What Is Apache Web Server? What It Is and How It Works – Kinsta

Apache is a popular

open-source cross-platform web server that is, by the numbers, the most popular web server out there. It is actively maintained by the Apache Software Foundation.

Some high-profile companies using Apache include Cisco, IBM, Salesforce, General Electric, Adobe, VMware, Xerox, LinkedIn, Facebook, Hewlett-Packard, AT&T, Siemens, eBay, and many more (source).

In addition to its popularity, it is also one of the oldest web hosts, with its first release in 1995. Many cPanel hosts use Apache today. Like other web hosts, Apache powers the behind-the-scenes aspects of serving your website files to visitors.

Because Apache doesn’t perform as well in some benchmarks, especially for static websites or websites with high traffic, Kinsta uses the NGINX web server instead of Apache. Although NGINX hasn’t been around for as long as Apache, it has grown rapidly in popularity and market share since its launch in 2004.

How does Apache work? While

there is a

lot of complexity underpinning how a web server works, the basic job of all web servers is to accept requests from clients (e.g., a visitor’s web browser) and then send the response to that request (e.g., the components of the page a visitor wants to view).

The Apache web server has modules that add more features to its software, such as MPM (to handle multiple processing modes) or mod_ssl to enable SSL v3 and TLS support (suggested reading: TLS vs SSL). Some common features seen in Apache include:


  • htaccess
  • IPv6
  • FTP
  • HTTP/2
  • Perl, Lua and PHP
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • WebDAV
  • Load balancing
  • URL rewriting
  • Session tracking
  • Geolocation based on IP address

While a web host is an essential part of any website, it’s important to note that casual WordPress users are unlikely to interact directly with your server. web most of the time.

Apache vs Nginx usage statistics

When you look at every website on the internet, Apache is the most popular web server. It powers 47% of websites with a known web server, according to W3Techs.

However, Apache usage decreases considerably when you start looking at the most trafficked sites on the web. Apache powers only:

27.1% of the 100,000 most popular sites 21.5% of the 10,000 most popular sites

  • 16.2% of the 1,000
  • most popular sites This drop is likely due, at least in part, to Apache’s lower benchmarks for high-traffic websites. In contrast, NGINX, the web server that Kinsta uses, is used by most




56.1% of the 100,000 most popular sites

    63.2% of the 10,000 most popular sites

  • 57% of the 1,000 most popular sites
  • If you check Google search trends since

  • 2004,

you can see this trend unfolding where Apache’s popularity (as a search term) is declining while NGINX’s is increasing.

<img src="https://kinsta.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/search-terms-nginx-vs-apache-e1521229502606.png" alt="Google Trends Results Apache vs NGINX since 2004

” />Apache vs NGINX
Google Trends results since 2004

How to check which web server

you’re using

If you want to see if you’re using Apache or NGINX, you can often (but not always) look at your site’s

HTTP header.

To view your site’s HTTP header, you can:


  • the Network tab button in Chrome Developer Tools Use
  • a tool such as Pingdom or GTmetrix
Apache HTTP headerApache
HTTP header


However, this method may not work if you are using a service like Cloudflare

. Apache

and the Apache Pen logo are trademarks of The Apache Software Foundation.

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