Types of web servers and Their USP
Every Website that you visit using the Internet is stored on a computer known as a Web server, and each of them has unique address made up using four numbers between 0 and 255. All four numbers are separated using periods. For example- (184.108.40.206) or (220.127.116.11)
Note- Web server needs Internet Connection for 24/7.
To create a website, first of all, you need is a domain name such as HSIM.in. Now, to host your site, you will need to specify the IP address of the Web server. Besides, to support your web-based operations, you can use Dedicated Servers with your site. However, keep in mind that the web hosting cost will increase.
You can choose a server out of four leading web servers, and they are Apache, IIS, Lighttpd, and Nginx. If you are confused that which one to use for your website, then don’t worry, I will provide the features and unique selling point for each of them and why you should opt for them.
Do want to run a secure website without causing yourself a headache then Apache is the web server that you need. Right now, it is one of the most popular web servers that you can find. To increase their online presence, most solopreneurs and small businesses prefer apache over any other web server. Moreover, this popular web server is developed by the Apache Software Foundation. The main USP of the Apache web server is that it is open source software and you can install it on almost every operating system including UNIX, Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, Mac OS and more. In case you don’t believe me then let me update you with a stat- more than 60% of the web server machines runs on the Apache Web Server.
If you want to install an Apache web server on your site without any customization than you can do so by installing a WordPress website. Now, you might have a question about why WordPress and not any other CMS (Content Management System). Well, don’t worry you can use apache server CMS’s like Drupal, Joomla, etc. For web frameworks Laravel, Django, are supported. In addition to this, there are seven reasons why Apache has become the first choice for all types of web hosting platforms like shared and VPS hosting.
- Get Frequent updates with regular security patches.
- Open-source and free and available for commercial use.
- Reliable and stable software.
- Highly flexible due to its module-based structure.
- Easy to configure, beginner-friendly.
- Cross-platform works with both Windows and UNIX servers.
- Works out of the box with WordPress sites.
- To solve your queries, Apache has a vast community and readily available support.
Internet Information Services (IIS)
With high performance, Internet Information Server or IIS is a Web Server released by Microsoft that runs on Windows NT/2000, 2003, Windows 7, 8 and 10 platforms. Moreover, IIS is pre-included in Windows NT/2000 and 2003, and due to this, it is relatively easy to administer it.
Features of IIS
IIS has lots of features, and one of them is that you can use it to host your static websites and ASP.net based web applications. In addition to this, you can always use this server as an FTP server. You can also use it to host WCF services and provide extended support to host web applications that are built on other platforms such as PHP.
With IIS web server, you get built-in authentication options such as ASP.NET, Basic and Windows Auth. However, the windows authorization will only work if you have a Windows Active Directory environment. By using this, users can sign into web applications automatically using their domain accounts. If you are wondering about the security features, well, you will get built-in security features including binding for enabling HTTPS and SFTP on your sites, request filtering for whitelisting or blacklisting traffic, TLS certificate management, authorization rules, request logging, and several other FTP-specific security options. By now, you might have got the idea of the main USP of the Internet Information Services web server. How easily you can use IIS by extending it to fulfill your several purposes.
The next web server is Lighttpd, but it is most commonly pronounced as lighty. It is a free web server that is distributed with the FreeBSD operating system. Lighttpd is an open source web server that is blazingly fast and secure. However, the main USP of this server is that it consumes much less CPU power as compared to other web servers. Similar to Apache, you can run Lighttpd on Windows, Mac OS X, Solaris and Linux operating systems. In addition to all these features, Lighttpd has a variety of advanced features with the support of PHP and security features. So, let’s find out what are they-
Advanced Features of Lighttpd
- Virtual Hosts
- Listings of the virtual directory.
- Rewriting of URL and automatic redirection of the HTTP protocol.
- Expiration of files Large File Support.
- Gzip, bzip2 authentication.
- Secure application controlled downloads.
- Includes Server Side.
- User Tracking FastCGI, CGI, SSI
- Quite faster than apache + mod_php4
- Lighttpd can spawn FastCGI processes that are necessary for PHP 4.3 + using the FastCGI and CGI interface.
- Load-balanced FastCGI. You can use it to distribute the request of one web server to multiple PHP-servers through FastCGI
- Chroot(), set UID, set GID.
- Protection of docroot.
- Strict parsing of HTTP-header.
Nginx web server
Are you looking for an alternative for Apache web server? Well, your search is over because Nginx is an open source web server that you can use to replace Apache. Nginx web server is most commonly known for its high performance, simple configuration, stability, simple configuration, low uses of resources including IMAP/POP3 proxy server.
Unlike any other server, Nginx doesn’t use threads to handle the requests. Instead, it works on a much more scalable event-driven architecture that uses small and predictable amounts of memory under load. Due to all these features, this web server has become popular in recent times as it is hosting more than 7.5% domains worldwide. Most web hosting companies now prefer Nginx web server over any other servers.
Most web hosting companies prefer web servers based on the requirement of their clients. They decide by fulfilling some criteria such as the number of clients present on a single server, which applications/software most clients use and by using them how much traffic they can generate and how much a web server can handle that traffic. So, by reading all the features of these most popular web servers and decide which meets your requirement.