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You cannot browse and get information from World Wide Web without a Web servers.  The relation between web and a web server is like that of a baby and its mother. A web server is nothing but just a big computer that helps the users to retrieve the information they want from the World Wide Web. It uses a format for getting queries from the user and it is nothing but the HTTP protocol.

Introduction – Web servers

What happens when we type http://xxxx.com or https:xxxx.com to visit a website? The client computer sends a request to the web server to retrieve the file mentioned in HTTP command. The file can be an image, text, scripts or anything that is stored in the web server’s storage. After receiving the HTTP command the web servers send the information back to the client computer which we are seeing on the screen. The web server can return static web page as well as dynamic web page contents to the client.


A web server not only retrieves and sends information but can also save information received from the client systems. For eg. You might have filled information like Name, Email Id, and Address etc. in various websites. These are called web forms and the information you have entered is stored in the web server.

Read Also : Perfect Guide to Know All About Web server

Do you know the name of the world’s first web server is? It is called CERN httpd and was found by a computer scientist named Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee in 1989.

Now let’s take a look at the most popular web servers used in the world of web.

Most Popular Web servers

Here is the list of most popular web servers that are preferred world wide.

1. Apache HTTP server

Apache HTTP server is the oldest and most popular open source and best web server till today. More than 50% of the websites are using this server only and it is ranked #1 in the server market. The biggest advantage in Apache Server is its open source nature and hence it becomes the cost effective web server in the market.


Apache server can be customized and expanded easily because of its excellent modular based architecture. As it is open source, people can add their own modules easily without affecting the base of the web server.  It is also one of the most stable web servers and does not crash easily. The server is developed in the 1990s and owned by Apache Software Foundation. Apache server supports static as well as dynamic content.

  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, UNIX
  • License Type: Apache
  • HTTP/2 support: Yes

Some of the well-known websites using Apache server are Etsy, Adobe, PayPal, BBC and Apple.


NGINX is the one of the best open source and cost effective web server next to Apache Server. It was developed by a Russia based software engineer named Igor Sysoev.  Over 30% of the websites are running in NGINX only making it #2 in the world of web. The most salient feature of NGINX is its ability to manage or handle more than thousands of concurrent connections.


The resources needed for running a NGINX based web server is very less compared to other servers. Like Apache, it is also expandable and new modules can be added easily. NGINX web server can be used effectively for dynamic content of data because of its event driven and asynchronous architecture. As NGINX is very effective in handling concurrent connections it can be effectively used as a load balancing server or a good proxy server during emergency situations.

  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris
  • License type: BSD variant (Berkeley Software Distribution )
  • HTTP/2 support : Yes

Some of the well-known sites using NGINX server are Dropbox, Upwork, Quora and WordPress.

  3. Microsoft IIS

IIS (Internet Information Services) web server is developed by the software giant Microsoft and is not open source webserver like Apache or NGINX. Since its creation, IIS is competing with Apache to catch the server market but has not succeeded so far. Even though IIS has excellent architecture, adding new modules is difficult as it is not open source. This is a big limitation of IIS web server. IIS server can run in user as well as kernel space. IIS has different levels of authentication making it a very secure web server.


  • Operating Systems supported: Only Windows NT and some versions of Windows
  • License type: Proprietary (Non-free)
  • HTTP/2 support: Yes

4. IBM HTTP Server

IBM HTTP Server is a reputed web server used by many IT related companies. Like NGINX, IBM HTTP Server is also very effecting in handling concurrent connections and can be used as an effective load and proxy server. The server can be downloaded for free from the IBM website. But the IBM support is not free for such downloads. The most attractive feature of IBM HTTP Server is its offline access. You can work with presentations or any data related task offline as it will save some cost. IBM HTTP Server offers web conferences which help users to discuss things and collaborate their systems as well.


Operating Systems supported: Windows NT, Linux, Solaris
License type: Proprietary (Non-free)
HTTP/2 support: Yes

Some of the well-known websites using Apache server are HSBC, Americanexpress and Kotak.

5. Lighttpd

Lighttpd is also an open source web server which is obtaining popularity in the recent years. The short form of Lighttpd is “lighty”. As the name indicates, lighttpd is very effective for handling environments where speed is very critical. Lighttpd is very cheap and cost effective as it requires minimum resources thereby saving lot of money. Like Apache, it is very flexible and has an even driven architecture which helps to add new modules or make modifications easily. Lighttpd can be used as an effective load server for websites that are having heavy traffic as it can handle concurrent connections. It can handle static as well as dynamic data.


  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Linux
  • License type: BSD
  • HTTP/2 support: No

Some of the well-known sites using Lighttpd are Whatsapp and mangapanda.

6. Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat is a popular open source and cost effective web server written in the Java Language. It is mainly used for websites which involves the use of Java Servlets, Java Scripts (JSPs) etc. It can be used as standalone or along with Apache HTTP Server.


  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X
  • License type: Apache
  • HTTP/2 support: Yes

Some of the well-known sites using Tomcat server are Linkedin, SnapDeal and Ebay.

7. JigSaw

JigSaw is a popular open source web server developed by the World Wide Web consortium. Like Tomcat, Jigsaw is also fully written in Java using modular architecture.


  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Linux, Unix, OS X
  • License type: Free

8. Abyss web server

  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Unix
  • License type: BSD


Abyss is a cost effective and free web server developed specifically for Unix and Windows systems. It is mainly used for websites which involve scripting language like PHP, Perl etc with a database like Oracle, MySQL on the back end.

9. Klone

  • Operating Systems supported: Windows, Unix
  • License type: BSD


Klone is one of the most popular web server developed for embedded systems and it can run static as well as dynamic websites. The server is developed fully using C/C++

10. Zeus

  • Operating Systems supported: Linux,Unix, Solaris
  • License type: Proprietary


Zeus is an effective web server for websites where speed is the main criteria as Zeus can handle concurrent connections. It can be also be used for static and dynamic content.

11. X5 (Xitami)

  • Operating Systems supported: Cross Platform
  • License type: BSD-Like


X5 also called Xitami is initially developed as an open source server by the company iMatix and converted to proprietary later. It is a very simple web server with small memory but can handle concurrent connections efficiently.

12. Oracle Web Tier

  • Operating Systems supported: Cross Platform
  • License type: Non-free proprietary


Oracle Web Tier is a very high performance web server that combines the functionalities of two web servers namely Oracle iPlanet Web Server and Oracle Web Cache. The salient features of this web server are caching and reverse proxy which helps it to become fast and handling concurrent connections efficiently.

These are popular web servers and as you all know that to view your website on internet it need to be hosted . Storing or hosting a website on special computers known as servers.There are so many companies providing website hosting. So here is the list of some popular hosting service providers you can choose .

Hosting service Providers

Best dedicated server web hosting service providers :-

  • Liquid Web
  • InMotion
  • Bluehost
  • iPage
  • HostGator
  • FatCow
  • JustHost

All the hosting companies need a domain name of your own to host it with them . But if you don’t own a domain name they do help you with the process to . Thus makes your job simple.

So we have looked on about detailed overview of some popular web servers and

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1 Comment

  1. rapiddedi

    Very nice and interesting post.Thanks for sharing this useful information with us.

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