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I have a web page on a Linux server I administer, running Apache 2.2. This server is visible to the outside world for some other services.

I would like to configure Apache so that a given virtual host is only visible from inside the local network, so I can deploy a web application to get feedback from other people in my organization. I reckon this has to do with the Allow directive, but my experiments are not going well.

How can I alter my config file to achieve that? Should I change the firewall configuration as well?

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Are you using a private (non-routable) IP address such as 10.0.0.100 or public (routable) IP address for your server? –  closetnoc Mar 19 at 16:48
    
The server has a public IP address, and I can connect to it from outside the work network - from home, for example. The colleagues' computers all have local IP addresses of the 10.*.*.* type. –  Btz Mar 20 at 0:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Easy. Just set something like this within your main configuration or your virtual configuration:

<Directory /var/www/path/to/your/web/documents>

  Order Deny,Allow
  Deny from all
  Allow from 127.0.0.1 ::1
  Allow from localhost
  Allow from 192.168
  Allow from 10
  Satisfy Any

</Directory>

The <Directory></Directory> statement basically says, “Use these rules for anything in this directory. And by “this directory” that refers to the /var/www/path/to/your/web/documents which I have set in this example but should be changed to match your site’s local directory path.

Next within the <Directory></Directory> area you are changing the default Apache behavior which Allow’s all by default to Order Deny,Allow. Next, you set Deny from all from denies access from everyone. Follwing that are the Allow from statements which allows access from 127.0.0.1 ::1 (localhost IP address), localhost (the localhost itself). That’s all the standard stuff. Since access from localhost is needed for many internal system processes.

What follows is the stuff that matters to you.

The Allow from for 192.168 as well as 10 will allow access from any/all network addresses within the network range that is prefixed by those numbers.

So by indicating 192.168 that basically means if a user has an address like 192.168.59.27 or 192.168.1.123 they will be able to see the website.

And similarly using the Allow from for the 10 prefix assures that if someone has an IP address of 10.0.1.2 or even 10.90.2.3 they will be able to see the content.

Pretty much all internal networks in the world use either the 192.168 range or something in the 10 range. Nothing external. So using this combo will achieve your goal of blocking access to the outside world but only allow access from within your local network.

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Add this section inside your virtual host directive:

<Location /mypathurl>
    Order deny,allow
    Deny from all
    Allow from 192.168.1.10
</Location>

Replace your IP above. This should not be used for financial level security, FYI.

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I do not know how you have your network setup, however, I am assuming somethings to try and make a better answer.

Let's assume you have a have a small office with a DSL connection. You would have a static public IP address or a block of addresses assigned to your line, a DSL modem, and a firewall. Without getting into the details of how this happens, I will get to the important part.

You should be using NAT (network address translation). This allows the public IP addresses to reside on the WAN (Internet) side of your network and use private IP addresses (like 10.0.0.100) within the network on the LAN side. This is standard operation procedure. If you host a web server within your network, then you would use port forwarding or other similar mechanism) to point any web traffic to your web server.

In this standard scenario, your internal computers would all use the private IP addresses.

Assuming that you have a similar standard network setup, you would change your computer IP address from a public IP address to a private IP address. Your network may have DHCP setup where your computer can request an available IP address. This means that instead of specifying an IP address, you select to use DHCP and an IP address will be assigned. If DHCP is not available, then you would have to check some other computers for a private IP address space that may be used and select an IP address within the space that is not used. You can specify this unused IP address in your network setup. This should keep your system from being seen on the Internet.

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I thought about it, but it's not a practical solution. There are services on that machine that have to remain visible to the outside, and in any case I plan to make the web application visible again in a few days - no point in revolutionizing the network layout just for a few days. What I can work on, however, is things like the Apache configuration. –  Btz Mar 20 at 10:34
    
If you have a firewall, then you can close some ports to that IP address. –  closetnoc Mar 20 at 15:36
    
Firewall settings could be used, but that is really overkill. Apache has built in functionality to deny or allow based on IP address & other related criteria. See my answer for more details. –  JakeGould Aug 17 at 18:56
    
@JakeGould Firewalls are not necessarily an overkill solution. I do know Apache really really well. However, there are HTTP filtering options in most good firewalls that help without putting a load on the server itself. As well, while Apache is excellent, it is not without fault. As well, port accesses including alternative port accesses can be manipulated using a firewall so that some web services remain public and others are only accessible within the LAN. –  closetnoc Aug 17 at 21:53

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