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Apache HTTP Server
Original author(s)Robert McCool
Developer(s)Apache Software Foundation
Initial release1995; 28 years ago (1995)[1]
Stable release
2.4.57[2] Edit this on Wikidata / 7 April 2023
Written inC,[3] XML[4]
Operating systemUnix-like, Microsoft Windows,[5] OpenVMS
TypeWeb server
LicenseApache-2.0 Edit this at Wikidata

The Apache HTTP Server (/əˈpæi/ ə-PATCH-ee) is a free and open-source cross-platform web server software, released under the terms of Apache License 2.0. Apache is developed and maintained by an open community of developers under the auspices of the Apache Software Foundation.

The vast majority of Apache HTTP Server instances run on a Linux distribution,[6] but current versions also run on Microsoft Windows,[7] OpenVMS,[8] and a wide variety of Unix-like systems. Past versions also ran on NetWare, OS/2 and other operating systems,[9] including ports to mainframes.[10]

Originally based on the NCSA HTTPd server, development of Apache began in early 1995 after work on the NCSA code stalled. Apache played a key role in the initial growth of the World Wide Web,[11] quickly overtaking NCSA HTTPd as the dominant HTTP server. In 2009, it became the first web server software to serve more than 100 million websites.[12]

As of March 2022, Netcraft estimated that Apache served 23.04% of the million busiest websites, while Nginx served 22.01%. Cloudflare at 19.53% and Microsoft Internet Information Services at 5.78% rounded out the top four. For some of Netcraft's other stats Nginx is ahead of Apache.[13] According to W3Techs review of all web sites in June 2022 Apache was ranked second at 31.4% and Nginx first at 33.6%, with Cloudflare Server third at 21.6%.[14]


According to The Apache Software Foundation, its name was chosen "from respect for the various Native American nations collectively referred to as Apache, well-known for their superior skills in warfare strategy and their inexhaustible endurance".[15] This was in a context in which it seemed that the open internet -- based on free exchange of open source code -- appeared to be soon subjected to a kind of conquer by proprietary software vendor Microsoft; Apache co-creator Brian Behlendorf -- originator of the name -- saw his effort somewhat parallel that of Geronimo, Chief of the last of the free Apache peoples.[16][17] But it conceded that the name "also makes a cute pun on 'a patchy web server'—a server made from a series of patches".

There are other sources for the "patchy" software pun theory, including the project's official documentation in 1995, which stated: "Apache is a cute name which stuck. It was based on some existing code and a series of software patches, a pun on 'A PAtCHy' server."[18][19]

But in an April 2000 interview, Behlendorf asserted that the origins of Apache were not a pun, stating:[20]

The name literally came out of the blue. I wish I could say that it was something fantastic, but it was out of the blue. I put it on a page and then a few months later when this project started, I pointed people to this page and said: "Hey, what do you think of that idea?" ... Someone said they liked the name and that it was a really good pun. And I was like, "A pun? What do you mean?" He said, "Well, we're building a server out of a bunch of software patches, right? So it's a patchy Web server." I went, "Oh, all right." ... When I thought of the name, no. It just sort of connoted: "Take no prisoners. Be kind of aggressive and kick some ass."

In January 2023, the US-based non-profit Natives in Tech accused the Apache Software Foundation of cultural appropriation and urged them to change the foundation's name, and consequently also the names of the software projects it hosts.[21][22]

When Apache is running under Unix, its process name is httpd, which is short for "HTTP daemon".[23]

Feature overview

Apache supports a variety of features, many implemented as compiled modules which extend the core functionality. These can range from authentication schemes to supporting server-side programming languages such as Perl, Python, Tcl and PHP. Popular authentication modules include mod_access, mod_auth, mod_digest, and mod_auth_digest, the successor to mod_digest. A sample of other features include Secure Sockets Layer and Transport Layer Security support (mod_ssl), a proxy module (mod_proxy), a URL rewriting module (mod_rewrite), custom log files (mod_log_config), and filtering support (mod_include and mod_ext_filter).

Popular compression methods on Apache include the external extension module, mod_gzip, implemented to help with reduction of the size (weight) of web pages served over HTTP. ModSecurity is an open source intrusion detection and prevention engine for Web applications. Apache logs can be analyzed through a Web browser using free scripts, such as AWStats/W3Perl or Visitors.

Virtual hosting allows one Apache installation to serve many different websites. For example, one computer with one Apache installation could simultaneously serve,,, etc.

