Any website on the Internet needs to be hosted on a web server application that does the job of delivering the pages from the hosted website to a visitor’s browser. Since it was created, Apache has grown rapidly in popularity and acceptance to become the single most popular web server application. To give a measure of its success, in 2010, it served close to 55% of all the websites in the world. It was also the very first web server to cross the 100 million websites mark just a year before. Most web servers using Apache run on UNIX, Linux or similar operating system. As an open source software, it is maintained, developed on and added to by many developers all around the world, keeping it constantly updated and evolving as the web hosting needs change.
It has many features that have resulted in its overwhelming popularity. Support for programming languages and interfaces including Python, PHP, Perl, Tcl, etc.; authentication modules like mod_access, mod_auth and mod_digest. Its rich feature list includes support for SSL and TLS, proxy, URL rewriter, custom log files creation, support for filtering and much more.
For virtual private hosts, it is the perfect web hosting solution becaise just one instance supports and hosts a number of websites making it cost effective. It lets you configure and customize error messages, set up DBMS-based authentication databases, content negotiation and more. And finally, Apache supports a number of graphical user interfaces. No wonder then that it’s so popular!
Uses of an Apache Server
- Both static HTML based and dynamic websites can use an Apache server.
- It’s most commonly used when there is a need to serve secure content to an audience.
- Its features as a web server include CGI, SSL, supports for virtual domains, and plug-in modules.
- It’s free, reliable and easy to configure.
- Feature rich: It is extremely rich in features that are very useful for modern websites and follows the latest web protocols.
- Customizable: Its modular architecture lends itself to customization when there is a need to build a server configuration to the needs of a client.
- Ease of Administration: The configuration files in apache use ASCII. That makes them extremely simple to administer because it is east to edit the files using any text editor.
- Extensible: With its open source architecture and API, it is a server application that is always evolving thanks to the development done on it by developers around the world. Because of this extensibility, any developer can create a custom module and submit it for use by other developers through the Apache development community.
- Efficiency: It’s lean, fast and consequently uses very few system resources. The C code that it is based on is designed for performance optimization.
- OS Independent: It can run on a variety of operating systems like UNIX, Windows 9x/NT, MacOS and many others.
- Stability: Over the years, it has evolved and grown into an extremely reliable and stable web server. Communication and reporting of possible bugs is seamless and easy thanks to its open source code. This also means that bugs are addressed by developers around the world, resulting in speedy resolution.
For businesses, the reliability and efficiency of the web server platform is always a matter of importance. What Apache does well with all its features and benefits is to provide businesses with a stable, fast, reliable, evolving and lean web server with a global development and support through an open source architecture. What more could a business owner need for their web server?