Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu


Deepak Prasad

Ubuntu

This tutorial covers step by step instructions to install Caddy web server on Ubuntu, configuring it with a Caddyfile, and setting up a basic website, focusing on features like automatic HTTPS and simple commands for beginners.

Caddy is an open-source web server written in Go. It's known for its simplicity and ease of use, and it's particularly famous for its automatic HTTPS support. Here are some of its key features:

  1. Automatic HTTPS: Caddy automatically obtains and renews SSL/TLS certificates from Let's Encrypt, enabling secure, encrypted HTTP connections without manual intervention.
  2. Simplicity: Caddy is designed with simplicity in mind, making it easy to configure and deploy.
  3. Performance: Written in Go, Caddy is fast and efficient, suitable for both small and large-scale web applications.
  4. Extensibility: It supports various plugins, allowing additional functionality like webmail, Git support, and more.
  5. Modern Protocol Support: Caddy supports modern protocols like HTTP/2 and QUIC, offering improved performance over traditional HTTP.

 

Steps to install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu

1. Update Package List

Before installing Caddy, it's good practice to update your system. This ensures you have the latest security patches and software versions. Use the following apt command with sudo privilege:

sudo apt update

This command updates the list of available packages and their versions, but it does not install or upgrade any packages.

 

2. Install Required Keyrings and HTTPS Transport

The debian-keyring and debian-archive-keyring packages contain the archive keys of the Debian archive, ensuring the authenticity of packages downloaded from Debian repositories. The apt-transport-https package allows the APT package manager to retrieve packages over HTTPS, ensuring secure communication.

sudo apt install -y debian-keyring debian-archive-keyring apt-transport-https
Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu

 

3. Add Caddy's GPG Key

Next we need to download and add the GPG Key required to add and access the repository which will add in next step.

curl -1sLf 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/gpg.key' | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /usr/share/keyrings/caddy-stable-archive-keyring.gpg
  • curl -1sLf: Downloads data from a URL.
    • -1sLf flags ensure the operation follows redirects (L), fails silently on server errors (f), and uses secure connections (1s).
  • URL 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/gpg.key': This is the address where the GPG key for the Caddy repository is located.
  • |: Pipes the downloaded key to the next command.
  • sudo gpg --dearmor: Converts the downloaded GPG key into a format that APT can understand.
  • -o /usr/share/keyrings/caddy-stable-archive-keyring.gpg: Specifies the output file for the converted key.

 

4. Add Caddy Repository to APT Sources

This command will add Caddy's official repository to your system. This ensures you get the latest version and updates.

curl -1sLf 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/debian.deb.txt' | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/caddy-stable.list
  • curl -1sLf: Similar to the previous step, this command downloads the repository source list.
  • URL 'https://dl.cloudsmith.io/public/caddy/stable/debian.deb.txt': Contains the APT source list for the Caddy repository.
  • | sudo tee: This command is used to write the output of the previous command to a file while also displaying it.
  • /etc/apt/sources.list.d/caddy-stable.list: The file where the Caddy repository source list is stored.
Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu

 

5. Install Caddy

Now, update the package list and install Caddy:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install caddy

This will install the Caddy web server on your system.

 

6. Verify Installation

To check if Caddy is installed correctly, you can run:

$ caddy version
v2.7.6 h1:w0NymbG2m9PcvKWsrXO6EEkY9Ru4FJK8uQbYcev1p3A=

The installation of Caddy Web Server is now complete. You have successfully downloaded and installed Caddy, and it is ready to be configured for hosting websites

 

7. Allow HTTP and HTTPS Connections in Firewall

To enable Caddy to serve websites using HTTP and HTTPS protocols, you must grant access to ports 80 and 443. Execute the following commands to allow the required ports in UFW firewall which is the default firewall in Ubuntu:

sudo ufw allow proto tcp from any to any port 80,443

 

8. Enable and start Caddy Web Server Service

Now that Caddy is installed on your Ubuntu server, the next step is to start the Caddy service. We will enable the service to auto start on reboot and also start the service for the current session using systemctl command:

sudo systemctl enable caddy --now

The enable argument will enable the service to auto start during reboot event while --now will start the service for current session.