Apache features configurable error messages, DBMS-based authentication databases, content negotiation and supports several graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

It supports password authentication and digital certificate authentication. Because the source code is freely available, anyone can adapt the server for specific needs, and there is a large public library of Apache add-ons.[24]

A more detailed list of features is provided below:


Instead of implementing a single architecture, Apache provides a variety of MultiProcessing Modules (MPMs), which allow it to run in either a process-based mode, a hybrid (process and thread) mode, or an event-hybrid mode, in order to better match the demands of each particular infrastructure. Choice of MPM and configuration is therefore important. Where compromises in performance must be made, Apache is designed to reduce latency and increase throughput relative to simply handling more requests, thus ensuring consistent and reliable processing of requests within reasonable time-frames.[clarification needed]

For delivering static pages, Apache 2.2 series was considered significantly slower than nginx and varnish.[41] To address this issue, the Apache developers created the Event MPM, which mixes the use of several processes and several threads per process in an asynchronous event-based loop.[42][clarification needed] This architecture as implemented in the Apache 2.4 series performs at least as well as event-based web servers, according to Jim Jagielski and other independent sources.[43][44][45] However, some independent but significantly outdated benchmarks show that it is still half as fast as nginx, e.g.[46]


The Apache HTTP Server codebase was relicensed to the Apache 2.0 License (from the previous 1.1 license) in January 2004,[47] and Apache HTTP Server 1.3.31 and 2.0.49 were the first releases using the new license.[48]

The OpenBSD project did not like the change and continued the use of pre-2.0 Apache versions, effectively forking Apache 1.3.x for its purposes.[49][50][51] They initially replaced it with Nginx, and soon after made their own replacement, OpenBSD Httpd, based on the Relayd project.[52][53][54][55]


Version 1.1: The Apache License 1.1 was approved by the ASF in 2000: The primary change from the 1.0 license is in the 'advertising clause' (section 3 of the 1.0 license); derived products are no longer required to include attribution in their advertising materials, only in their documentation.

Version 2.0: The ASF adopted the Apache License 2.0 in January 2004. The stated goals of the license included making the license easier for non-ASF projects to use, improving compatibility with GPL-based software, allowing the license to be included by reference instead of listed in every file, clarifying the license on contributions, and requiring a patent license on contributions that necessarily infringe a contributor's own patents.


Versions of Apache HTTP Server
Version Initial release Latest release
Old version, no longer maintained: 1.3 1998-06-06[56] 2010-02-03 (1.3.42)[57]
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.0 2002-04-06[58] 2013-07-10 (2.0.65)[59]
Old version, no longer maintained: 2.2 2005-12-01[60] 2017-07-11 (2.2.34)[61]
Current stable version: 2.4 2012-02-21[62] 2023-01-17 (2.4.55)[63]
Old version
Older version, still maintained
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

The Apache HTTP Server Project is a collaborative software development effort aimed at creating a robust, commercial-grade, feature-rich and freely available source code implementation of an HTTP (Web) server. The project is jointly managed by a group of volunteers located around the world, using the Internet and the Web to communicate, plan, and develop the server and its related documentation. This project is part of the Apache Software Foundation. In addition, hundreds of users have contributed ideas, code, and documentation to the project.[64][65][66]

Apache 2.4 dropped support for BeOS, TPF, A/UX, NeXT, and Tandem platforms.[9]


This section's factual accuracy is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on Talk:Apache HTTP Server. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced. (January 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Apache, like other server software, can be hacked and exploited. The main Apache attack tool is Slowloris, which exploits a bug in Apache software.[67] It creates many sockets and keeps each of them alive and busy by sending several bytes (known as "keep-alive headers") to let the server know that the computer is still connected and not experiencing network problems. The Apache developers have addressed Slowloris with several modules to limit the damage caused; the Apache modules mod_limitipconn, mod_qos, mod_evasive, mod security, mod_noloris, and mod_antiloris have all been suggested as means of reducing the likelihood of a successful Slowloris attack.[68][69] Since Apache 2.2.15, Apache ships the module mod_reqtimeout as the official solution supported by the developers.[70]

