Just recently, Netcraft, an Internet services company based in Bath, England, released their October 2005 Web Server Survey and it shows Apache and IIS controlling about 80% of the web server market. If you’re interested in alternatives to handle the loads and stresses facing your Web 2.0 application, I recommend checking out the following:

  • Lighttpd - Pronounced “lighty”, this open source light footprint httpd server has been receiving a lot of attention recently for its effective management of cpu-load and advanced feature set (FastCGI, CGI, Auth, Output-Compression, URL-Rewriting). The folks over at TextDrive love it and the developers over at BlinkSale use it.

  • LiteSpeed Web Server - LiteSpeed Web Server is engineered to be Apache interchangeable. Their measurements show that it is more than 6 times faster than Apache, beating other lightweight content accelerators when serving static content, plus up to 50% increase in PHP performance than that of Apache’s mod_php and more than doubled CGI/Fast CGI performance. They offer a freeware standard edition that allows for commerical usage.

  • W3C httpd - Also known as CERN httpd, this is a generic public domain full-featured hypertext server which can be used as a regular HTTP server. Meant to run on Unix platforms, this is an oldie but goodie for most hackers.

  • thttpd - This tiny/turbo/throttling HTTP server is another open source web server solution that’s about as fast as the full featured servers and even faster under extreme loads. Handling only the minimum necessary to implement HTTP, thhtpd is meant for Unix-like OSes.

  • WEBrick - WEBrick is a Ruby library program used to build HTTP servers. If you mess with Ruby on Rails, you probably used this get something started very quickly. They get goints taken off for their site design, but they make it all up in their efficiently simiplicity.

  • Common Lisp Hypermedia Server - If you follow the writings of Paul Graham, then you know Lisp was the secret to his success over his competitors. Free as rain, CLHS has distributions for Macintosh, Lisp Machine, Windows, Unix and other platforms.

  • Sun Java System Web Server - Formerly Sun ONE Web Server, this web server designed for medium and large business applications. Available on all major operating systems, the Java System Web Server provides organizations with a single deployment platform for Web services, JavaServer Pages (JSP) and Java Servlet technologies, Microsoft Active Server Pages, PHP, and CGI. Going to run you about $1500.

  • Zeus Web Server - ZWS is another high-performance web server targeted at business-critical solutions and secure e-commerce companies. It offers flexible web-based management, extensive integration capabilities and a ton of other features. They offer a 30 day free trial and additional products that easily introduces load balancing and traffic managing to your setup.

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Kevin Hale

Alternatives to Apache and IIS by Kevin Hale

This entry was posted 5 years ago and was filed under Notebooks.
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  1. Troels Arvin · 5 years ago

    You may also want to have a look at Cherokee: http://www.0x50.org/

  2. Douglas Clifton · 5 years ago

    And for Python fans, there’s Zope: http://www.zope.org/WhatIsZope, and the closely related Plone CMS: http://plone.org/

  3. grumpY! · 5 years ago

    also boa


    in reality any webserver daemon can almost certainly saturate your outbound connection on a properly configured server without maxing out the system load, so don’t replace apache thinking you are getting some advantage…all you are doing is moving to a niche codebase (less debugged, fewer people who can help you), with fewer features.