February 25, 2021

What is Apache? An Overview of Apache Web Server

What is Apache? Apache is open-source and free web software that powers over 55 million websites globally. The official name for Apache is Apache HTTP Server and is ongoingly maintained and developed by the Apache Software Foundation.

Apache allows website owners and hosts to serve their content across the web, hence the name " web server." it's one of the oldest and by far, the most reliable web servers. The first-ever build of Apache was released more than 20 years ago.

An example of Apache would be someone visiting a website, they enter a domain name into their address bar within the browser. The request is sent to the webserver which then retrieves and delivers the files, essentially a virtual delivery man.

At Snappy Host, we use Apache and Litespeed as part of our main infrastructure. This allows us to offer the best of both worlds. It increases overall server performance by compensating the weaker sides of one software with the strength of the other.

What is a web server?

The term web server can refer to hardware or software, or even both of them working entwine.

  • On the bare metal basics, aka, hardware, a web server is essentially a computer that stores the web server software (HTTP apache) and the website files. For example, this would include HTML, PHP, CSS, and JavaScript files. A web server connects to the net and supports the physical data interchange with other devices connected.
  • On the software side, the web server includes several components that control how users access the hosted sites. At a bare minimum, this would be the HTTP server. An HTTP server can be accessed through the domain name of the website it holds. Which then delivers the content, as mentioned at the start of this post.

How Does Apache Web Server Work?

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Even though we refer to Apache as a web server, it's not actually physical hardware, but rather a software that sits and runs on the server. Its job is to establish a connection between a server and the users' web browsers. (Google Chrome, Safari, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, etc). Apache is all cross-platform compatible, it works on both Unix and Windows servers.

A better example of this would be when a visitor visits the " about us" page on a website, the browser will send an HTTP request to the web server, and Apache will return the HTTP request with a response, fetching the requested files.

Pros and Cons of Apache

An Apache web server is a great choice to power your website from, it's a stable and versatile platform. This does come with disadvantages which you need to be aware of.

Pros:

  • Stable software
  • Open-source and free (even for commercial use)
  • Updated on a regular basis, includes security patches.
  • Very easy to configure, newbie-friendly
  • Works straight out of the box for WordPress sites
  • Massive community and plenty of documentation for support.

Cons:

  • Traffic-heavy websites will see a degrade in performance.
  • Too many configurations can lead to vulnerabilities in security.

What is Apache, summary

Apache (Apache HTTP server) is one of the most popular web servers that will enable users to run their website without the hassle of too much going on, it's beginner-friendly and easy to use. It's by far the go-to choice for individuals and businesses that want their presence on the internet.

I hope this clears things up and you have an understanding of what an apache HTTP server is.

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