Apache > HTTP Server > Documentation > Version 2.4 > Platform Specific Notes

Compiling Apache for Microsoft Windows

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There are many important points to consider before you begin compiling Apache HTTP Server (httpd). See Using Apache HTTP Server on Microsoft Windows before you begin.

httpd can be built on Windows using a cmake-based build system or with Visual Studio project files maintained by httpd developers. The cmake-based build system directly supports more versions of Visual Studio but currently has considerable functional limitations.


Building httpd with the included Visual Studio project files


Compiling Apache requires the following environment to be properly installed:

Building from Unix sources

The policy of the Apache HTTP Server project is to only release Unix sources. Windows source packages made available for download have been supplied by volunteers and may not be available for every release. You can still build the server on Windows from the Unix source tarball with just a few additional steps.

  1. Download and unpack the Unix source tarball for the latest version.
  2. Download and unpack the Unix source tarball for latest version of APR, AR-Util and APR-Iconv, place these sources in directories httpd-2.x.x\srclib\apr, httpd-2.x.x\srclib\apr-util and httpd-2.x.x\srclib\apr-iconv
  3. Open a Command Prompt and CD to the httpd-2.x.x folder
  4. Run the line endings conversion utility at the prompt;

perl srclib\apr\build\lineends.pl

You can now build the server with the Visual Studio development environment using the IDE. Command-Line builds of the server are not possible from Unix sources unless you export .mak files as explained below.

Command-Line Build

Makefile.win is the top level Apache makefile. To compile Apache on Windows, simply use one of the following commands to build the release or debug flavor:

nmake /f Makefile.win _apacher

nmake /f Makefile.win _apached

Either command will compile Apache. The latter will disable optimization of the resulting files, making it easier to single step the code to find bugs and track down problems.

You can add your apr-util dbd and dbm provider choices with the additional make (environment) variables DBD_LIST and DBM_LIST, see the comments about [Optional] Database libraries, above. Review the initial comments in Makefile.win for additional options that can be provided when invoking the build.

Developer Studio Workspace IDE Build

Apache can also be compiled using VC++'s Visual Studio development environment. To simplify this process, a Visual Studio workspace, Apache.dsw, is provided. This workspace exposes the entire list of working .dsp projects that are required for the complete Apache binary release. It includes dependencies between the projects to assure that they are built in the appropriate order.

Open the Apache.dsw workspace, and select InstallBin (Release or Debug build, as desired) as the Active Project. InstallBin causes all related project to be built, and then invokes Makefile.win to move the compiled executables and dlls. You may personalize the INSTDIR= choice by changing InstallBin's Settings, General tab, Build command line entry. INSTDIR defaults to the /Apache2 directory. If you only want a test compile (without installing) you may build the BuildBin project instead.

The .dsp project files are distributed in Visual Studio 6.0 (98) format. Visual C++ 5.0 (97) will recognize them. Visual Studio 2002 (.NET) and later users must convert Apache.dsw plus the .dsp files into an Apache.sln plus .msproj files. Be sure you reconvert the .msproj file again if its source .dsp file changes! This is really trivial, just open Apache.dsw in the VC++ 7.0 IDE once again and reconvert.

There is a flaw in the .vcproj conversion of .dsp files. devenv.exe will mis-parse the /D flag for RC flags containing long quoted /D'efines which contain spaces. The command:

perl srclib\apr\build\cvtdsp.pl -2005

will convert the /D flags for RC flags to use an alternate, parseable syntax; unfortunately this syntax isn't supported by Visual Studio 97 or its exported .mak files. These /D flags are used to pass the long description of the mod_apachemodule.so files to the shared .rc resource version-identifier build.

Visual Studio 2002 (.NET) and later users should also use the Build menu, Configuration Manager dialog to uncheck both the Debug and Release Solution modules abs, mod_deflate and mod_ssl components, as well as every component starting with apr_db*. These modules are built by invoking nmake, or the IDE directly with the BinBuild target, which builds those modules conditionally if the srclib directories openssl and/or zlib exist, and based on the setting of DBD_LIST and DBM_LIST environment variables.

Exporting command-line .mak files

Exported .mak files pose a greater hassle, but they are required for Visual C++ 5.0 users to build mod_ssl, abs (ab with SSL support) and/or mod_deflate. The .mak files also support a broader range of C++ tool chain distributions, such as Visual Studio Express.

You must first build all projects in order to create all dynamic auto-generated targets, so that dependencies can be parsed correctly. Build the entire project from within the Visual Studio 6.0 (98) IDE, using the BuildAll target, then use the Project Menu Export for all makefiles (checking on "with dependencies".) Run the following command to correct absolute paths into relative paths so they will build anywhere:

perl srclib\apr\build\fixwin32mak.pl

You must type this command from the top level directory of the httpd source tree. Every .mak and .dep project file within the current directory and below will be corrected, and the timestamps adjusted to reflect the .dsp.

Always review the generated .mak and .dep files for Platform SDK or other local, machine specific file paths. The DevStudio\Common\MSDev98\bin\ (VC6) directory contains a sysincl.dat file, which lists all exceptions. Update this file (including both forward and backslashed paths, such as both sys/time.h and sys\time.h) to ignore such newer dependencies. Including local-install paths in a distributed .mak file will cause the build to fail completely.

If you contribute back a patch that revises project files, we must commit project files in Visual Studio 6.0 format. Changes should be simple, with minimal compilation and linkage flags that can be recognized by all Visual Studio environments.


Once Apache has been compiled, it needs to be installed in its server root directory. The default is the \Apache2 directory, of the same drive.

To build and install all the files into the desired folder dir automatically, use one of the following nmake commands:

nmake /f Makefile.win installr INSTDIR=dir
nmake /f Makefile.win installd INSTDIR=dir

The dir argument to INSTDIR provides the installation directory; it can be omitted if Apache is to be installed into \Apache22 (of the current drive).

Warning about building Apache from the development tree

Note only the .dsp files are maintained between release builds. The .mak files are NOT regenerated, due to the tremendous waste of reviewer's time. Therefore, you cannot rely on the NMAKE commands above to build revised .dsp project files unless you then export all .mak files yourself from the project. This is unnecessary if you build from within the Microsoft Developer Studio environment.

Building httpd with cmake

The primary documentation for this build mechanism is in the README.cmake file in the source distribution. Refer to that file for detailed instructions.

Building httpd with cmake requires building APR and APR-util separately. Refer to their README.cmake files for instructions.

The primary limitations of the cmake-based build are inherited from the APR-util project, and are listed below because of their impact on httpd:

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