Apache Web Server

The Apache HTTP Server, commonly referred to as Apache, is web server software notable for playing a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web. In 2009 it became the first web server software to surpass the 100 million website milestone. Apache was the first viable alternative to the Netscape Communications Corporation web server (currently named Oracle iPlanet Web Server), and since has evolved to rival other web servers in terms of functionality and performance. Typically Apache is run on a Unix-like operating system.

Originally designed for Unix environments, the Apache Web server has been ported to Windows and other network operating systems. The name "Apache" derives from the word "patchy" that the Apache developers used to describe early versions of their software.

Although the main design goal of Apache is not to be the "fastest" web server, Apache does have performance similar to other "high-performance" web servers. Instead of implementing a single architecture, Apache provides a variety of MultiProcessing Modules (MPMs) which allow Apache to run in a process-based, hybrid (process and thread) or event-hybrid mode, to better match the demands of each particular infrastructure. This implies that the choice of correct MPM and the correct configuration is important. Where compromises in performance need to be made, the design of Apache is to reduce latency and increase throughput, relative to simply handling more requests, thus ensuring consistent and reliable processing of requests within reasonable time-frames.

Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation. The application is available for a wide variety of operating systems, including Unix, FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Novell NetWare, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, OS/2, TPF, and eComStation. Released under the Apache License, Apache is open-source software.

The Apache Web server provides a full range of Web server features, including CGI, SSL, and virtual domains. Apache also supports plug-in modules for extensibility. Apache is free software, distributed by the Apache Software Foundation that promotes various free and open source advanced Web technologies.

Apache was originally based on NCSA HTTPd code. The NCSA code has since been removed from Apache, due to a rewrite.

Apache supports a variety of features, many implemented as compiled modules which extend the core functionality. These can range from server-side programming language support to authentication schemes. Some common language interfaces support Perl, Python, Tcl, and PHP. Popular authentication modules include mod_access, mod_auth, mod_digest, and mod_auth_digest, the successor to mod_digest. A sample of other features include Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security support (mod_ssl), a proxy module (mod_proxy), a URL rewriter (also known as a rewrite engine, implemented under mod_rewrite), custom log files (mod_log_config), and filtering support (mod_include and mod_ext_filter).

Popular compression methods on Apache include the external extension module, mod_gzip, implemented to help with reduction of the size (weight) of web pages served over HTTP. ModSecurity is an open source intrusion detection and prevention engine for web applications. Apache logs can be analyzed through a web browser using free scripts such as AWStats/W3Perl or Visitors.

It supports password authentication and digital certificate authentication. Apache has a built in search engine and an HTML authorizing tool and supports FTP.

Apache features configurable error messages, DBMS-based authentication databases, and content negotiation. It is also supported by several graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

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