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You've already received a few answers here, but one that seems to have been missed:

Use something other than ubuntu. Although there may be others out there, I'm unaware of any other distro that disables root. Complaining about disabling root is an ubuntu-specific complaint - it doesn't apply to linux in general, let alone unix.

Also, if you don't like using passwords, copy-ssh-id is your friend.

As for apache, I don't play with it much so I can't comment there. It certainly scares me :)

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