Introduction to Apache Web Server

All Web servers use a simple protocol known as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to standardize the way requests are received, processed, and sent out again. This allows various clients, called browsers, to interact with a variety of Web servers without dealing with compatibility issues. Having standards in a world where change takes place daily is crucial to the survival of any technology. Web servers are no exception.

As far as the Internet goes, Web servers have been around for some time. This particular "vision of a better mousetrap" developed into the Apache server, as it was born out of a need to repair or patch the Web server called NCSA Web server. Since that time, the Apache server has gone through several revisions to the fine product that it is today.

According to a May 2000 survey of over 15 million Web sites, Apache is the winner of Web servers. The number one (Apache) leads the number two (Microsoft-IIS) by almost three times as many servers. This is not surprising because Apache has been the leader since mid 1996. The source of the survey, Netcraft (www.netcraft.co.uk/survey), uses an automated process to evaluate Web servers all over the world. Table 21-1 shows the results of the survey.

In This Chapter

Installing and configuring the Apache server

Controlling access to Web pages

Table 21-1 Survey of Web servers

Server name

Total Servers Percentage of Market Share

Apache

9,095,140

60.44

Microsoft-IIS

3,168,831

21.06

Netscape-Enterprise

1,083,161

7.20

Zeus

301,073

2.00

Rapidsite

277,147

1.84

thttpd

204,187

1.36

WebSitePro

106,327

0.71

WebLogic

90,609

0.60

Stronghold

89,682

0.60

WebSTAR

81,901

0.54

One of the advantages to using the Apache server is the fact that it employs modules to provide various functions. This enables you to add new functions easily, while disabling functions that do not streamline the server. Part of the reason that Apache has taken such a lead in the Web server market is due to its effectiveness, efficiency, and power in processing HTTP requests. This is no small task considering that one server can receive hundreds, if not thousands, of requests per day.

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