See also


  1. ^ "About the Apache HTTP Server Project". Apache Software Foundation. Archived from the original on 7 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-25.
  2. ^ "[ANNOUNCEMENT] Apache HTTP Server 2.4.57 Released". 7 April 2023. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Apache Software Foundation Index: Projects by Programming Language Index". Archived from the original on 2016-03-02. Retrieved 2016-02-27.
  4. ^ "Languages". Apache HTTP Server. Black Duck Software. Ohloh. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Compiling and Installing". The Apache Software Foundation. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  6. ^ "OS/Linux Distributions using Apache". Retrieved 2018-09-17.
  7. ^ "Platform Specific Notes - Apache HTTP Server Version 2.4". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  8. ^ "Secure Web Server". Retrieved 2020-10-20.
  9. ^ a b "Upgrading to 2.4 from 2.2". Platform support has been removed for BeOS, TPF, and even older platforms such as A/UX, Next, and Tandem. These were believed to be broken anyway.
  10. ^ "The Apache EBCDIC Port - Apache HTTP Server Version 2.4". Retrieved 2019-08-16.
  11. ^ Netcraft Market Share for Top Servers Across All Domains August 1995 - today (monthly updated)
  12. ^ "February 2009 Web Server Survey". Netcraft. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  13. ^ "March 2022 Web Server Survey". Netcraft News. Retrieved 2022-06-18.
  14. ^ "Usage Statistics of Web Servers". Retrieved 2022-06-18.
  15. ^ "Apache Foundation". Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  16. ^ ""Trillions and Trillions Served" documentary feature on The Apache Software Foundation". TheApacheFoundation / Youtube. 2020. Archived from the original on 2021-11-22.
  17. ^ "A Foundation of Trust: Building a Blockchain Future : Brian Behlendorf". Long Now Foundation / YouTube. 2020-02-10. Archived from the original on 2021-11-22.
  18. ^ "Information on the Apache HTTP Server Project". 1997-04-15. Archived from the original on April 15, 1997.
  19. ^ "Apache Server Frequently Asked Questions". Archived from the original on 1997-01-06. Retrieved 15 January 2017.
  20. ^ McMillan, Robert (15 April 2000). "Apache Power". Linux Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 January 2019.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  21. ^ Claburn, Thomas (2023-01-11). "Native Americans ask Apache foundation to change name". The Register. Archived from the original on 2023-01-12. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  22. ^ Purdy, Kevin (2023-01-12). "Indigenous tech group asks Apache Foundation to change its name". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2023-01-12.
  23. ^ "Apache Docs". Retrieved 22 August 2018.
  24. ^ "Apache Web Server". 23 March 1998.
  25. ^ "Apache HTTP Server Tutorial: .htaccess files".
  26. ^ "mod_proxy".
  27. ^ "mod_proxy_balancer".
  28. ^ "Balancer Manager".
  29. ^ "Authentication and Authorization".
  30. ^ "mod_rewrite".
  31. ^ "mod_headers".
  32. ^ "mod_sed".
  33. ^ "mod_substitute".
  34. ^ "Apache httpd Tutorial: Introduction to Server Side Includes".
  35. ^ "mod_usertrack".
  36. ^ "Apache Tutorial: Dynamic Content with CGI".
  37. ^ "Per-user web directories".
  38. ^ "Expressions in Apache HTTP Server".
  39. ^ "mod_status".
  40. ^ "Apache Module: mod_ftp".
  41. ^ "Serving static files: a comparison between Apache, Nginx, Varnish and G-WAN". Spoot!. 14 March 2011.
  42. ^ "worker - Apache HTTP Server Version 2.2".
  43. ^ "Apache httpd 2.4" (PDF).
  44. ^ "Picking a Proxy Server". 14 April 2014.
  45. ^ "Throughput evaluation of Apache 2.4.1".
  46. ^ "Performance of Apache 2.4 with the event MPM compared to Nginx". 3 January 2014.
  47. ^ "Apache License, Version 2.0". The Apache Software Foundation. January 2004. Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  48. ^ Burton, Richard Antony. "FYI: Apache HTTP Server 2.0.49 Released". Newsgroupalt.apache.configuration. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  49. ^ de Raadt, Theo (18 February 2004). "The new apache license". openbsd-misc (Mailing list). Retrieved 2013-05-21.
  50. ^ "Copyright Policy". OpenBSD. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  51. ^ "apache-httpd-openbsd-1.3.20140502p2 – OpenBSD improved and secured version of Apache 1.3". OpenBSD ports. Retrieved 2014-12-28.
  52. ^ Marvin, Rob (25 March 2015). "Inside OpenBSD's new httpd Web server". SD Times. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  53. ^ "OpenBSD Upgrade Guide: 5.1 to 5.2".
  54. ^ jj, ed. (2014-03-14). "Heads Up: Apache Removed from Base". OpenBSD Journal.
  55. ^ "OpenBSD Upgrade Guide: 5.5 to 5.6".
  56. ^ "Announcement: Apache 1.3.0 Released !". 1998-06-06. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  57. ^ "Apache HTTP Server 1.3.42 released (final release of 1.3.x)".
  58. ^ "Official Release: Apache 2.0.35 is now GA". 2002-04-06. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  59. ^ "[Announcement] Apache HTTP Server 2.0.65 Released".
  60. ^ "Apache HTTP Server 2.2.0 Released". 2005-12-01. Retrieved 2015-01-06.
  61. ^ "[Announce] Apache HTTP Server 2.2.34 Released".
  62. ^ "[ANNOUNCEMENT] Apache HTTP Server 2.4.1 Released". 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2015-07-17.
  63. ^ "Apache HTTP Server 2.4.55 Released".
  64. ^ Documentation Group. "About the Apache HTTP Server Project - The Apache HTTP Server Project".
  65. ^ "The Apache HTTP Server Open Source Project on Ohloh. (n.d.). Ohloh, the open source network. Retrieved November 12, 2012".
  66. ^ "Chapter 4. The Apache HTTP Server".
  67. ^ Zdrnja, Bojan (21 June 2009). "Apache HTTP DoS tool mitigation". SANS Institute.
  68. ^ "Slowloris HTTP DoS". Archived from the original on 26 April 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2009.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  69. ^ "mod_noloris: defending against DoS". niq's soapbox. July 2009. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
  70. ^ "mod_reqtimeout". Retrieved 2013-07-03.