About Web Servers
So you want to have a worldwide presence; you better have a clue if you want to do this right.
There are several web servers out there but the two most popular are Microsoft IIS (Meaning Internet Information Server, the most recent version is 6.0) and Apache Web Server (most recently 2.0.47 as of 7/21/2003).
Apache has an estimated 60% of the web server market (in a Netcraft Survey taken March 2003), which is quite amazing. Realize that Apache can run on almost any platform including Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, any flavor of Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, etc; Microsoft IIS really only works on Microsoft Operating Systems.
Choosing between the two servers is quite easy. If you are running a non-Microsoft Operating system the choice is already made for you, because you only have Apache. If you are running a Microsoft Server I would recommend going with IIS. Like Apache, it is free and with Windows 2000 Server it comes already built in so the installation is the simplest.
Both web servers have many things in common. They both have the capability to host more than one website (a virtual server for each website), they both can display custom error pages, they both support SSL (also known a secure sockets layer or HTTPS – However IIS makes implementing SSL so much easier), and they both allow for dynamic programming languages such as ASP, PHP, & CGI.
Apache is set up to work best with PHP, and IIS with ASP. I have
worked with PHP plug-ins for IIS but it was too buggy and slow.
After you build your web server, I highly recommend that you refer to Website Best Practices before you go live. It has several tips to get great results from search engines and ideas on how to make website maintenance more simple.
Article last reviewed: 10/20/2004