Chapter 11: The Apache HTTP Server

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The Apache Software Foundation is a non-profit umbrella organization that develops a significant number of open-source software projects; the flagship product is the Apache HTTP Server. The Apache HTTP Server is arguably one of the most successful open source projects. It is certainly one of the most well known; many of the uninitiated frequently recognize only Linux and Apache as open source projects. This chapter describes how to install and configure the Apache HTTP Server (referred to throughout this chapter as simply "Apache").

Like OpenSSH, Apache is included in almost every Linux distribution out there. However, also like OpenSSH, Apache is such an important and useful part of many Linux systems (and is such a great example of a particular style of configuration) that I include it as an example.

The Apache web server began life as a variant of the original National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) httpd web server. It was a collection of patches against the core NCSA software, and so it was "a patchy" server (hence "Apache"). Eventually, the NCSA stopped maintaining their server, but by then the Apache developers had rewritten effectively all of the original NCSA code. Apache became a separate project, and active development continues on it today.

The objectives of the Apache server are reliability, flexibility, and robustness, rather than blazing speed. As a result, Apache is an incredibly sophisticated and feature-rich product. Apache can be used in a variety of capacities; in addition to basic web serving tasks, Apache can be integrated with various web development languages, such as Perl, PHP, and Java. Apache also provides an extensive API that allows developers to augment its capabilities so that it can do almost anything.

The Apache team is not focused on raw speed, though that's not to say that Apache isn't fast. In fact, it's quite speedy. However, since the Apache developers aren't interested in eking out every last ounce of performance they can, a number of products are faster than Apache. Very few are more stable or feature-rich, though.

The Apache HTTP Server is an extremely flexible and sophisticated piece of software. This chapter describes the process of installing Apache and getting it running. This chapter also discusses the basics of customizing Apache to meet the needs of a specific site. However, Apache is far too sophisticated to go into much detail. Instead, this chapter focuses on making generalizations about Apache that illustrate techniques that will be useful with other software.

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Just the Facts: Apache Web Server

Purpose: The Apache HTTP Server is a robust, full-featured, extensible web server suitable for serving both static web pages and dynamic web applications written in a wide variety of languages.

Authors: The Apache Software Foundation

Web site:

Description: The Apache Software Foundation is the parent organization for a number of important software packages. Foremost among these is the eponymous Apache HTTP Server. This server is among the most robust web servers available, and it is the platform of choice for over half of the web sites on the Internet. Apache provides the basis for designing web sites using a wide variety of technologies.

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Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
Tuning and Customizing a Linux System
ISBN: 1893115275
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 159 © 2008-2017.
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