Webservers are core for any web hosting. Yes, without a web server, you can’t even dream of pulling your website content online.
A web server is a program that uses HTTP to serve files that create web pages to users in response to their requests, which are sent by their computer's HTTP connection.
Any server that delivers an XML document to another device can be a web server. A better definition might be that a web server is an Internet server that responds to HTTP requests to deliver content and services.
Different types of web servers
In the open market, there are different types of web servers available. Let's discuss the most popular web servers. Apache, IIS, Nginx and LiteSpeed are a few of them.
One of the most popular webservers in the world was developed by the Apache Software Foundation. Apache is an open-source software which supports almost all operating systems including Linux, Unix, Windows, FreeBSD, Mac OS X and more. About 60% of machines run on Apache Web Server.
Customization of the apache web server is easy as it contains a modular structure. It is also open-source which means that you can add your own modules to the server when required and make modifications that suit your requirements.
It is more stable than any other webserver and is easier to solve administrative issues. It can be installed on multiple platforms successfully.
Recent apache releases provide you with the feasibility of handling more requests when you compare them to their earlier versions.
IIS is a Microsoft product. This server has all the features just like apache. But it is not open-source and moreover adding personal modules is not easy and modification becomes a little difficult job.
Microsoft developed this product and they maintain it, thus it works with all the windows operating system platforms. Also, they provide good customer support if it had any issues.
Another free open source web server is Nginx, which includes IMAP/POP3 proxy server. Nginx is known for its high performance, stability, simple configuration and low resource usage.
This web server doesn’t use threads to handle requests but rather a much more scalable event-driven architecture which uses small and predictable amounts of memory under load. It is getting popular in recent times and it is hosting about 7.5% of all domains worldwide. Most web hosting companies are using this in recent times.
LiteSpeed (LSWS) is a high-performance Apache drop-in replacement. LSWS is the 4th most popular web server on the internet and it is a commercial web server.
Upgrading your webserver to LiteSpeed will improve performance and lower operating costs.
This is compatible with most common apache features, including mod_rewrite, .htaccess, and mod_security. LSWS can load Apache configuration files directly and works as a drop-in replacement for apache with most of the hosting control panels. It replaces apache in less than 15 minutes with zero downtime.
Unlike other front-end proxy solutions, LSWS replaces all Apache functions, simplifying use and making the transition from Apache smooth and easy. Most hosting companies were using LSWS in recent times.
Apache Tomcat functions as a web server, a free and open-source application of Jakarta Servlet, Jakarta Expression Language, and WebSocket technologies. Tomcat provides a "pure Java" HTTP web server environment in which Java code can run. A Java program that expands the capabilities of a server is called a Java servlet. These web servlets are Java equivalent to other dynamic web content technologies such as PHP and ASP.NET. Servlets can respond to requests, but they most commonly implement applications hosted on web servers.
Tomcat is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation, released under the Apache License 2.0 license. Sun Microsystems donated Tomcat's codebase to the Apache Software Foundation in 1999, which became a top-level Apache project in 2005. Currently, it powers just under 1% of all websites.
Released under the Apache License version 2, Apache Tomcat is typically used to run Java applications. But, it can be extended with Coyote, so that it can also perform the role of a normal web server that serves local files as HTTP documents.
The Node.js distributed development project was previously governed by the Node.js Foundation and has now merged with the JS Foundation to form the OpenJS Foundation, which is facilitated by the Linux Foundation's Collaborative Projects program.
Pronounced as "lightly", Lighttpd was initially released in March 2003. It runs approximately 0.1% of all websites and is distributed under a BSD license.
Lighttpd stands unique due to its small CPU load, low memory footprint, and speed optimizations. It is a popularly used web server for the web frameworks such as Catalyst and Ruby on Rails. An event-driven architecture is used by it and is optimized for many parallel connections and supports FastCGI, Auth, Output-compression, SCGI, URL-rewriting and many more features.