WHAT IS APACHE?
The Apache HTTP Server, colloquially called Apache, is a free and open-source cross-platform web server software, released under the terms of 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. Developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation, Apache is an open source software available for free. It runs on 67% of all webservers in the world. It is fast, reliable, and secure. It can be highly customized to meet the needs of many different environments by using extensions and modules. Most WordPress hosting providers use Apache as their web server software. However, WordPress can run on other web server software as well.
How does Apache Web Server Work?
Apache functions as a way to communicate over networks from client to server using the TCP/IP protocol. Apache can be used for a wide variety of protocols, but the most common is HTTP/S. HTTP/S or Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (S stands for Secure) is one of the main protocols on the web, and the one protocol Apache is most known for.
HTTP/S is used to define how messages are formatted and transmitted across the web, with instructions for browsers and servers on how to respond to various requests and commands. Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure is usually through port 443 with the unsecured protocol being through port 80.
The Apache server is configured via config files in which modules are used to control its behavior. By default, Apache listens to the IP addresses configured in its config files that are being requested. This is where one of Apaches many strengths come into play.
With the Listen directive, Apache can accept and route specific traffic to certain ports and domains based on specific address-port combination requests. By default, Listen runs on port 80 but Apache can be bound to different ports for different domains, allowing for many different websites and domains to be hosted and a single server. You can have domain1.com listening on port 80, domain2.com on port 8080 and domain3.com on port 443 using HTTPS all on Apache.
Once a message reaches its destination or recipient, it sends a notice, or ACK message, basically giving acknowledgment to the original sender that their data has successfully arrived. If there’s an error in receiving data, or some packets were lost in transit, the destination host or client sends a Not Acknowledged, or NAK message, to inform the sender that the data needs to be retransmitted.
Who Uses Apache Web Server?
Apache HTTP web servers are used by over 67% of all web servers in the world. Apache web servers are easy to customize environments, they’re fast, reliable, and highly secure. This makes Apache web servers a common choice by best-in-class companies.
What is a Web Server?
Wondering what the heck is a web server? Well a web server is like a restaurant host. When you arrive in a restaurant, the host greets you, checks your booking information and takes you to your table. Similar to the restaurant host, the web server checks for the web page you have requested and fetches it for your viewing pleasure. However, A web server is not just your host but also your server. Once it has found the web page you requested, it also serves you the web page. A web server like Apache, is also the Maitre D’ of the restaurant. It handles your communications with the website (the kitchen), handles your requests, makes sure that other staff (modules) are ready to serve you. It is also the bus boy, as it cleans the tables (memory, cache, modules) and clears them for new customers.
So basically a web server is the software that receives your request to access a web page. It runs a few security checks on your HTTP request and takes you to the web page. Depending on the page you have requested, the page may ask the server to run a few extra modules while generating the document to serve you. It then serves you the document you requested. Pretty awesome isn’t it.
Apache is the web server that processes requests and serves web assets and content via HTTP. … Load Balancers help distribute traffic across the web servers which handle the HTTP(S) requests (this is where Apache comes in) and application servers (servers that handle the functionality and workload of the web app.
Apache Web Application Architecture
Apache is just one component that is needed in a web application stack to deliver web content. One of the most common web application stacks involves LAMP, or Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
Linux is the operating system that handles the operations of the application. Apache is the web server that processes requests and serves web assets and content via HTTP. MySQL is the database that stores all your information in an easily queried format. PHP is the programming language that works with apache to help create dynamic web content.
While actual statistics may vary, it’s fair to say a large portion of web applications run on some form of the LAMP stack because it is easy to build and also free to use. For the most part, web applications tend to generally have similar architecture and structure even though they serve many different functions and purposes. Most web applications also benefit from Firewalls, Load Balancers, Web Servers, Content Delivery Networks, and Database Servers.
Firewalls help protect the web application from both external threats and internal vulnerabilities depending on where the firewalls are configured. Load Balancers help distribute traffic across the web servers which handle the HTTP(S) requests (this is where Apache comes in) and application servers (servers that handle the functionality and workload of the web app.) We also have Database Servers, which handle asset storage and backups. Depending on your infrastructure, your database and application can both live on the same server although it’s recommended to keep those separate.
Features of Apache Web Server
- Handling of static files
- Loadable dynamic modules
- Compatible with IPv6
- Supports HTTP/2
- FTP connections
- Gzip compression and decompression
- Bandwidth throttling
- Perl, PHP, Lua scripts
- Load balancing
- Session tracking
- URL rewriting
- Geolocation based on IP address
Alternatives for Apache HTTP Server
While Apache web servers are very popular, they’re not the only web servers on the market. Below are a number of alternatives for Apache HTTP servers.
- Apache Tomcat
- Microsoft IIS
Pros and Cons of Apache Web server
Apache web server is proven to be one of the most successful web servers in the world ever since its creation. According to a survey conducted by Netcraft, Apache is rated as the most popular WWW series on the internet. The survey states that 67% of all web servers use Apache. However, it has its own disadvantages and advantages. The latter seems to be more in number.
Advantages of Apache Web server
• The source code of Apache is available for free to anyone and no license is required.
• It can be modified to adjust the code and also to fix errors.
• The ability to add more features and modules makes it a favorite among the techies.
• It is highly reliable and performs better.
• It can be installed easily.
• The changes made are recorded immediately, even without restarting the server.
• Apache can run on almost any operating systems like windows,Linux etc.
• It is regularly maintained and updated.
• It is an effortless task to get help for Apache web servers as its technical support is readily available on several websites all over the world.
• The documentation of Apache is quite useful and is very extensive.
• With Apache web server, multiple websites can be run from the same server. In other words, it can create virtual hosts on the same server.
• It is flexible.
Disadvantages of Apache Web Server
With the enormous possibilities an Apache web server can offer, there is very little that an Apache Web server cannot do. Yet it has a few disadvantages.
• One of the prominent features of Apache is its ability to modify its configuration. This, however, can cause a serious threat to the security, if not dealt properly
• While creating personalized protocol means new bugs will also be created. Thus need for debuggers arise.
• Requires a strict updating policy that needs to be done regularly without fail.
• Recognising and disabling unwanted services and modules. Leaving them on could cause serious threats.
• Apache is a process based server
In spite of these disadvantages, Apache is still considered as one of the best in the world. Apache web server has acted as the main driving force behind the web expansion that we see today. Apache has become the standard for developing other web server platforms. It is dynamic in nature, and it complies fully with the current HTTP standards. These are just a few reasons why Apache is preferred over other web servers.
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