Is Apache the Best at Anything?



  • This is something I've been wondering about ever since I dove into Linux webserver administration.

    Everywhere you go, Apache seems to be the default way to serve files online. If there's an open source web app you're looking at, chances are good it's built on the assumption that you're using Apache.

    Yet despite its ubiquity, I haven't found anyone explaining why it's the default. All I can find are references to Apache's ubiquitous nature being used to justify young web developers having to learn about it, contrasted with tale after tale about the performance and efficiency gains one can expect from switching to nginx.

    Personally, I spent a bit of time using Apache because I didn't know enough about nginx to configure it at first and stuck to default configs, but I switched over as soon as I could and have never looked back. I really hope more experienced web developers have a reason to use it besides "it's what we've been using"...

    I guess I'm just having trouble understanding why Apache is still the default when there's a viable alternative that is just as easy to install and configure... an alternative that seems better in every way from my perspective.

    Is it just momentum at this point? Is it because there's still a ton of Apache-centric tutorials and documentation for newbies? Or is there actually something about Apache that actually makes it better in certain cases?


  • Service Provider

    @WingCreative said:

    Yet despite its ubiquity, I haven't found anyone explaining why it's the default.

    Because for well over a decade it was the only major player and even today everyone else is still a newcomer and nearly everything was written for it.


  • Service Provider

    @WingCreative said:

    ... about the performance and efficiency gains one can expect from switching to nginx.

    Most performance gains from nGinx are from developments in the last few months or relate only to certain workloads. For average users Apache is easier to use, far more mature, often the more performant for very small workloads, far more broadly compatible and known. Given those factors, people who need nGinx (like us, we are using it right now) tend to be trained admins and know when and why to deploy it and those that just need basic reliability and simplicity will get Apache by default.

    Even today where Apache is not the big winner it used to be, it seems like it is still a sensible default.


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