Host ASP.NET Core on Apache in Linux

Host ASP.NET Core on Apache in Linux

In this tutorial we will host ASP.NET Core apps on Apache Web Server in Linux. Apache will be used as a reverse proxy server to redirect traffic to an ASP.NET Core web app running on Kestrel server. We will set the whole process in Ubuntu OS.

Install DOT NET on Linux

Let’s install .NET 8.0 SDK which is the latest version right now on our Ubuntu system. First update the system by running the below command.

sudo apt-get update

Next, run the install command for .NET 8.0 sdk.

sudo apt-get install -y dotnet-sdk-8.0

Install DotNet Ubuntu

It will take 3 to 4 minutes to download .NET and installation process to complete. After that run the dotnet --info command to confirm .NET is installed successfully.

dotnet --info

Create ASP.NET Core App

Let’s create an ASP.NET Core app through .NET command-line interface (CLI). Open terminal and run the below .NET CLI command to create MVC based app by the name of ApacheDotNet.

dotnet new mvc --name ApacheDotNet

.NET new cli command

Our ASP.NET Core MVC app is created and we have to add some configurations before hosting it on Apache. First we need to ensure the app should have “hsts and redirection” middlewares present on the Program.cs file. The code lines needed are given below.


So, go inside the app folder with cd ApacheDotNet then open Program class with Nano.

nano Program.cs

nano open program.cs

By default these lines are present in .NET 8.0 apps.

Since Apache will be a reverse proxy server so we need the requests to be forwarded by reverse proxy to the app hosted by Kestrel. We use the Forwarded Headers Middleware from the Microsoft.AspNetCore.HttpOverrides package to do this job. This package is automatically included in .NET 8.0 apps, but for previous versions, you have to add it from NuGet. The middleware updates the Request.Scheme, using the X-Forwarded-Proto header, so that redirect URIs and other security policies work correctly.

At the top of the Program.cs class include the namespace.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.HttpOverrides;

And after var app = builder.Build() code, enter the Forwarded Headers Middleware code which is given below.

app.UseForwardedHeaders(new ForwardedHeadersOptions
    ForwardedHeaders = ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedFor | ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedProto

My Program class now looks as shown below.

using Microsoft.AspNetCore.HttpOverrides;

var builder = WebApplication.CreateBuilder(args);

// Add services to the container.

var app = builder.Build();

app.UseForwardedHeaders(new ForwardedHeadersOptions
    ForwardedHeaders = ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedFor | ForwardedHeaders.XForwardedProto

// Configure the HTTP request pipeline.
if (!app.Environment.IsDevelopment())
    // The default HSTS value is 30 days. You may want to change this for production scenarios, see




    name: "default",
    pattern: "{controller=Home}/{action=Index}/{id?}");


Press Ctrl+S to save the file. Then press Ctrl+x to exit nano.

Run dotnet build command to check for compile time error. It should succeed similar to mine.

dotnet build command

We can now publish the app by the below given CLI command.

dotnet publish --configuration Release

The app is published to a folder – ApacheDotNet/bin/Release/net8.0/publish.

dotnet publish command

We can now run the app through CLI command. So first move inside the publish folder by the command.

cd bin/Release/net8.0/publish

Type ls command to see all the files inside this folder. There is ApacheDotNet.dll file of the app.

run dll command

We can run this dll file through the given CLI command.

dotnet ApacheDotNet.dll

The app starts and is available on http://localhost:5000. See the below image.

dotnet run dll command

Open this url on the browser and you can view the app.

apache dotnet app browser

You can now press Ctrl+C on the terminal to stop kestrel and with it the app will go down. Don’t worry, we will automate this process through a Service in the next section.

In Linux we should put our web apps in /var/www/ folder. Here apps get the necessary priviledges and resources. So make a new folder for our app inside this location. The command is mkdir and is given below.

sudo mkdir /var/www/apachedotnet

The folder apachedotnet is created and we now will copy the app’s published files to it. The command to run from inside the app’s “publish” folder is given below.

sudo cp -r . /var/www/apachedotnet

You can now confirm that all files are copied successfully to this location by runninng the “ls” command as shown below.

ls /var/www/apachedotnet

I have shown this thing in the below image.

linux var/www folder

Create Service file

A service file is a Linux file which contains process that needs to be controller by Linux. Here we can tell Linux to run our app on Kestrel. Let’s create a System file called kestrel-apachedotnet.service inside /etc/systemd/system/ folder. We will use nano to create this file. The command is given below.

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/kestrel-apachedotnet.service

Paste the following code on nano.

Description=Apache DOT NET App

ExecStart=/usr/bin/dotnet /var/www/apachedotnet/ApacheDotNet.dll
# Restart service after 10 seconds if the dotnet service crashes:


Save it and exit from nano. Let’s understand what we have done here.

We have set the /usr/bin/dotnet folder for .NET distributions and telling to execute the app’s dll file i.e./var/www/apachedotnet/ApacheDotNet.dll. This will run the app on Kestrel.

The user that manages the service is specified by the User option which is “www-data” in our case. Then we have RestartSec=10 to configure the duration of time to wait for the app to start else we terminate the app. A SIGKILL signal is issued by Linux to terminate the app.

Let’s enable the service by the below command.

sudo systemctl enable kestrel-apachedotnet.service

After that start this service.

sudo systemctl start kestrel-apachedotnet.service

Now check it’s status by the command.

sudo systemctl status kestrel-apachedotnet.service

The service is running successfully and the app is available at the url – http://localhost:5000. I have shown this status in the below image.


Other important commands, to stop the service use sudo systemctl stop kestrel-apachedotnet.service and to disable the service use sudo systemctl disable kestrel-apachedotnet.service.

