Apache & mod_fcgid Deployment

The Apache/mod_fcgid setup is intended as an easy way for users with shared hosting environments to use python webapps. It adds some overhead over the Apache & mod_wsgi Deployment, so if you administrate your own server, you may want to use that instead.

This tutorial assumes that you already have Apache and mod_fcgid installed and working (mod_fastcgi works as well). If you’re unsure, check with your hosting provider.


The following six components are involved in getting web requests through to MediaDrop with this setup. Don’t worry if this sounds like a lot! By this stage you already have three, and the remaining ones are very easy to set up.

the web server
mod_fcgid or (unmaintained) mod_fastcgi
Apache module that lets Apache run FastCGI scripts
tells Apache which requests to send to our FastCGI script
the FastCGI script, uses flup to run MediaDrop
provides a WSGI interface for MediaDrop to get data from Apache
the reason we’re here!


NOTE 1: You should have already created a deployment.ini file and set the permissions on the data subdirectories as outlined in Step 6: Production Deployments

NOTE 2: The following instructions assume that you’re deploying MediaDrop to http://site.example/my_media/. To deploy MediaDrop to any other directory of your website, the process is very simple: Instead of putting the files into /path/to/document_root/my_media, like in the instructions below, put them into whichever directory (inside your docroot) you want to serve from.

NOTE 3: If deploying MediaDrop inside an existing directory, you must make sure that the MediaDrop .htaccess file doesn’t overwrite any existing .htaccess file in that directory – you’ll have to copy the contents over to the existing .htaccess file if there is one, and make sure that the contents of the two files make sense together.

First, install the flup Python package:

# If your virtual environment is not activated, activate it:
source /path/to/venv/bin/activate

# Install flup:
easy_install flup

Second, create a directory named my_media inside your website’s document root. Copy .htaccess and mediadrop.fcgi from /path/to/mediadrop_install/deployment-scripts/mod_fastcgi into the new my_media directory.

# Create the my_media directory:
cd /path/to/document_root
mkdir my_media

# Copy the deployment files
cp /path/to/mediadrop_install/deployment-scripts/mod_fastcgi/mediadrop.fcgi ./my_media/
cp /path/to/mediadrop_install/deployment-scripts/mod_fastcgi/.htaccess ./my_media/

Third, create symbolic links (symlinks) to the public and the data directory from your MediaDrop installation:

# Create a symlink to the public directory
ln -sf /path/to/mediadrop_install/mediadrop/public ./my_media/public

# Create a symlink to the data directory
ln -sf /path/to/data ./my_media/data

Fourth, you’ll need to edit the paths in my_media/mediadrop.fcgi to point to your own MediaDrop installation and virtual environment. The four (4) lines you need to edit are at the top of the file, and look like this:

python_egg_cache = '/path/to/data/python-egg-cache'
deployment_config = '/path/to/deployment.ini'
temp_dir = '/path/to/data/tmp'

Finally, you need to configure mod_fcgid for large uploads (this step is not necessary for mod_fastcgi). Please add this line to your Apache configuration (the .htaccess file is not enough for this to work!)

# set the max upload size to 300 MB (number is the size in bytes)
FcgidMaxRequestLen 314572800

Testing the Installation

If you don’t see MediaDrop running on http://site.example/my_media you can run ./my_media/mediadrop.fcgi on the command line. If you see a lot of HTML output, the installation itself is good but there is a problem with your Apache configuration or permission setup. A Python traceback means that MediaDrop itself is not correctly installed but the problem should be easy to diagnose (don’t forget to check the forum).

Performance Enhancements

By default, all files are served through MediaDrop. The configuration above ensures that Apache will serve all static files (.css, .js, and images) directly, but MediaDrop will still check for static files before serving any page. There are two speedups we can enable here.

First, edit one line in /path/to/deployment.ini. Find the static_files line, and set it to false.

static_files = false

The second speedup is only available if you have mod_xsendfile installed and enabled in Apache. MediaDrop can take advantage of mod_xsendfile and have Apache serve all media files (.mp3, .mp4, etc.) directly. To enable this, edit another line in /path/to/deployment.ini. Find the files_serve_method line, and set it to apache_xsendfile.

files_serve_method = apache_xsendfile

Changing the MediaDrop Source Code

If you make any changes to your MediaDrop installation while Apache is running (eg. if you upgrade MediaDrop or make any customizations), you’ll need to make sure that mod_fcgid recognizes those changes.

For that you need to kill the appropriate mod_fcgid processes (or just restart Apache).

You're reading the documentation for MediaDrop 0.11dev (current git master). For the latest stable release please consult the documentation for MediaCore CE 0.10.