Web Server of Champions

Web Server of Champions by pendragon One cannot say too many positive things about the Apache Web server. It continues to provide one of the most reliable and secure ways of delivering information on the Web.

It goes almost without saying that if you’re running Unix servers, then you want to go with Apache for the Web.  But increasingly, because of the security breaches that seem inherent in even the most patched Microsoft server and the weaknesses of the Microsoft Internet Information Server versions, that Windows environments are looking at Apache as well.  The Apache Win32 releases have been very stable and the learning curve is minor for anyone who has managed an Apache server in a Unix environment.  I always relied on the Apache.org distribution so imagine my surprise when I found that IBM is giving away a free IBM distribution of Apache.  Do you want to use it?  Not sure – I’ve not done a comparison of what’s different in the IBM version (excuse my paranoia for assuming that one should be cautious in adopting anything that IBM or any large vendor gives away for free).

Another interesting use of Apache is as a shield for Microsoft’s IIS.  Some educational organizations, where Windows is the standard for all systems, are using Apache as a front-end and proxying requests to the IIS installation as if (a) it resided on a different server and (b) it were an application server, like Coldfusion or Tomcat.  Whether this will actually provide any greater protection, I’m not sure.  It does strike me, though, in an environment where you might be more likely to find an Apache administrator, that at least you could turn on IIS as a dumb server, and do all the fancy work with Apache, including intercepting the damaging requests by worms like Nimda, etc.

Anyone considering running a Web server should give Apache the first shot at serving your site.  The knowledgebase is large, the product is well-documented online and in books from reputable publishers like O’Reilly Press.

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