With the journalctl command you can view the logs to debug if anything is not working. The command is – sudo journalctl -fu kestrel-apachedotnet.service.

journalctl command

With this we don’t have to manually run the app’s dll file with dotnet cli command as the service will start the app on Kestrel whenever our Linus system starts.

We can now proceed to the installation of Apache Web Server and map this url to apache.

Install Apache in Linux

To install Apache on Ubuntu Linux run the below command on the terminal.

sudo apt install apache2

install apache ubuntu

Once installed, open url – http://localhost on the browser. This will load Apache’s default page.

apache default page

Apache is running successfully.

Some important Apache command.

To check Apache status.

systemctl apache2 status

To restart Apache.

systemctl apache2 restart

The start and stop commands.

systemctl apache2 start
systemctl apache2 stop

Now we need to enable the headers, proxy and proxy_http modules of Apache. So run the below given commands to do so.

systemctl a2enmod headers
systemctl a2enmod proxy
systemctl a2enmod proxy_http

You will get a message to restart Apache so do it now. The restart command – systemctl apache2 restart must be run.

Configure Apache for .NET app

In Ubuntu, Apache’s virtual host configuration files are stored in /etc/apache2/sites-available location. We can create a new configuration for our .NET App and configure Apache Server as a reverse proxy for it. So create a new configuration by the given command.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/apachedotnet.conf

Enter the given configuration to it and save.

<VirtualHost *:*>
    RequestHeader set "X-Forwarded-Proto" expr=%{REQUEST_SCHEME}

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ProxyPreserveHost On
    ProxyPass /
    ProxyPassReverse /
    ServerName  localhost
    ServerAlias *.localhost
    ErrorLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/apachedotnet.log
    CustomLog ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/apachedotnet.log common

Explanation: There are 2 VirtualHost blocks, in the first we have written for RequestHeader. This is necessary for .NET apps when we use a reverse proxy. In the next block we have told apache to listed to port 80. The domain given by “ServerName” is localhost and is being served, the “ServerAlias” is *.localhost and it resolves to the same website. We used localhost since we are hosting the app locally, for production replace them with the domain name, eg.

ServerAlias *

We also need to create a symlink by the below command.

sudo ln -s /etc/apache2/sites-available/apachedotnet.conf /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/apachedotnet.conf

Test for syntax errors by the below command. It should give Syntax OK.

sudo apachectl configtest

Restart Apache for the configurations to become active.

systemctl apache2 restart

Now open the url – http://localhost on the browser to view the app. Congrats, Apache is working correctly and acting as a reverse proxy for the .NET app. Check the below image to confirm.

Apache running .NET app

Host ASP.NET Core App with SSL on Apache

Let’s now use Self-Signed SSL with our ASP.NET Core app. Here we will do 3 things:

  1. Generate self-signed SSL from openSSL.
  2. Add SSL and perform redirection from http to https in Apache itself.
  3. Use a url to host our website.

Use the following openSSL commands to generate server.crt and server.key files for the SSL. Note that when command name is asked enter for it. This is because we will host this app from this domain.

openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 2048
openssl rsa -in server.key -out server.key.insecure
mv server.key
mv server.key.insecure server.key
openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt

Next copy them to certs and private folders.

sudo cp server.crt /etc/ssl/certs
sudo cp server.key /etc/ssl/private

I have shown all the above command in the below image.


Next enable these 2 modules of Apache. These are the rewrite and ssl modules.

sudo a2enmod rewrite
sudo a2enmod ssl

Restart Apache so that new settings are updated.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Open app’s configuration file.

sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/apachedotnet.conf

Add the new configuration which is given below.

<VirtualHost *:*>
    RequestHeader set "X-Forwarded-Proto" expr=%{REQUEST_SCHEME}

<VirtualHost *:80>
    ServerAlias           *
    Redirect permanent     /

<VirtualHost *:443>
    Protocols             h2 http/1.1
    ProxyPreserveHost     On
    ProxyPass             /
    ProxyPassReverse      /
    ServerAlias           *
    ErrorLog              ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/apachedotnet.log
    CustomLog             ${APACHE_LOG_DIR}/apachedotnet.log common
    SSLEngine             on
    SSLProtocol           all -SSLv3 -TLSv1 -TLSv1.1
    SSLHonorCipherOrder   off
    SSLCompression        off
    SSLSessionTickets     on
    SSLUseStapling        off
    SSLCertificateFile    /etc/ssl/certs/server.crt
    SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/server.key

We have added another VirtualHost block for 443 port. This is meant for SSL traffic. In the port 80 VirtualHost block we are redirecting the requests to our domain Also see the SSL files location given by:

SSLCertificateFile    /etc/ssl/certs/server.crt
SSLCertificateKeyFile /etc/ssl/private/server.key 

Restart Apache again for the new settings to take effect.

sudo systemctl restart apache2

Now final thing is to add the entry of the domain in etc/hosts file. Run the nano command given below to open the file.

sudo nano /etc/hosts

At the end of this file add the below entry.

Save and exit. And now open the url – on your browser. First you will see a security warning, click Advanced button and then click Accept the risk and Continue button.

Apache SSL

And voila, the .NET app opens in apache. Notice it is redirected to the https version which is

Apache SSL .NET

View the certificate on the browser which will show you all the details.

ssl certificate

We have perfomed redirection from Apache itself and so we do not need the redirection middleware in the app i.e. remove app.UseHttpsRedirection(); code line. Also note that only one port which is 5000 is opened on kestral.

We successully install .NET, Apache and hosted our app on Apache as a reverse proxy. We did the whole process in Ubuntu Linus. At the end we created an SSL with openSSL and used it on Apache for our app. I hope you enjoyed learning from this tutorial. If you face any difficuly then use the comments section to message me.


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