What is an Apache Web Server?
Apache Web Server or the Apache HTTP Server is web server software that delivers pages of your website to viewers browsers. Since April 1996, the Apache web server application has been the most popular example of web server software. As of February 2010 Apache web server software serves over 54.46% of all websites around the world.
Another notable thing about Apache web server is that it became the first web server software to touch and surpass the 100 million web site milestone in 2009. Most of the web servers using Apache run on Unix or a Unix-like operating system such as Linux.
Apache web server software is open source and is maintained by developers from around the world. Apache web server works on a wide range of operating systems like UNIX, GNU, FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Novell NetWare, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, TPF, and eComStation.
Features of an Apache Web Server
The Apache web server software offers many features. Some common language interfaces supported by Apache web server include Perl, Python, Tcl, and PHP. Popular authentication modules that are supported include mod_access, mod_auth, mod_digest, and mod_auth_digest, the successor to mod_digest. Apache web server’s other features include SSL and TLS support, a proxy module, a URL rewriter, custom log files, and filtering support. Through Virtual Private Hosting, one Apache installation can serve many different websites. Apache web server also allows configurable error messages, DBMS-based authentication databases, and content negotiation. It is also supported by several graphical user interfaces (GUIs).
Uses of an Apache Web Server
An Apache web server can be used to serve both static HTML content based websites as well as dynamic websites.
If you have website content that needs to be served in a secure and reliable manner, you could consider using Apache. One application of this is the sharing files from a desktop or laptop over the Internet.
An Apache Web server is rich in Web server features that include CGI, SSL, and support for virtual domains. Apache also supports plug-in modules for extensibility. Apache is reliable, free, and relatively easy to configure.
Advantages of an Apache Web Server
There are many advantages of using Apache for end users, developers and web administrators. Some of these are summarized below:
Apache is feature-richApache supports and implements the latest protocols and offers a variety of useful features.
Apache is customizableApache has a modular architecture that allows you to build a server that is completely customized based on the requirement.
Apache administration is simpleThe configuration files of Apache are in ASCII and have a simple format. This means that they can easily be edited using any text editor. Since these are transferable, cloning a server is easy. It also allows you to control your Apache Web Server from the command line, making for convenient remote administration.
Apache is extensibleApache is a constantly evolving. It’s API and source code is open. This means that if you need a custom module, you could develop it yourself and share it with the Apache development community. Likewise, there is a good chance that a vast majority of modules have already been developed by other developers and easily available online.
Apache is efficientApache’s C code is optimized for performance. What this translates into is that an Apache Web Server runs faster and consumes less systems resources than many other servers.
Apache is portable across operating systemsApache runs on a wide variety of operating systems, including all variants of UNIX, Windows 9x/NT, MacOS (on PowerPC), and various others.
Apache offers stability and reliabilityBecause the Apache source code is open to public, bugs are easily communicated and quickly fixed. Updates follow the bug fix and over a period of time, this has made the Apache web server more stable and very reliable as a web server.
Support for ApacheThe Apache Group comprises of a large number of dedicated users and developers. Many companies who market commercial versions of the Apache web server also offer support.