Recently my two-and-half year old MacBook Pro has been a little unstable with a few crashes where I had to hard reset to reboot the computer. I have Windows 7 installed using Bootcamp on one partition and sometimes I play I/O intensive games on this computer and I’m not surprised that the crashes are caused by wear and tear of the hard drive due to age.

I have been considering reinstalling the OS’s on this computer, but I have to save my projects on this computer before I do that. Most of my files are saved on Dropbox during my work days, but there are a couple of PHP website projects located in my Sites folder and these projects can be reached through http://localhost/~jeff/project/

What I would like to do is to move these projects to my Dropbox folder, but still allow Apache to serve these projects. I decided to put a link in my Sites folder for each of my projects located in Dropbox so that I can use the same URL. The following are the steps to enable Apache links:

1. Create the symbolic link to the project folder

cd /Users/Jeff/Sites
ln -s /Users/Jeff/Dropbox/Projects/project_name project_name

2. Open the Apache config file for your user name (for me it is /etc/Apache2/users/Jeff.conf) and add FollowSymLinks to the file so the file is as follows:

<Directory "/Users/Jeff/Sites/">
    Options Indexes MultiViews **FollowSymLinks**
    AllowOverride None
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

3. Open the main Apache config file (/etc/Apache2/httpd.conf) and add the following line somewhere in there

Include /private/etc/apache2/users/*.conf

4. According to this, all levels of the physical path to projects needs to have read and execute permission. So I did the following:

cd /Users/Jeff
chmod a+rx Dropbox

5. Restart Apache

sudo /usr/sbin/apachectl restart

The projects can be accessed http://localhost/~jeff/project/, but not sure why http://localhost/~jeff/project does not work.


  1. Serving apache files from alternate directories with symbolic links
  2. Restart Apache in Mac OS X