HWG Resources FAQs HWG-servers, HTTP servers.

What HTTP server should I use?

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Apache
  3. IIS
  4. Netscape
  5. Other

  1. Introduction

    A quick look at the Netcraft Survey will give you an idea of how other people are answering this question. What server you use is a decision that you will need to make based on your platform, your needs, and your existing knowledge base. Sometimes a particular server will be needed in order to work with some other software that you are running.

    In this document, we'll talk about several of the more popular web servers that are available, and some reasons why each may, or may not, be the one that you need.

    Table of Contents | HWG-Servers FAQ

  2. Apache

    Apache is by far the leader in number of servers running on the Internet. An estimated 54% of all web sites run Apache. Of course, this does not count any sites that are behind corporate firewalls, and there is no way to measure those numbers, but Apache is clearly the favorite web server in use today.

    Apache runs on Unix and Windows. It is most stable on Unix, since that is where it has been tested the most, and so the majority of the problems have been addressed there. Apache on Windows is relatively young, but it does well in benchmarking against other servers availble on NT.

    Apache is available for free from www.apache.org/httpd.html in both source code and binary forms. There is extensive online documentation also at that site. And you are cordially invited to come to ApacheCon 2000, in Orlando, in March.

    Table of Contents | HWG-Servers FAQ

  3. IIS

    Microsoft IIS is the leading HTTP server running on Windows NT. It comes packaged with the Windows NT operating system, and is installed as part of the default NT installation. It is fairly simple to configure and use, and also comes with an FTP server and a Gopher server. Although I'm not sure why anyone would run a Gopher server any more, I suppose it might be useful to someone. (??)

    Microsoft wants you to use ASP for your web site, and so all of the ASP stuff, and FrontPage stuff, is also installed when you install IIS. This may or may not be desirable, depending on your views of ASP. IIS has a somewhat broken implementation of the CGI, and you may have to take some strange measures to get your Perl CGI programs running under IIS. For instructions for setting up Perl to run CGI programs under IIS, see http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q150/6/29.asp

    Table of Contents | HWG-Servers FAQ

  4. Netscape Server

    In third place, and rapidly losing ground, comes Netscape Server. Largely an outgrowth of the NCSA project, Netscape was an early leader, along with Apache, but got somewhat squashed by IIS - a fact that the recent DOJ inquiry seemed to completely overlook, focusing instead on the desktop, and largely missing the point. But that's the topic for another rant all together.

    Netscape server runs on Unix platforms and Windows. You can find out more about Netscape servers at www.netscape.com/servers.

    Table of Contents | HWG-Servers FAQ

  5. Other

    Whatever platform you are using, there are several web servers available for you to choose from.

    Table of Contents | HWG-Servers FAQ


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