Running a web server on your local machine can be incredibly useful for development, testing, or even hosting personal projects. Apache is a popular web server software that runs on macOS. While macOS comes with a version of Apache pre-installed, it doesn't automatically start upon booting the system.

For developers or administrators who frequently use Apache on their macOS systems, it can be convenient to have Apache start automatically every time the system boots up. This ensures that the web server is always available without manual intervention.

macOS uses the launchd system process as its init system, which initializes other processes. macOS already has a launchd service definition for Apache. To make Apache start automatically, you'll need to load it using launchctl.

Steps to automatically start Apache during macOS startup:

  1. Launch Terminal application.
  2. Check if current Apache configuration is valid.
  3. Start httpd process manually to use Apache immediately.
    $ sudo apachectl -k start
  4. Check if httpd process successfully run.
    ps -aef | grep httpd
        0   161     1   0 Sun04AM ??         0:04.05 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501   800   161   0 Sun04AM ??         0:02.54 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501  1007   161   0 Sun04AM ??         0:02.62 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501  1381   161   0 Sun07AM ??         0:01.71 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501  4472   161   0 Tue07AM ??         0:01.74 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501  4473   161   0 Tue07AM ??         0:01.17 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
      501  4474   161   0 Tue07AM ??         0:01.06 /usr/sbin/httpd -D FOREGROUND
  5. Use launchctl to load Apache's service and ensure it starts on boot.
    $ sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist
  6. Disable Apache from automatically starting up during system boot when no longer necessary.
    $ sudo launchctl unload -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist 
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