What is the Apache HTTP Server?

The Apache Server from the Apache Software Foundation is the most widely used server on the Internet worldwide. The Apache server is open source, free of charge and is constantly being further developed. Projected, it can be assumed that more than half of all websites are installed on an Apache server.

Development and functions

In 1995 a group of software developers in the USA began to optimize an already existing server software. This ultimately resulted in the Apache server program. According to the Apache Foundation, the Apache name is meant to pay tribute to the Native Americans.

The Apache system supports a variety of operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS X and Netware. Apache offers the possibility of creating dynamic websites using server-side scripting languages ​​such as PHP, Perl or Ruby. The server makes documents available in the event of a client request. Scripting languages ​​such as PHP combine the files requested by the client into a document. The transmission protocols used are http and the network protocols IP and TCP. The languages ​​are integrated via modules.

Apache is mainly used on the web, but also on the intranet. Further functions of the web server are the management of cookies, the forwarding and logging of all inquiries in a log file.

The structure: modules

According to lawfaqs, the structure of the Apache server software is modular, making it easy to expand. The modules can be activated or deactivated at any time and make the software very flexible. Individual modules can be activated to regulate access, to scale access options, to create indexes, to control scripts and databases or to manage connections to proxy servers.

The modules mod_rewritemod_sslmod_headers or mod_deflate, for example, are used particularly frequently. With mod_rewrite, URLs can be manipulated and converted into more search engine friendly URLs. The mod_ssl module is used to encrypt connections using an SSL certificate. To change data in the header of a website, mod_headers is used and mod_deflate compresses websites to save loading time.

The current version 2.4.46 (as of September 2020) was published in August 2020.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Apache server

One of the main advantages of the Apache web server is that it can be used very flexibly. Anyone who works with the Apache software today can fall back on extensive documentation. Thanks to the open source system, Apache can also point to an enormous development. It is the most widely used server in the world. Apache offers SEO experts a variety of options for search engine optimization. Because the software is so widespread and is constantly being further developed, it is compatible with many common scripting languages ​​and databases and supports different operating systems such as Unix, Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, Netware or OpenBSD.

The disadvantage is the comparatively poor performance with many simultaneous accesses. In addition, IT security can be manipulated by anyone with the appropriate server rights.

The Apache server and SEO

The Apache web server offers many advantages for search engine optimization. The mod_rewrite module in particular is often used in SEO. Dynamic URLs can be rewritten into static and search engine friendly URLs with the help of the module. The Apache server also handles redirects like a 301 redirect. Duplicate content can be avoided by means of a redirect. The Apache server can also support the encryption of websites with an SSL certificate and the associated web security with the mod_ssl module.

The disadvantage here, too, is the poor performance on high-traffic websites. At the time of the origins of Apache, the problem of many simultaneous accesses was not yet relevant and was therefore not taken into account. Today, however, large web projects in particular have a high number of hits. These high-traffic websites therefore often fall back on the Nginx server.

What is the Apache HTTP Server