19 Oct

Introduction to Web Server Software

As we all know web server is known to host websites, run enterprise applications, act as a data storage or make it a gaming server. In short, web server are computers that helps with the online content accessibility through web.

Web server can be referred as both hardware and software.

  • Hardware (Computer) –  it is used to host web applications and
  • Software (computer application) – to deliver the requested online content to end user.

Here we will talk about various web servers as far as software part is concern.

Choosing a web server software is not an easy task, considering compatibility factor among software and hardware (physical/virtual server) for best performance and efficiency. As per the budget and need of the application server, buyers faces many problems in selection of suitable web server software to run on their dedicated server.

How you can choose a perfect web server to operate your website? Which factors you should check? Before that, let’s get an introduction of all major web servers:

Apache, Microsoft IIS, NGINX, LiteSpeed and Google Web Server are the major web servers. According to Netcraft, a site that monitors Web server activity worldwide, in October 2014 over 385 million Web servers were running Apache or 37.46% of all Web servers running Apache. IIS ranks second with over 345 million Web sites, or 33.38% of the market (obtained from http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2014/10/10/october-2014-web-server-survey.html).

Open source such as Apache, NGINX, LiteSpeed etc. and for website with ASP.NET code, Microsoft IIS is only option.


1) Apache

The #1 HTTP Server on the Internet! It is project of Apache HTTP Server with a goal to provide secure HTTP server for all the modern operating systems. As it is Open Source, it is available free of cost with no licensing fees. Homepage link is http://httpd.apache.org.

  • Advantages:

– Feature-full and stable.

– Fully Customized due to modular structures.

– High security (normally vulnerabilities are attacked on Windows based server)

– Strong Support from User community.

– Operates on Linux, UNIX, Windows MacOS and others.


  • Disadvantages:

– Process-based server: Each new connection needs a new thread, incurring enormous overhead.


2) Microsoft IIS

Microsoft IIS comes second after Apache in usage of web server application all around the world.  Internet Information Server (IIS) is very advanced web server created by Microsoft to work within Windows Environment. Page: http://www.iis.net

Operating Systems package includes the IIS just like IIS7 with Windows Server 2008, IIS6 with Windows Server 2003. It is bundled free with windows OS.

  • Advantages:

– Created by Microsoft to work within Windows Environment.

– Complete access to .NET framework & various ASPX scripts

– Supports PHP in most recent Windows releases.

– Installation makes easy with GUI interface.

– Compatible with other Microsoft services

– IIS Performance Monitoring tools are good.

– Microsoft IIS Tech Support team is excellent with accurate response capability.

– Includes good crash protection system.


  • Disadvantages:

– Not fully customized web server.

– Less Stability than other open source web servers.

– Expensive than other open source web server

– Comparatively less secure.



It is an open-source HTTP Web server including IMAP and POP server. Home Page of NGINX is http://wiki.nginx.org/Main and it is totally free for usage.

  • Advantages:

– High Performance, speed and excellent reverse-proxy server with caching.

– It is an event-based server with minimal memory resource usage.

– Highly recommended for websites running on a VPS.

– Support well on Linux, UNIX, Windows and MacOS and Windows Server 2003


4) LiteSpeed

One of the fastest growing web servers in the industry. Home Page of LiteSpeed: http://www.litespeedtech.com/products/litespeed-web-server/overview

  • Advantages:

– Lightweight web server

– Fastest among the other web servers.

– Event Driven Architecture.

– Apache compatibility.

– Built for high traffic websites and servers (ISP and data centres)

– Support well on FreeBSD, Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X.


5) Lighttpd

Open Source Lightweight web servers that is distributed with the FreeBSD OS. Homepage is www.lighttpd.net.

  • Advantages:

– Event-driven architecture

– High performance of Ajax Applications.

– Best for Ajax Web application design model supportive websites.

– Minimal resources needed

– Many popular Web 2.0 sites using this web server.

– Support well on Unix, Linux, Microsoft Windows OS


Whether you need an advanced and full-featured web hosting with all the latest versions of essential server software installed, consider Softsys Hosting.

With our standard unmanaged windows VPS or more sophisticated and flexible Softsys windows cloud VPS, you’re provided with full root level access and will be able to install any software and applications you may require.