Most of you probably don’t know that more than 80% of website in the world is powered by the free web server software. And out of that, 90% of the web server market is dominated by the top 2-3 webserver software. Sounds confusing or interesting? Let’s figure it out in this article about Top 3 best free web server to host your website which dominates the entire world wide web.
But before we read about the top 3 web server software let’s learn first what is a web server.
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What is a Web Server
A web server is a piece of software installed on the server side computer to serve files /data to the user across the globe through HTTP protocol. The HTTP protocol is a standard protocol to server request by a web server for client or user who requested the information
Let’s take an example to explain the web server. When we type www.google.com, our computer sends a request to that server-side computer that host Google.Com. That server-side computer responds to our requests through software which we call web server software. So the main purpose of web server software is to serve content to the client when requested.
Apache was launched in 1995 and currently powers more than 50% of website worldwide. It is currently the most popular web server. What makes Apache so popular is its modularity. You can enhance the capabilities of Apache by installing tons of modules. For example, the mod_php module enables easy deployment of PHP in Apache. Apache is also an open source software, so it’s free to use and easy to configure. Let’s summarize why Apache is so great as it powers more than half of the websites in the world.
Why Apache is so popular
- Apache is available for all platforms, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. It has the versatility to work with multiple platforms.
- It offers a high level of modularity. So you can add modules to enhance the capabilities of Apache.
- A great chunk of websites use C panel as a hosting control panel and Apache is the default server for that.
- You can configure individual directories by editing the .htaccess file.
- Supports the new protocol HTTP/2, compression and load balancing.
- Since Apache launched many years back so it could able to build the trust.
Let’s talk about the drawbacks of using Apache
- Apache has the bad reputation of not performing well under concurrent load.
- Still, they do not have a default cache mechanism which is the current trend of reducing load to the server.
NGINX ( pronounced like Engine-X) performs where apache lacks to perform. The problem with Apache was that it used to get slow down on concurrent connections. NGINX solves this problem and can handle concurrent connection very easily. It was invented by a Russian engineer in 2004 as an answer to solve the C10K Problem ( Handling 10 K concurrent connections).
NGINX work on an asynchronous event direct approach where all request are handled by a master thread. That master thread has multiple worker threads which handle multiple concurrent connections. All connections are handled by worker thread and master thread handles the processes of the worker thread. Since all connections from the host are handled by multiple worker threads so NGINX can handle huge concurrent connections. NGINX support both Linux and Windows operating systems.
Salient features of NGINX
- Support Reverse proxy with caching.
- Support IPV6
- Fast CGI support with Caching
- Load balancing
- Best in class handling of the static file, the index file and auto indexing.
- Asynchronous architecture for high concurrent connections.
- Web socket, keep alive connections.
Read Also: 10 Most common myths about shared hosting
Read also: What is SSL. Types of SSL compared
LiteSpeed Web server is new to the market but within a short span, it could able to gain a considerable amount of market share. It’s a very lightweight web server launched in 2002. Recently it was noticed that most shared hosting server is powered by Litespeed server. Reason being shared hosting is already very slow and if we use apace, it becomes slower. But since Litespeed web server is not an open source web server, it still yet to gain popularity among the VPS and dedicated servers. Among the few hosts that offer Litespeed web server, A2 hosting offers the best rate and they claim to give 20 times more speed using Litespeed server.
Litespeed web server can handle thousands of concurrent connections like NGINX despite having very low memory. It can also read the Apache configuration file, which means that if you want to migrate from Apache to LiteSpeed Web server it would be very easy and stress-free. Litespeed server claims to handle twice the load of an Apache server with its basic configuration. One more thing that helps Litespeed to stands out in the crowd is the award-winning cache plugin that comes bundled with the server. So if you buy Litespeed server, you don’t need to invest in any other cache plugin. All your web pages will be optimized automatically by Litespeed cache which is among the best in the industry. Litespeed web server is only available for Linux as of now.
How Litespeed Webserver stand out in the crowd
- First to offer off the shelve caching and google page speed optimization module.
- Support HTTP/2
- Event-driven architecture to handle concurrent connections.
- Support mob_rewrite, so migrating from apache is a breeze.
- GUI based admin interface for smooth navigation
- Availability of fastest Litespeed cache plugin for almost all the CMS
These are the Top 3 best free web servers used by more than 95% of websites. Apache being the largest stakeholder followed by NGINX and Litespeed. Out of all these, the Litespeed server would be the best pick considering that you want to build a super fast server with all bells and whistles. But since Litespeed web server is not a free server so NGINX would be a great choice.
NGINX has almost all features of Litespeed and also comes for free. It also has its own caching solution, although it is far behind the Litespeed cache. But for a free server, I believe NGINX offers the most. A suggestion would be to avoid Apache unless you get an excellent low-cost web hosting deals. All our websites are hosted in NGINX server and all scores good in Google Page Speed, GT Matrix and Pingdom tools with a response time less than 3 seconds.
That’s all we have in this article. If you have any queries please do write in the comment section and I will be happy to answer. If you find this article helpful please rate us five stars.