A web server is computer software that delivers web pages on request to clients using the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). It serves the files that form web pages to web users; the content is in the form of HTML documents, images, style sheets, and scripts.
Apache is the most popular web server software, implementing the latest protocols, with an excellent feature set, and it is highly configurable and extensible. Apache is used by more than half of all active websites. With very good reason. It is free to use, the source code is released under an open source license, it is renowned for its robustness, reliability, security, and configurability. Apache is well suited for small or huge websites, offering excellent performance.
However, Apache is not the only capable open source web server. There are many alternative web servers that offer high-performance, but place less demands on hardware. Web servers that use less resources, low memory footprint, and low CPU load are attractive, enabling inexpensive hardware, such as the Raspberry Pi, to be used as a web server.
There is a good range of lightweight web servers released under an open source license. To provide an insight in the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 5 high quality open source lightweight web servers. Hopefully there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to run a web server.
Now, let’s explore the 5 web servers at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.
|Lightweight web servers|
|nginx||Powerful and efficient web server, reverse proxy, load balancer, and more|
|lighttpd||Secure, fast, compliant and very flexible web server|
|Cherokee||Extremely fast, flexible and embeddable web server|
|Hiawatha||Has many security features|
|Monkey Server||Fast and lightweight web server|
|Return to our complete collection of recommended free and open source software including our latest additions.|