Apache Web Server is an open source Web server creation, deployment and management software. Initially developed by a group of software programmers, it is now maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.
As of 2013, with over 100 million websites and over 50 percent of the global market share, Apache Web Server is one of the most commonly used applications for website hosting.
Apache Web Server is designed to create Web servers that have the ability to host one or more HTTP-based websites. Notable features include the ability to support multiple programming languages, server side scripting, an authentication mechanism and database support.
Apache Web Server can be enhanced by manipulating the code base or adding multiple extensions/add-ons.
It is also widely used by Web hosting companies for the purpose of providing shared/virtual hosting, as by default, Apache Web Server supports and distinguishes between different hosts that reside on the same machine.
Apache is the most popular Web server software. It enables a computer to host one or more websites that can be accessed over the Internet using a Web browser.
The first version of Apache was released in 1995 by the Apache Group. In 1999, the Apache Group became the Apache Software Foundation, a non-profit organization that currently maintains the development of the Apache Web server software.
Apache's popularity in the Web hosting market is largely because it is open source and free to use. Therefore, Web hosting companies can offer Apache-based Web hosting solutions at minimal costs.
Other server software, such as Windows Server, requires a commercial license. Apache also supports multiple platforms, including Linux, Windows, and Macintosh operating systems. Since many Linux distributions are also open-source, the Linux/Apache combination has become the most popular Web hosting configuration.
Apache can host static websites, as well as dynamic websites that use server-side scripting languages, such as PHP, Python, or Perl. Support for these and other languages is implemented through modules, or installation packages that are added to the standard Apache installation.
Apache also supports other modules, which offer advanced security options, file management tools, and other features. Most Apache installations include a URL rewriting module called "mod_rewrite," which has become a common way for webmasters to create custom URLs.
While the Apache Web server software is commonly referred to as just "Apache," it is technically called "Apache HTTP Server," since the software serves webpages over the HTTP protocol. When Apache is running, its process name is "httpd," which is short for "HTTP daemon."