Web server software is used to process requests and deliver data. All websites use web server software. The two most popular server softwares are Apache HTTP Server and Windows Microsoft Internet Information Service (Windows IIS). Your website is most likely using either Apache or Windows. What’s the difference?
Apache HTTP Server
The Apache HTTP Server is an open source web server application. It was developed by the Apache Software Foundation. Because it is freely distributed and has an open source license, users are able to edit the code. This is beneficial because users are continually working to improve performance and further its development.
Apache can be run on nearly any operating system. However, it is typically used with Linux, a popular open source operating system. Apache combined with Linux, MySQL and PHP database and scripting language form what is known as the LAMP web server solution.
This solution offers the advantages of lower costs, flexible programming and enhanced security. With this open source solution, there are no software licensing fees to worry about and the programming can be tweaked as the user sees fit. Plus, since most malicious security threats target the vulnerabilities of Windows, it is often a more secure option.
Windows Microsoft Internet Information Service (Windows IIS)
Windows IIS or Microsoft IIS as it is commonly called, is second in popularity only to Apache. IIS features a number of services including File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Hypertext Transfer protocol (HTTP), Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) among others to facilitate the management of websites. Recent versions include modules for security, filtering, caching, compression, redirects, logging, diagnostics and ASP.net integration.
Microsoft IIS is only for Windows systems. As a result, a Windows server is required. This will increase the running costs for your website. It is also important to keep in mind that it will also make your website more vulnerable to malware attacks. IIS has a reputation for being less secure.
While this is partially true, ISS is supported by Microsoft. You will benefit from the support of Microsoft’s .NET framework, ASPX scripts, media pack modules and in-depth diagnostic tools. Plus, although Windows is often the target of attacks, Microsoft large enough to continually monitor and make security updates when necessary to keep Windows servers protected.
Ultimately, you’ll have to work with your web developer to determine which web server is best for your website. Apache and Windows are both exceptional web server options. In many cases, it will come down to cost, security, operating system and scripting preferences.
What web server do you currently use?