The Apache Web Server (commonly known as "Apache") is, by most measures, the leading server on the Web today. For ten years it has been the unrivaled and unchallenged market leader, with approximately 70 percent of all websites running Apache. It is backed by a vibrant and active development community that operates under the umbrella of the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), and it is supported by a wide range of people and organizations, ranging from giants such as IBM down to individual consultants.
The key characteristics of Apache are its openness and diversity. The source code is completely open: Not only the current version, but also past versions and experimental development versions can be downloaded by anyone from apache.org. The development process is also open, with the exception of a few matters dealing with project management. Apache's diversity is a reflection of its user and developer communities: It is equally at home in an ultra-high-volume site that receives tens of thousands of hits per second, a complex and highly dynamic web application, a bridge to a separate application server, or a simple homepage host. The inclusion of developers from such diverse roles helps ensure that Apache continues to serve all of these widely differing environments successfully.
Yet that doesn't mean Apache follows a one-size-fits-all approach. Its highly modular architecture is built on a small core, which enables every user to tailor it to meet his or her own specific needs. Apache serves equally well as a stand-alone webserver or a component in some other system. Most importantly, it is a highly flexible and extensible applications platform.
About the Author
Nick Kew is a leading developer of Apache applications, many of which can be found at his company's site, http://apache.webthing.com. He is a member of the Apache Web server core development team and of the Apache Software Foundation. He is active in both user and developer support, and gives tutorials and presentations at relevant conferences such as ApacheCon. He created and maintains http://www.apachetutor.org, and writes on Apache topics for a range of leading online publications.