What is Apache web server?

What is Apache?

Apache is a free, open source server software used by 40% of the world’s websites. The official name of this web server is Apache HTTP Server, which is for the Apache Software Foundation.

It allows website owners to share their content on the web. It is known as one of the oldest web servers in the world, the first version of which was released in 1995 and has been used by programmers for more than 20 years.

To view a website, the user enters the desired domain name in the browser’s address bar, then the web server will provide the desired files to the user as a virtual delivery. Some large websites also use Apache along with other popular web servers such as NGINX. This will allow each web server to make up for the other weaknesses, thus providing the best performance for a website.

What is a web server?

File servers, database servers, mail servers and web servers use different software. These applications can access files stored on the physical server and use them for various purposes. In the meantime, the task of the web server is to provide the website to Internet users, and to achieve this goal, it will act as an intermediary between the server and the user’s computer system. In other words, the web server will take the desired content from the server and deliver it to the web with each user request.

The biggest challenge of a web server is the simultaneous delivery of multiple pages to users. The web server will process files written in different programming languages ​​such as Python, PHP and Java. In fact, the web server converts them to static HTML files and then delivers them to users’ web browsers.

How does the Apache web server work?

Although we consider Apache to be a web server, it should be noted that Apache is not a physical server but software that runs on a server. The task of the Apache web server is to establish a connection between the server and users’ Internet browsers such as Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari; In addition, the Apache web server delivers files between the server and the user based on the server-user structure (Client-Server).

Apache software is equipped with cross-platform capability, so it will run on both Unix or Windows operating systems. When a user wants to upload a page (such as Home Page or About Us) from your website, their web browser sends a request to the server; Apache then returns the user response along with the requested files such as photo, text and video.

Servers and users communicate with each other via HTTP protocol, and Apache software will be responsible for securing communication between the two computer systems. Apache web server has a modular structure so it has high customization capabilities. The modular feature allows server owners to turn its peripheral features on or off.

In fact, the Apache web server has security modules, caching, URL rewriting, password authentication, and more. Developers can also adjust their personal settings via the .htaccess file. Apply on the server; This file is actually a config file supported by all Hostinger programs.

Apache vs. other web servers

In addition to Apache, there are other web servers in the programming world, each designed for different purposes. Although it is the most widely used web server, here are some alternatives.

Apache and NGINX

NGINX Web Server, pronounced as Engine-X, is a web server application that was first released in 2004 and has become very popular with business owners to this day. NGINX web server is for solving the c10k problem; This problem occurs when the server is unable to manage 10,000 connections simultaneously.

  • Because the structure of the Apache web server is thread-based, owners of high-traffic websites may face many problems. Instead, the X-engine web server has the best performance in solving the c10k problem.
  • The NGINX web server has an event-driven architecture that will not create a new process for each request. Instead, it will manage each request with a single string. This unique process will actually use multiple processors to accurately process requests.

The NGINX web server event-driven model also distributes user requests between processors in an efficient manner, which ultimately leads to better scalability of the application.

  • If you want to manage a high-traffic website, Engine X is the best option for you because this web server can do it with minimal resources. It is not uncommon for NGINX to be on popular websites such as Pinterest, Netflix and Hulu.
  • Of course, the Apache web server is a better option for smaller websites; In fact, It offers beginners the benefits of simpler configuration, more modules, and a user-friendly environment.

Apache and Tomcat

Tomcat web server is also supported by Apache software company, hence its original name is Apache Tomcat. This web server is an HTTP server that supports Java applications instead of static websites. Tomcat Web Server is capable of running several Java features such as JavaServer, JavaServlet, Java EL, Java Server Pages and Web Socket.

  • Tomcat Web Server is for Java applications, while Apache is a multipurpose HTTP server that can be in conjunction with PHP, Perl, and Python, thanks to multiple modules.
  • Although static web pages can use the Tomcat web server, they perform worse than Apache. For example, the Apache Web Server will preload the Java Virtual Machine and other libraries that the Web site does not need.
  • Tomcat has a lower configuration capability compared to other web servers; For example, Apache and NGINX HTTP servers will perform better than Tomcat for use in WordPress.


  • Apache web server is completely free and open source even for commercial use.
  • It is a reliable and stable software.
  • Numerous updates and security patches are for it.
  • Due to the modular architecture, the web server is very flexible.
  • This web server is easy to configure for beginners.
  • Cross-platform capability; It works on both Unix and Windows platforms.
  • Apache web server is compatible with WordPress sites.
  •  It has a large user community so that in case of any problem, you can contact its support.


  • The performance of the Apache web server on high-traffic websites will face many problems.
  • Since this web server has different configuration options, so there are many security holes in it.