Open source indicates to any program whose source code is created accessible for use or alteration to users or developers which are appropriate. Open source software is normally produced as a public collaboration and made freely available. Anyone can freely authorize to work, copy, learn, and modify the software in the way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to freely enhance the design of the software. The most used popular open source web servers are Apache HTTP Server, NGINX, Apache Tomcat, lightpd and Node.js. So, let’s see the brief account of these open source web servers.

5 Main Types of Open Source Web Server

Apache HTTP Server

Often mentioned as httpd or simply Apache the most successful Apache web server is free and open-source cross-platform. Apache is developed and supported by an open community of developers under the Apache Software Foundation. They use a modular architecture, in which additional modules can be placed to expand its features. For example, loading the mod_proxy will permit for a proxy/gateway on your server, and mod_proxy_balancer will enable load balancing for all supported protocols. The design of Apache is to decrease latency and boost yield, relative to handling more requests, thus guaranteeing steady and stable processing of requests within right time-frames. For delivery of static pages, an Apache series was rated significantly slower than web servers Nginx and Varnish. To approach this issue, the Apache developers designed an event, which mixes the use of certain processes and several threads per process in an asynchronous event-based loop. This architecture accommodates better performances. Nginx and Varnish can be used as plugins in Apache, meanwhile, there are cPanel based compound plugins created to enhance performance.


Nginx appears second on a list of open source web servers by usage, Nginx relies on an asynchronous architecture to manage bulky simultaneous sessions. It has grown as a popular web server among administrators due to its light resource utilization and its capacity to scale easily. It also has the peculiarities like caching, security and load balancing. Caching done by Nginx is mostly static. Load balancing keeps curb of the network traffic. Igor Sysoev developed Nginx back in the 2002. Nginx was written with an explicit goal of outperforming the Apache web server. Nginx uses less memory than Apache and can work roughly four times more requests per second.

Apache Tomcat

Apache Tomcat, an open source Java servlet container that operates as a web server. A Java servlet is a Java program that stretches the capacities of a server. Although servlets can react to any types of requests, mostly perform applications hosted on Web servers. Tomcat’s code base was distributed to the Apache Software Foundation in 1999 and became a top-level Apache project in 2005. It currently powers hardly 1% of all websites. Apache Tomcat, delivered under the Apache License version 2, is used to run Java applications. It can be supported with Coyote to perform the role of a standard web server that serves local files as HTTP documents. More information can be found on the project website. Apache Tomcat is frequently listed among other open source Java application servers.


Lighttpd is an open-source web server optimized for speed-demanding settings while continuing standards-compliant, stable and resilient. Lighttpd saw its original announcement in March 2003. It currently powers around 0.1% of all websites and is issued under a BSD license. Lighttpd defines itself with its low memory footprint, small CPU load, and speed optimizations. It utilizes an event-driven architecture, is optimized for a large number of identical connections, and holds FastCGI, SCGI, Auth, Output-compression, URL-rewriting and several extra features. Lighttpd is a successful web server for the Catalyst and Ruby on Rails web frameworks.


Node.js is a server-based JavaScript setting for network applications such as web servers. With a less market position, Node.js have only 0.2% of all websites. Node.js supports JavaScript to be done for server-based scripting and functions scripts server-side to create dynamic web page content before the page is sent to the user’s web browser. Thus, this open source web server becomes one of the foundational elements of the ‘JavaScript everywhere’ paradigm letting this web application development to conjoin around a single programming language, preferably depend on a different language for writing server-side scripts. Node.js has an architecture capable of asynchronous input/output. These design choices aim to optimize yield and scalability in applications with many input-output operations, as well as for real-time Web applications. Node.js is a platform built on Chrome’s JavaScript runtime for easily building fast, scalable network applications.

There are many benefits of using an open source web server software like Lesser hardware costs, High-quality software, Integrated management, Simple license management, Lower software costs, Abundant support, Scaling and consolidating. Open source web web server softwares has an impact on organizations.

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