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On Unix based systems, services listening on privileged ports require the blessing of the system administrator. This indicates that the service is being run by a trusted (at least by the administrator) user. Users of such services can then trust there is some administrative oversight of the server application. The value of this trust may not be as great ...


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There are several reasons to start a web server as root: to bind to port 80 (ports below 1024 are reserved to root, so that if a remote user is connecting to a service on a low port, they know that this service is approved by root); to set up confinement, e.g. chroot; to read and serve users' web pages, where applicable. That least reason is a poor ...


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Although POSIX has a standard for capabilities which I think includes CAP_NET_BIND_SERVICE, these are not required for conformance and may in some ways be incompatible with the implementation on, e.g., linux. Since webservers like apache are not written for only one platform, using root privileges is the most portable method. I suppose it could do this ...



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