Yesterday, the Apache Foundation let loose it’s first major release of the apache web server since 2.2 was put out in 2005. I think it’s pretty fair to say that the Internet has changed a bit since 2005 — and it was time for a major refresh of the world’s most popular http server. You can see Apache’s announcement here.

At Voxel, we support, tune and scale some of the web’s largest Internet sites.  In doing so, we’ve found an increasing need to replace or augment Apache’s HTTP with a web or proxy server more purpose-built for speed of delivery of simple HTTP connections.  We’ve often implemented NGINX or Varnish to service end-user HTTP connections and relegated Apache to backend functions or more generic workloads.  These alternative HTTP servers bring with them a host of features around caching and proxy management that Apache hasn’t, until now, been able to support.

Apache has been known as the “gold standard” in stability and compatability in web servers since I started in the web hosting world in 2001 — but the demands of increased traffic, faster end user experience and more complex web pages have pushed the envelope of what Apache could do compared to newer entrants in the market.  In fact, as of January 2012, NGINX overtook IIS as the #2 web server for active sites on the Internet – clocking in at about 10% of active websites.  With that said, Apache is still king, commanding an impressive 65% of all active sites and looking through the new feature list, I’m pretty excited to see Apache gain ground on some of the most wanted additional bells and whistles for performance.

We’ll be testing out this latest build of Apache in our lab and looking for inclusion in the Voxel Server Environment (VSE) OS build.  We’ll keep you posted.