You have several options when it comes to getting a basic Apache installation in place. Apache is open source, meaning that you can have access to the full source code of the software, which in turn enables you to build your own custom server. Additionally, pre-built Apache binary distributions are available for most modern UNIX platforms. Finally, Apache comes already bundled with a variety of Linux distributions, and you can purchase commercial versions from software vendors such as Covalent Technologies and IBM. The examples in this chapter will teach you how to build Apache from source if you are using Linux/UNIX, and how to use the installer if you plan to run Apache on a Windows system.
Building from Source
Building from source gives you the greatest flexibility because it enables you to build a custom server, remove modules you do not need, and extend the server with third-party modules. Building Apache from source code enables you to easily upgrade to the latest versions and quickly apply security patches, whereas updated versions from vendors can take days or weeks to appear.
The process of building Apache from the source code is not especially difficult for simple installations but can grow in complexity when third-party modules and libraries are involved.
Installing a Binary
Linux/UNIX binary installations are available from vendors and can also be downloaded from the Apache Software Foundation website. They provide a convenient way to install Apache for users with limited system administration knowledge, or with no special configuration needs. Third-party commercial vendors provide prepackaged Apache installations together with an application server, additional modules, support, and so on.
The Apache Software Foundation provides an installer for Windows systemsa platform where a compiler is not as commonly available as in Linux/UNIX systems.