Apache is the most widely used web server software. Developed and maintained by Apache Software Foundation, Apache is an open source software available for free. It runs on 67% of all webservers in the world. It is fast, reliable, and secure. It can be highly customized to meet the needs of many different environments by using extensions and modules. Most WordPress hosting providers use Apache as their web server software. However, WordPress can run on other web server software as well.
What is a Web Server?
Wondering what the heck is a web server? Well a web server is like a restaurant host. When you arrive in a restaurant, the host greets you, checks your booking information and takes you to your table. Similar to the restaurant host, the web server checks for the web page you have requested and fetches it for your viewing pleasure. However, A web server is not just your host but also your server. Once it has found the web page you requested, it also serves you the web page. A web server like Apache, is also the Maitre D’ of the restaurant. It handles your communications with the website (the kitchen), handles your requests, makes sure that other staff (modules) are ready to serve you. It is also the bus boy, as it cleans the tables (memory, cache, modules) and clears them for new customers.
So basically a web server is the software that receives your request to access a web page. It runs a few security checks on your HTTP request and takes you to the web page. Depending on the page you have requested, the page may ask the server to run a few extra modules while generating the document to serve you. It then serves you the document you requested. Pretty awesome isn’t it.