Web serving with Apache and Linux

The Apache Web server (www.apache.org) is developed by the Apache Software Foundation. The project is managed under an open source model, allowing user input and feedback at the most fundamental of levels. Since this model parallels that of the Linux kernel, programmers involved in each project can work within one another's interests, providing the fastest and most reliable Web serving possible. The success of Apache is seen in the NetCraft Web server survey (www.netcraft.org/survey) which showed that as of April 2000 the Apache Web server was used by 61.53 per cent of the almost 14.5 million Web sites surveyed.

The Apache Web server has a modular design which allows it to be tightly interfaced with Linux. Both the Perl (www.perl.org) and PHP (www.php.net) interpreters can be embedded in the server. Because these scripting interpreters are integrated into the server, applications scripted in these popular languages can be run as fast and efficiently as possible. Both Perl and PHP are also open source projects, lending themselves to compatibility with existing business environments while taking advantage of the functionality of Apache.

The Apache Software Foundation is also working on an open source XML project (http://xml.apache.org) which is receiving contributions and support from IBM and Sun Microsystems. The support of big names such as these will see that Apache XML is among the leading XML technology - a technology which will not only deliver the Web to all kinds of media devices, but also simplify the management of online content while enhancing its possibilities.

Apache is very easy to set up and administer. The source can be obtained from the Apache download page at www.apache.org/dist. After it is compiled and installed, the editing of a single, highly-documented configuration file to specify site details is all that is required. There is extensive documentation at www.apache.org/docs for trouble shooting problems and to give details of more complicated optimisations. Running in the Linux environment, the server lends itself to easy remote maintenance and monitoring. This means that getting an online presence up and running can be made easy - and virtually free of cost!

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