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Currently, Apache is the most widely-used server. In fact, it supports 46% of all websites on the Internet. Its fame is not new, and for good reason: Apache has been in existence since 1995. To understand how it works, we will return to the definition of a web server. Then we will list both its advantages and disadvantages.

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Apache: definition, advantages, and disadvantages of this web server

Web server: definition

The purpose of the web server, as its name suggests, is to serve online sites. To do this, it acts as a buffer between the network's client machines and the physical server. When machines make a request, the client server will search the physical server for the required information and feed this back to the machines.

A web server is a particularly powerful tool, because it is able to manage several requests at the same time, coming from different users and in different languages. These will be transmitted in HTML in the user's browser.

We’ve taken a look at the definition of a web server. Now we will look in a little more detail at how Apache works.

How does Apache work?

Apache is a piece of software installed on a server. Its purpose: just like the web server, just like the web server, it acts as an intermediary between the server and the various browsers, both on Unix, Windows and iOS. To understand how Apache works, let's take a concrete example. You are connected to a site, and click on the “Contact” tab. Your browser sends the request to Apache, which will retrieve the answer from the server and allow the browser to display the requested information, regardless of the type of content (text, image, sound, etc.).

Apache is therefore responsible for ensuring the quality of communications between the client and server, which communicate with each other using the http protocol.

This server software is used by administrators who, thanks to the different modules, are able to customise it as desired, or almost as desired. These modules include security, authentication, caching, etc.

Advantages and disadvantages of Apache

As already mentioned, Apache is used by 47% of the world's websites. In addition, it has many advantages, but also disadvantages, which we will see now.

The advantages

  • Apache is an open source and free piece of software.
  • Its reliability and its stability are its greatest assets.
  • It benefits from regular updates and improvements.
  • It is suitable for beginners.
  • It is compatible with all OSs, as well as with WordPress sites.
  • It has an active community and offers a wide range of materials to facilitate its use.
  • It is customisable, thanks to the many modules it offers.

The disadvantages

  • Unfortunately, Apache does not offer good performance, especially on websites with very high traffic. In this case, it is better to rely on other web servers, such as NGINX or Tomcat for example.
  • Due to the multitude of modules and configuration possibilities, security can be compromised.