Redirecting HTTP requests to a Python script in Apache2

authored by Frank Lynam at 05/02/2013 19:42:29

This blog post shows how to configure your Apache2 service to accept requests for a virtual directory, which will then be redirected on to a Python script. Obviously, you could adapt these instructions quite easily to redirect to a PHP or any other script or indeed to redirect to a static file.

My setup is as follows:

·      Ubuntu v12.04.1 LTS

·      Apache 2.2.22

·      Python 2.7.3

·      Web Server Gateway Interface (WGSI) 3.3-4

First off, you need to setup your WSGI Apache2 module. Install it using apt-get install and then go to the /etc/apache2/mods-enabled directory. Open up the wsgi.conf file and replace any content with the following lines:

<IfModule mod_wsgi.c>

  # Handle all .py files with mod_wsgi
  <FilesMatch "$">
        SetHandler wsgi-script

  # Deny access to compiled binaries
  # You should not serve these to anyone
  <FilesMatch "|o)$">
    Order Deny,Allow
    Deny from all


This instructs Apache2 to first route all served files that have a .py extension to the WSGI compiler before sending it on to the user.

Next, you need to setup your virtual directory. On my Apache2 setup I’m using virtual hosts and so I do this in the /etc/apache2/sites-enabled/000-default file (or whichever file that represents the site that you want to affect). Add in the following lines at the top of the relevant virtual host’s tag:

	RewriteEngine On RewriteOptions Inherit
	RewriteRule ^/rdf(.*)$ /var/www/python/$1

This instructs Apache2 to redirect all requests that are received for [site_root]/rdf/ to the script located /var/www/python/ Any additional characters contained in the requested URL will be sent on to the Python script as a query string. These can then be accessed within the script via environment['QUERY_STRING'].

For example if the user sends a request for [site_root]/rdf/test the Python script’s environment['QUERY_STRING'] will contain the string ‘test’.


Good doc. A few questions:

- Is the first <filesmatch> missing a .py regular expression? How does it know to match the .py files?

- Should 'RewriteEngine On RewriteOptions Inherit' be on separate lines? RewriteOptions is probably not required inside a VirtualHost block. 

- The RewriteRule at the moment takes rdf followed by anything. For example, it matches rdfsomething. You probably want it to only match rdf/something. You could try two rules where the second one requires a /, like this:

RewriteRule ^/rdf$ /var/www/python/

RewriteRule ^/rdf/(.*)$ /var/www/python/$1



(henry, 07/02/2013 12:00:10)


Thanks for the comments.

Yep, the regular expression is missing in the FileMatch tag. It must have been removed when I copied it over - a problem with '<' characters in HTML, I think.

I'll try omitting the RewriteOptions command and will put in that '/' suggestion.



(Frank Lynam, 07/02/2013 12:14:19)