Top 5 Popular Web Server Examples

Top 5 Web Server Examples. The webserver is a piece of software that automates the web application and its web component execution i.e. it listens to client requests continuously 24*7. It takes the request, passes them to appropriate web components, executes them dynamically, gathers the result from them, and sends the results as responses to the browser. In simple words we can say, a web server retrieves content from local storage and delivers it to the client.  Let us see the top 5 web server examples.

The top 5 popular web server examples are:-

  • Apache Web Server
  • IIS (Internet Information Services)
  • NGINX
  • Apache Tomcat
  • Lighttpd

We will see these web server examples one by one in detail.

Apache Web Server

  • Original author: Robert McCool
  • Developer(s): Apache Software Foundation
  • Default Port: 80
  • Initial Release: 1995
  • Written in: C, XML
  • Operating System:- Unix/Linux, Microsoft Windows, OpenVMS and e.t.c.

Apache HTTP Server is a free and open-source web server that delivers web content through the internet. It is commonly referred to as Apache and after development, it quickly became the most popular HTTP client on the web. Apache is currently the most widely used web server. 

It was first released in 1995 – quickly conquered the market and became the world’s most popular web server. Nowadays, it still is in that market position but mostly for legacy reasons. It’s now developed and maintained by the Apache Foundation, under the Apache license

It’s freeware, and compatible with Linux, Windows, FreeBSD, Mac, and several other platforms. Generally, it comes pre-installed with all major Linux distributions, like Red Hat/Centos and Ubuntu.

IIS

  • Developer(s): Microsoft
  • Default Port: 80
  • Initial Release: 30 May 1995
  • Written in: C++
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows

The IIS stands for Internet Information Services, and it is also one of the top web server examples. IIS was given by the Microsoft Corporation in 1995. As is expected of a core Microsoft product, it only runs and is bundled on Windows operating systems and used to host your ASP.NET Web application. but it is free for use.

Most commonly, IIS is used to host ASP.NET web applications and static websites. It can also be used as an FTP server, host WCF services, and be extended to host web applications built on other platforms such as PHP. There are built-in authentication options such as Basic, ASP.NET, and Windows auth.

Unlike Apache, IIS is installed on Windows operating systems and its applications are using ASP.NET and MSSQL databases. According to some tests, IIS is faster than Apache (though still slower than Nginx). It consumes less CPU, has better response time, and can handle more requests per second.

NGINX

  • Original author: Igor Sysoev 
  • Developer(s): Nginx Inc.
  • Default Port: 80
  • Initial Release: 4 October 2004
  • Written in: C
  • Operating system: Linux, macOS, Solaris, Microsoft Windows, and e.t.c.

NGINX is a free, open-source software for web serving, reverse proxying, caching, load balancing, media streaming, and more. In addition to its HTTP server capabilities, NGINX can also function as a proxy server for email (IMAP, POP3, and SMTP) and a reverse proxy and load balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP servers. NGINX was developed by Igor Sysoev in 2002.

Nginx has grown in popularity since its release due to its lightweight resource utilization and its ability to scale easily on minimal hardware. Nginx excels at serving static content quickly and is designed to pass dynamic requests off to other software that is better suited for those purposes.

It was developed to handle hundreds of concurrent connections, delivering better performance. Meant to be a load-balanced web server for heavy applications. Also, it claims to be responsible for 66% of the busiest sites.

NGINX is about 2.5 times faster than Apache based on the results of a benchmark test running up to 1,000 concurrent connections. Clearly, NGINX serves static content much faster than Apache. If you need to serve a lot of static content at high concurrency levels, NGINX can be a real help.

Nginx Unit is an open-source web application server, released in 2017 by NGINX, Inc. to target multi-language microservices-based applications. The initial release supported applications written in Go, PHP, and Python. By version 1.11.0, the support was extended to Java, Node.js, Perl, and Ruby applications; other features include dynamic configuration, request routing, and load balancing.

Apache Tomcat

  • Original author: James Duncan Davidson
  • Developer(s): Apache Software Foundation
  • Written in: Java
  • Initial Release: 1999
  • Classifications: Application server
  • Default Port: 8080 
  • Gives two built-in containers: Servlet Container, JSP container
  • Servlet Container name: CATALINA
  • JSP Container name: JASPER
  • HTTP Connector: Coyote
Tomcat successful installation - web server examples

Apache Tomcat (called “Tomcat” for short) is a free and open-source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and WebSocket technologies. Tomcat provides a “pure Java” HTTP web server environment in which Java code can run.

Apache Tomcat was initially developed by Sun Microsystems, and then it was transferred to the Apache Software Foundation in 1999. Now, it 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.

By the way, Tomcat usually works under port 8080 and supports PHP, ASP.net, Perl, Python, etc. Up to the tomcat version5, it was a web server but from the tomcat version6 onwards it is an application server. See- Difference between the web server and application server.

Lighttpd

  • Original author: Jan Kneschke
  • Default Port: 80
  • Initial Release: March 2003
  • Written in: C

lighttpd (pronounced “lighty”) is an open-source web server optimized for speed-critical environments while remaining standards-compliant, secure, and flexible. It was originally written by Jan Kneschke as a proof-of-concept of the c10k problem – how to handle 10,000 connections in parallel on one server but has gained worldwide popularity. Its name is a portmanteau of “light” and “httpd”.

Lighttpd was initially developed in 2003. Basically, it’s not a very common web server software example for public websites on the internet. It has a big advantage: as the name says, it’s the lighter HTTP server available. It uses a very low memory, CPU, and disk space.

Internet routers, web cameras, and other small hardware use Lighttpd as their web server.  Lighttpd’s FastCGI can be configured to support PHP with opcode caches (like APC) properly and efficiently. Additionally, it has received attention from its popularity within the Python, Perl, Ruby, and Lua communities. Lighttpd also supports WebDNA, the resilient in-memory database system designed to build database-driven websites. It is a popular web server for the Catalyst and Ruby on Rails web frameworks. Lighttpd does not support ISAPI.

Lighttpd was used in the past by several high-traffic websites, including Bloglines, xkcd, Meebo, and YouTube. The Wikimedia Foundation also once ran Lighttpd servers.


Those were the top 5 popular web server examples. They were:- Apache Web Server, IIS, NGINX, Apache Tomcat, Lighttpd.

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