration!!!

1/30/2018 11:33:16 PM

This question belongs more on Server Fault but FWIW I'd say running Apache in front of Node.js is not a good approach in most cases.

Apache's ProxyPass is awesome for lots of things (like exposing Tomcat based services as part of a site) and if your Node.js app is just doing a specific, small role or is an internal tool that's only likely to have a limited number of users then it might be easier just to use it so you can get it working and move on, but that doesn't sound like the case here.

If you want to take advantage of the performance and scale you'll get from using Node.js - and especially if you want to use something that involves maintaining a persistent connection like web sockets - you are better off running both Apache and your Node.js on other ports (e.g. Apache on localhost:8080, Node.js on localhost:3000) and then running something like nginx, Varnish or HA proxy in front - and routing traffic that way.

With something like varnish or nginx you can route traffic based on path and/or host. They both use much less system resources and is much more scalable that using Apache to do the same thing.

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