What is Apache Server

Have you ever stumbled upon the term “Apache” and wondered what it is? You might as well have gone a step further and seen the term “Apache Server”? Confused, right? Let’s have a look at what Apache is and What is meant by Apache Server. By the way, the name “Apache” refers to the Native American Indian tribe, famous for its warfare and strategic skills. The developers of this ingenious software somehow found this word appealing and now we have “Apache”. What is it? Let’s have a look.

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What is Apache Server


Before we delve into what Apache server really is, let’s first understand what a server means. A server is basically a computer program that provides a service to other computer programs (also called “end users”). This service can be anything, like for example, sending and receiving an email, sending website content etc. Depending on its usage, it does have different names. A server that deals with emails is called a mail server. Similarly, a server that deals with the web pages or the web content is called a web server. Apache is the name of the most popular web server in the world

Apache server receives the requests to access the webpage. It confirms the parameters for access and sends back the webpage elements requested. It manages memory, cache, and modules among others so the user experience is not hampered. It is an open source web server creation, deployment, and management software. The Apache Software Foundation, founded in 1999, is a community of software developers that supports and keeps Apache server open source.

How Apache Server Works

By using TCP/IP protocols, Apache server communicates over the network. As we saw in the function of a web server, Apache server receives requests from clients, processes them, and returns back the resources requested as per the protocol. Several modules help in this process.

Modules add functionality to the Apache server. To work with a module, simply install it and restart the Apache server. You can delete the modules you want and use only the ones that you need. This flexibility is one of the attractive features of Apache servers.

Some common features are built-in in Apache Web Server, such as:

  • IPV6
  • FTP
  • HTTP/2
  • .htaccess
  • Perl
  • PHP
  • Bandwidth Throttling
  • Load balancing
  • WebDAV
  • URL rewriting
  • Session tracking

Apache Vs NGINX

According to the data by W3Techs, 44.8% websites (whose web servers are known by W3Tech) use Apache Web Server. 99.2% of all websites that use Apache use the version 2.0.

Some of the popular sites that use Apache are:

  • Apple.com,
  • Baidu.com,
  • Paypal.com,
  • Adobe.com
  • Craigslist.org

The current market position of Apache is seeing some serious competition from another web server called NGINX. It is second only to Apache in terms of use by the number of sites. It has surpassed Apache in terms of high traffic sites.

NGINX is an open source software that can be used for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming etc. NGINX powers more than 50% busiest sites in the world. On several benchmarks that measure web server performance, NGINX has beaten Apache. NGINX now supports all the components of the modern web, it has gained a reputation as the fastest web server.

Looking at the current picture, the Apache community has a serious challenge before them; to keep the Spirit of the original Apache alive by being the best open source web server. How the developer community handles this challenge remains to be seen in the near future. NGINX is currently the winner for high traffic websites.

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