Mid-range/enterprise-level server for Unix (and ports for Win 9x/NT)

By ServerWatch Staff (Send Email)
Posted Jun 5, 2002


NCSA HTTPd remains a popular choice for Web serving duties despite the fact that is has ceased being developed and is no longer supported by NCSA. The server was one of the earliest entrants into the field and has weathered fierce competition from the likes of Netscape, Microsoft, and Apache to remain firmly entrenched in the number four spot according to the Netcraft Server Survey.

The server has managed to prolong its popularity largely due to a couple of enticing attributes -- its small size and fast performance -- and a solid (if somewhat outdated) collection of features. Support for server-side includes, virtual hosting capabilities (multihoming), built-in image map support (using both NCSA and CERN formats), CGI scripting support, enhanced access control, KeepAlive HTTP support, and an internal search engine comprise the majority of NCSA HTTPd's features. The server was one of the earliest entrants into the field and has weathered fierce competition from the likes of Netscape, Microsoft, and Apache to remain firmly entrenched in the number four spot according to the Windows httpd is a Windows 3.x-based release of NCSA HTTPd that has also ceased being developed -- the developers have since moved on to the commercial WebSite server. The second of the two ports, EMWAC Freeware HTTPS Server, is a Windows NT-based release which is also no longer being developed (notice a trend here?) The developers of this server have since moved on to a professional server of their own (Purveyor).

NCSA HTTPd will likely remain popular for some time as it continues to perform well for existing sites. But the lack of support and development available for NCSA HTTPd (and its derivatives) make it a poor choice for new sites. Current users of the servers should also take a close look at competitive offerings from WebSite, Apache, Netscape, and Microsoft to make sure they're not missing out on essential features and performance benefits available from these and other servers.

Pros: 7 Freeware, 7 Popular among existing Web sites, 7 Relatively easy to setup and use, 7 Reasonable (but not stellar) performance, 7 Small footprint and efficient use of system resources

Cons: 7 Lacks support for HTTP 1.1 protocol, 7 No longer being developed or supported (Apache is NCSA's recommended replacement of choice), 7 Lacks support for SSL security technology, 7 Lacks some of the more advanced features and performance benefits of other servers, 7 Support for server-side includes is minimal

New: This is the initial review for NCSA HTTPd; List of Features

Version Reviewed: 1.5.2a
Date of Review: 1/22/98
Reviewed by: Forrest Stroud
Additional Information available
WebServer Compare's Review of NCSA HTTPd


Technical Support Information: NCSA HTTPd is no longer being developed or supported by NCSA. As a result, the only support information available is through the NCSA HTTPd Web site. The site includes a list of FAQs, Installation and Configuration Instructions, and Tutorials.

Operating Systems Supported: Unix - AIX, BSD/OS, SGI IRIX, HP/UX, Linux, SCO OpenServer, Sparc Solaris, Digital Ultrix (v1.5.2a). Windows NT - EMWAC Freeware HTTP Server (v0.991). Windows 3.x - Windows httpd (v1.4c)

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