web server software


Welcome to another article in the series of Web Server Solution Stacks. In the recent past, we have published blog posts on topics such as Setup XAMPP and phpMyAdmin as localhost on Windows, How to Install Nextcloud with Apache on Ubuntu Server, Setup Tutorial For LEMP Stack On Ubuntu 18.04 and some more. As a developer, when you decide to develop a web application, the selection of web and database servers for hosting an application is the first task. Before deploying a web app on a live server, developers must build and test the app on the local server first. There are many options for open source web server software. A good web server should have qualities like user-friendliness, stability, expandability, and scalability.

A web server is a type of software that is installed on the operating system. With the help of HTTP transfer protocols, client requests are passed on to the webs erver and in return, the web server delivers documents to requesting clients. For static content, like HMTL files or images, then the web server directly processes the request by sending the corresponding data to the client. Dynamic content, on the other hand, can only be rendered with the help of databases and script modules. However, the most commonly used free HTTP server solutions include:


XAMPP stands for Cross-Platform (X), Apache (A), MariaDB (M), PHP (P), and Perl (P). It is a free and open-source web server software. It helps developers to test their web apps or websites in their development environment. XAMPP has all the necessary components including Apache, Perl as well as MySQL database, and PHP. It provides a reliable development environment for Perl and PHP based web applications. Moreover, It provides MariaDB and MySQL for database management. Here are some of its key features:

  • Open Source
  • Multiple Instances
  • Compatibility
  • Non-linear development
  • Web server with database

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NGINX web server supports all the components of the modern Web including WebSocket, HTTP/2, and streaming of multiple video formats. It started out as a web server but now, it has developed to also function as a reverse proxy software for email (IMAP, POP3, and SMTP). It also works as a reverse proxy and load balancer for HTTP, TCP, and UDP servers. Moreover, this reverse proxy software consistently beats Apache and other servers if measured on web server performance. Some important features of NGINX include:

  • Modular architecture
  • Load balancing and fault tolerance
  • IP-based geolocation
  • Name-based and IP-based virtual servers
  • Supports SSL and TLS SNI

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Lighttpd is an open source lightweight web server software, designed especially for Linux machines. It doesn’t require a lot of memory and CPU usage. Which makes it one of the best for any project that needs speed and high performance. Lighttpd is the perfect solution for every server that is suffering speed or performance issues. Moreover, Lightweight web server provides advanced feature sets including FastCGI, SCGI, Auth, Output-Compression and URL-Rewriting, etc. Other than PHP it also supports other programming languages including Python, Perl, Ruby, and many more. Here are some popular features of Lighttpd:

  • Small size, only 1MB
  • Support for FastCGI, SCGI, CGI interfaces
  • HTTP/2 support
  • TLS session ticket key rotation control
  • Very optimized CPU and RAM usage

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Caddy server is extremely easy to configure and use. It takes care of TLS certificate renewals, OCSP stapling, static file serving as well as reverse proxying and Kubernetes ingress. Moreover, this static file server is a cross-platform, open source web server, and can run across all major operating systems including macOS, Linux, and Windows. Caddy is a flexible and efficient static file web server as well as a powerful and scalable reverse proxy. Use the Caddy server for compression, template evaluation, and Markdown rendering of your websites. Here are some key features of the Caddy web server:

  • Easy configuration with the Caddyfile
  • Access, error, and process logs
  • Automatic HTTPS by default
  • Server Name Indication
  • Graceful restart/reload

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Apache Tomcat is an open-source implementation of the Java Servlet, JavaServer Pages, Java Expression Language, and Java WebSocket technologies. Moreover, It is one of the most widely used applications and web servers. Tomcat server is simple to use and has a robust ecosystem of add-ons. Apache Tomcat Software can be used as a standalone product with its own internal Web server as well as with other Web servers such as Apache, Netscape Enterprise Server, Microsoft Personal Web server, and Microsoft Internet Information Server. Here are some key features of Apache Tomcat:

  • Lightweight
  • Open-Source
  • Open-Source
  • Highly Secured
  • Servlet 3.0 and JSP 2.2 specifications.

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In this article, we have discussed the 5 most popular open source web server software. There is no single best option for a solution stack. Choosing the best web server depends upon the size and speed requirements as well as the complexity of your web application. This blog post will really help you if you are looking to deploy a free HTTP server for your business. Open source community is very vibrant and has developed many dynamic and static file server solutions. To check out complete details of the above-mentioned solution stacks, please visit the links mentioned in the “Explore” section below.

Finally, containerize.com is continuously writing blog posts on further open source products and topics. Therefore, please stay in touch with the Web Server Solution Stacks category for regular updates. Moreover, you can follow us on our social media accounts FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.