Apache Web Server

Apache helps power the internet

Illuminated server room panel
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Apache HTTP Server (usually just called Apache) is a fast, secure software package that runs more than half of all web servers around the globe. It's been the world's most popular web server since 1996, just one year after it was first released.

Apache is open-source (free) software distributed by the Apache Software Foundation, which promotes various other free and open-source advanced web technologies. Despite this, the Apache web server provides a full range of features, including CGI, ​SSL, and virtual domains; it also supports plug-in modules for extensibility.

Although Apache was originally designed for Unix environments, more than 90 percent of installations run on Linux. It's also available for Windows and other operating systems.

What Is an HTTP Server?

A server, in general, is a remote computer that serves files to requesting clients. A web server, then, is the environment in which a website runs — the computer the serves the website.

A web server delivers content using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). For example, when you visit Lifewire.com in your web browser, you're ultimately contacting the web server that hosts this website so that you can communicate with it and request web pages (which you've already done to see this page).

Why Use Apache HTTP Server?

One of the most significant benefits to Apache is that it's free for both personal and commercial uses, so you never have to worry about paying for it.

Despite that fact that it's free, Apache is a reliable software framework that is actively maintained. Frequent feature upgrades, security patches, and vulnerability improvements are ongoing.

Apache doesn't skimp on features, either. In fact, it's one of the most feature-filled HTTP web servers available, which is another reason it's so popular.

Apache Extensibility

Modules add more functions to the software. Apache supports:

  • Password authentication and digital certificates
  • Customizable error messages
  • Virtual hosting capabilities
  • Proxy services
  • SSL and TLS
  • GZIP compression to speed up web pages

Apache Features

Here's a handful of Apache's other features:

Learning how to use Apache is not nearly as difficult as its wealth of features suggests. It's so widely used that answers to virtually any question you could ask are readily available online in the many users' forums and websites. Checking these is a good idea for experienced users, too, because the software remains a regularly updated solution that continues to evolve along with the internet itself.