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One of the most popular web servers on the Internet is Apache.

Table of contents

What is Apache?

The Apache web server, more popular as simply Apache, represents an open-source web server platform lying in the basis of most of the websites we see today on the World Wide Web. Looking back at the time when it was introduced in mid 90's and gradually adopted as a preferred server platform on the web, we could state that Apache acted as the main driving force behind today's web expansion. As a web server 'pioneer', Apache has turned into a standard for the development of other successful web server platforms.

The Apache web server is a work of the Apache Software Foundation open source community. Namely the fact that it is backed up by the efforts of many supporters worldwide keeps it so well maintained and regularly updated with new useful features and functionalities up to the latest quality and security requirements in HTTP service delivery.

Where does that strange name of the popular server come from? There are two intriguing and radically different stories behind its origin. The more popular one says that naming the server this way is a kind of a tribute to the Native American Indian tribe Apache, known for its fighting strength and dauntless spirit. According to the other story, the name ‘Apache server’ represents a sound analogue to ‘a patchy server’, with 'patchy' referring to the bundle of patches that are attached to the codebase of NCSA HTTPd 1.3.

Apache – a Cross Platform Web Server

The wide use of the Apache server on the web is visible through the multitude of web platforms and operating systems it is working with. Most of them are well established and extremely popular among users, including Windows, Linux, Unix, Solaris, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, NetWare, FreeBSD, OS/2, just to mention a few. The Apache server is distributed with a rich set of modules, allowing for users to run miscellaneous scripts and applications on it. This allows for every website hosted on an Apache server to be dynamic, content driven and fully compliant with the current HTTP standards.

Some of the capabilities supported by the server include support for CGI (Common Gateway Interface) and SSI (Server Side Includes), URL redirection, automatic directory listings, user authentication, anonymous user accessryts, loading modules support, HTTP header metafiles, proxy caching abilities, etc. Since its initial launch in April 1996, the Apache web server has been released in several consequent versions defined by the number of the major improvements made to its configuration. The most recent and noteworthy Apache versions include Apache 2.0, offering a considerably simplified functionality, a new compilation system, multi-language error messaging, support for IPv6, Unix, the mod_echo protocol and many others, and Apache 2.2, offering a more flexible user authentication and proxy caching modules, SQL support and support for 2 GB-exceeding files. To the web administrators' convenience, each version is accompanied by a comprehensive documentation set.


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