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Apache installation and configuration


It was a cold morning in New York City, early 1996 when I entered the office

and rushed to the kitchen for that hot mug of coffee to warm myself. I met

with my boss to discuss the tasks for the day, one of which was, "Install and

configure Apache".

Hmmm, I thought to myself. What is this Apache? I had heard about the Native

American tribe, the Indian who sings ragamuffin reggae and the 1957 Chevrolet

classic truck but I did not know that it was something that could be installed

and configured on my Solaris 2.5.1 box.

I then embarked on a trip that took me through history, technology,

philosophy, and statistics. In this article I will share stories of my trip

with you and hope that it inspires you to take a journey to meet the ruler of

the web, Apache.

What is Apache?

Apache is a web server. In fact Apache is the worlds most popular and

dominating web server with over 61% of all Internet web servers running

Apache. A far second is Microsoft IIS, with a measly 19% of market share. This

is a true testament to Apache's popularity. (Statistics courtesy of


Apache actually stands for "A patchy server". Since the original Apache was

built from "patching" the original NCSA HTTP daemon in early 1995.

Apache is not owned by a single commercial entity (like IIS is owned by

Microsoft, iPlanet is owned by Sun/Netscape Alliance) but rather, is developed

by a loose knit team of voluntary programmers scattered across the globe,

collaborating through the Internet. Today, development of Apache is

coordinated by a non-profit organization called the Apache Foundation.

Apache has been written in C, using a dynamic, modular architecture (much like

the kernel module architecture) in which pieces of functionality can be

inserted into the web server by loading pieces of code known as modules. The

pieces of code are built as shared libraries/objects on Unix systems. These

pieces of code can also be statically compiled into Apache. This makes Apache

highly extensible and configurable.

But where can I get Apache if I don't have it?

Apache is available for download on the Internet, free of charge and is

bundled with all (??) Linux distributions. In fact, most (or maybe all) Linux

distributions install and configure Apache for you by default. In other words

when you install Linux, you are also installing Apache.