To many people, the World Wide Web (WWW or Web for short) is synonymous with the Internet. In truth, there are many other protocols in use on the Internet, many of which are described in this book. The Web has grown to be arguably the most visible part of the Internet, though. For this reason, Web servers are extremely important to many organizations ”without a Web site, a company or even an individual has very little visibility on the Internet.
Linux supports many different Web server options, although one program (Apache) is the most common one. This chapter therefore focuses on Apache configuration, beginning with the basic options required to get Apache up and running. This chapter then moves on to touch upon other topics, such as Linux kernel-based Web server extensions, forms, scripts, secure sites, and virtual domains. This chapter also covers issues that in some sense come before and after the Web server: generating material to serve on the Web site and analyzing your Web site's traffic.
Although it's not difficult to get a basic Web server up and running with Linux, advanced configuration options are complex enough that a single chapter isn't enough to cover them all. If you need to delve into the minutiae of Web server configuration and use, you can read your Web server's official documentation or obtain a book on the subject, such as Engelschall's Apache Desktop Reference (Addison Wesley, 2001) or Aulds' Linux Apache Server Administration (Sybex, 2001). There are also books dedicated to more specific Web server subtopics, such as Meltzer and Michalski's Writing CGI Applications with Perl (Addison Wesley, 2001).