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How Do I Choose the Best Open Source Web Server?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 09 September 2016
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An open source web server is a program that allows administrators to run a website online and sell web space, if he or she desires. Security is a large factor, because a server going down takes all its associated information and websites with it, so the best open source web server will have strong encryption. Database integration also should be considered a must-have, both to create a full-featured website and to log the actions of websites under the server and ensure they are operating within terms. Modular architecture will allow the web server to upload new extensions without having to turn the server program off, while memory-optimized web servers will help clients receive information quickly and make the server run better overall. A strong support system based on a community of users also is vital to any open source software.

Many open source programs, despite not being made by large companies, have the same relative quality as programs that consumers buy. At the same time, technical support may be an issue, because most open source developers do not have the funds to provide a technical support team. To ease this problem, the user should look for web server programs with a community of helpful users who can help with technical problems.

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When someone chooses an open source web server, it is usually either to serve one very large website or many small websites. In either case, if a hacker attacks the web server, this affects the server’s functionality and disables all the websites it is hosting. To ensure the server's safety, administrators should only pick servers with very strong encryption and extra security features.

An open source web server needs database integration, whether the administrator is selling web space or hosting a single website. By integrating a database, the administrator will be able to create a modern website that allows people to make member accounts, makes posting new products and content easy and stores rating information. If selling web space, the administrator can set the database to ensure the websites are not performing illegal activities and are not going against the terms of service.

Modular architecture is an open source web server function that comes into play when the server is upgrading and adding new extensions. When the server has new extensions added, it normally has to temporarily shut down; this causes all associated websites to shut down, as well, until the upgrade is complete. To mitigate this problem, modular architecture allows the server to continue running while upgrades are going on.

Memory optimization allows the open source web server to run quickly and to use all its memory in the most efficient way. Speed is important on the Internet, because users and clients expect websites to load in seconds or less, not in minutes. By choosing a memory-optimized server, it will make the best use of memory, so websites will load quickly.

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