Apache HTTP Server definition & meaning
Apache HTTP Server is a free and open-source web server software. It is developed and maintained by an open community of developers and released under Apache License 2.0. Most Apache HTTP Server instances run on Linux distributions, but recent versions also support Microsoft Windows, OpenVMS, and Unix-like systems. Apache HTTP Server is the most used web server; it runs on approximately 65% of all web servers.
Apache web server is the most popular web server because it is a fast, reliable, and secure solution for web servers. It also allows users to customize it with various extensions and modules to meet the needs of different environments.
How does Apache HTTP Server work?
Similar to other web servers, Apache HTTP Server is software that runs on an HTTP server. It handles the communication between the server and the client. When a user tries to access a website, Apache handles the request and returns a response that includes all the requested files, including text, images, etc. Apache HTTP Server is responsible for smooth and secure communication through the HTTP protocol.
Apache HTTP Server also needs various modules to provide all the required functionalities for security, caching, URL rewriting, password authentication, and some other features. Basically, Apache HTTP Server processes files written in programming languages, turns them into static HTML files, and serves them to users’ web browsers.
Features of Apache Webserver
Besides accepting requests from the client and sending responses, Apache Web Server has various other features, such as:
- IPv6 compatibility
- HTTP/2 support
- FTP connection
- Gzip compression and decompression
- Load balancing
- Session tracking
- URL rewriting
- IP address-based geolocation
- Handling static files
- Loadable dynamic modules
- Bandwidth throttling
- Perl, PHP, Lua scripts
Advantages of Apache HTTP Server
Apache HTTP Server offers many advantages, especially for commercial use, making it the most popular web server on the market. Most importantly, it is a free and open-source solution, which allows hosting service providers to reduce their prices to attract customers. Due to its popularity, it is supported by a huge community, making it very easy to find online sources that help users overcome any problems easily. It is also one of the most reliable and stable software and releases frequent security patches to protect its userbase.
Apache HTTP Server’s module-based structure offers the flexibility most users may need. It is very beginner-friendly and easy to configure. Additionally, the abundance of online sources makes it easier for inexperienced users. It is compatible with almost all of the popular programming languages. Most importantly, Apache HTTP Server works out of the box with WordPress, which is the most popular content management system on the market. It can run on every operating system and offers high performance.
Where is the Apache HTTP server configuration file?
The Apache HTTP Server configuration file can be found at /etc/httpd/conf/httpd.conf. It includes a lot of configuration statements and doesn’t need to be changed during a basic installation. It is possible to get a basic website running with a few changes. Users can change the Listen statement. It defines the IP address and port that Apache HTTP Server listens to for page requests.
Users can also change the Document Root directive, which specifies the location of the HTML files. It points to the standard location, so it doesn’t need to be changed mostly. However, if the user wants to change the location where website files are stored, it can be done with this directive.
Is Apache HTTP Server secure?
Apache HTTP Server is one of the most secure web servers on the market. It is also possible to secure and harden it with various modules and methods. Apache HTTP Server regularly gets frequent security patches; thus, keeping it up-to-date should be a top priority to protect the server against known vulnerabilities. Additionally, disabling all the unnecessary modules increases the performance of the server and reduces the chances of incoming attacks.
Users can also use mod_security and mod_evasive modules, among the most popular security modules used in Apache HTTP Servers. While mod_security works as a firewall and allows a system administrator to monitor traffic in real-time, mod_evasive reduces the effects of DDoS attacks.
How to check which webserver a website uses?
To see the webserver a specific website uses, you can take a look at the website’s HTTP header. The header includes the information of the webserver it uses. You can use browser tools like Chrome Developer Tools or Pingdom, or GTmetrix to see the HTTP header. In the header, you will find a line that says “server: Apache” or “server: NGINX”. However, if the website uses a service similar to Cloudflare, you may not see the webserver it is using.