 

9. Verify Service Status

Check the caddy web server service status to make sure it un running properly:

sudo systemctl status caddy
Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu

 

10. Access the Caddy Welcome Page (Optional)

Caddy provides a simple welcome page that you can use to verify its initial functionality. Open your web browser and navigate to `http://localhost ` or `http://your-server-ip `. If you see the Caddy welcome page, it means Caddy is running successfully.

Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu

Caddy is now up and running on your Ubuntu server. It's actively listening for incoming requests and ready to serve content. With the service started, you can proceed to configure Caddy for hosting your website and leveraging its advanced features.

Continue to the next steps to configure Caddy using the Caddyfile, deploy your first website, and explore the rich capabilities that Caddy offers in the realm of web hosting.

 

Steps to Set Up a Website with Caddy Web Server

Setting up a website with Caddy is an elegant and straightforward process. In this section, I'll take you through each step, providing examples and code to help you understand the process. By the end, you will have a basic website running on your Ubuntu server using Caddy.

 

1. Create the Website Directory

First, you need to create a directory where your website's files will reside. Replace mywebsite with your desired directory name.

sudo mkdir -p /var/www/mywebsite

Set Proper Permissions

sudo chown -R www-data:www-data /var/www/mywebsite

This command changes the ownership of the directory to the web server user, www-data, ensuring Caddy can access and serve the files.

 

2. Adding Content to Your Website

Now let’s create a basic HTML page to serve as your website’s homepage.

sudo vim /var/www/mywebsite/index.html

In the vim editor, write a basic HTML structure. For example

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <title>My First Caddy Site</title>
</head>
<body>
    <h1>Welcome to My Caddy-Powered Site!</h1>
    <p>This is a basic HTML page served by Caddy.</p>
</body>
</html>

 

3. Configuring Caddy to Serve the Website

Caddy uses a configuration file called Caddyfile to manage website settings.

sudo nano /etc/caddy/Caddyfile

In the Caddyfile, you’ll define how Caddy should serve your site. A simple configuration for a basic site looks like this:

mywebsite.com {
    root * /var/www/mywebsite
    file_server
}

Replace mywebsite.com with your domain. If you don’t have a domain, you can use your server’s IP address.

If you have an application running on a different port that you want to serve through Caddy, you can use the reverse_proxy directive.

reverse_proxy localhost:8080

If you're running a PHP site, you can use the php_fastcgi directive.

php_fastcgi localhost:9000

To apply the new configuration, restart Caddy:

sudo systemctl reload caddy

 

4. Testing Your Website

Now, it's time to see your website in action.

  • Open a web browser.
  • Navigate to http://mywebsite.com or http://<your_server_ip>.
Simple Steps to Install Caddy Web Server on Ubuntu
NOTE:
When testing locally, especially without a valid domain, HTTPS might not work because it requires a valid domain for SSL/TLS certificates. You can test with HTTP for local development purposes.

 

5. Troubleshooting Issues

  1. Verify DNS Settings:
    • Make sure your domain's DNS records (A and/or AAAA records) correctly point to the public IP address of the server where Caddy is running.
    • This change might take some time to propagate (up to 48 hours in some cases).
  2. Check Domain Status:
    • Ensure your domain is not parked and is active.
    • If you recently purchased or transferred the domain, wait until the domain becomes fully operational.
  3. Retry Certificate Generation:
    • Once you're sure the DNS settings are correct, restart Caddy to trigger the SSL certificate request process again
    • sudo systemctl restart caddy
  4. Monitor Logs for New Errors:
    • journalctl -u caddy --since "10 minutes ago"
    • journalctl -u caddy --since today

You have successfully set up a basic website with Caddy on Ubuntu. This setup is ideal for personal projects, portfolios, and small websites. As you become more familiar with Caddy, you can explore its extensive documentation to leverage its full potential.

Caddy's official documentation is an excellent resource for deepening your knowledge and understanding of its advanced capabilities.

 

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Deepak Prasad

He is the founder of GoLinuxCloud and brings over a decade of expertise in Linux, Python, Go, Laravel, DevOps, Kubernetes, Git, Shell scripting, OpenShift, AWS, Networking, and Security. With extensive experience, he excels in various domains, from development to DevOps, Networking, and Security, ensuring robust and efficient solutions for diverse projects. You can reach out to him on his LinkedIn profile or join on Facebook page.

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