Apache HTTP Server, or Apache for short, is a free and open-source cross-platform web server software, released under the terms of the Apache License 2.0. Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation.
Apache is the most widely used web server software. As of June 2018, netcraft reported that Apache was used by 43.6% of websites worldwide, making it more popular than any other web server software.
Apache supports a variety of features, many implemented as compiled modules which extend the core functionality. These can range from programming language support to authentication schemes. Some common functionality is provided by the core modules mod_access, mod_auth, mod_filter, and mod_log_config. Third-party modules can extend this functionality to include other features such as server-side programming language support (e.g. PHP, Java, Python, etc.), web application frameworks (e.g. Django, Ruby on Rails), eCommerce platforms (e.g. Magento, PrestaShop), content management systems (e.g. WordPress, Drupal), and many others.
Apache HTTP Server is generally referred to simply as Apache. It was originally based on the NCSA HTTPd server developed by Rob McCool at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA).
The first public release of Apache was in 1995, and Apache has been the most popular HTTP server in the world since April 1996. It has been estimated that around 50% of all active websites use some form of Apache, making it by far the most widely used web server.
The latest stable version is 2.4.34, which was released on July 27, 2018. Older versions are also still available, and can be found on the Apache Archive site.
How does Apache work?
When a user types in a web address into their browser (i.e. www.example.com), they are actually sending a request to a web server that contains that website’s files. The web server then looks for the requested file(s) and sends them back to the user’s browser, which displays the website.
When it comes to web server software, there are a few different options available (e.g. Nginx, IIS, LiteSpeed, etc.), but Apache is by far the most popular. In fact, according to Netcraft’s June 2018 report, 43.6% of all websites use Apache.
One of the reasons for Apache’s popularity is that it is free and open-source software, which means that anyone can download it and use it without having to pay anything. Additionally, because it is open-source, there is a large community of developers who contribute to the development of Apache and create modules (i.e. extensions) that can be used to extend its functionality.
Another reason for Apache’s popularity is that it is very customizable and can be configured to work in a variety of different ways. For example, it can be configured to serve static files (i.e. HTML, CSS, JS, images, etc.), dynamic content (i.e. PHP, Ruby, Python, etc.), or a combination of both. It can also be configured to use different types of databases (e.g. MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB, etc.) and different caching mechanisms (e.g. memcached, redis)
Additionally, Apache can be configured to work with a variety of different operating systems (e.g. Windows, Linux, macOS, etc.) and is available in a number of different languages. All of this makes Apache a very versatile web server that can be used for a wide variety of websites and applications.
benefits of Apache web server
- Apache is a stable and reliable web server that powers some of the largest websites in the world.
- Apache is free and open source software, released under the Apache License. This makes it easy for anyone to use and improve upon.
- Apache is highly configurable, allowing you to tailor its performance and functionality to meet your specific needs.
- Apache can be used on a wide variety of operating systems, making it a versatile choice for web hosting.
- Apache offers strong security features, keeping your website safe from malicious attacks.
- The large community of users and developers behind Apache work together to continuously improve the web server, making it better with each new release.
- Apache is fast, efficient, and scalable, able to handle large amounts of traffic without slowing down.
- Apache integrates with a variety of other software programs, making it a flexible platform for web development.
- The wide range of available modules allows you to extend Apache’s functionality and customize it to suit your needs.
- By using Apache, you’re joining a community of millions of users around the world who rely on this powerful web server every day.